Young Hercules

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Young Hercules
A blond haired teenager wearing a light brown tunic top. At the bottom of the image is the title of the show in yellow capital letters.
Young Hercules intro card
Developed by Robert Tapert
Starring Ryan Gosling
Dean O'Gorman
Chris Conrad
Composer(s) Joseph LoDuca
Country of origin United States
New Zealand
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 50, plus pilot
Executive producer(s) Sam Raimi
Robert G. Tapert
Eric Gruendemann
Liz Friedman
Running time 21:20 min.
Production company(s) Renaissance Pictures
Universal Network Television
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original network Fox Kids Network
Original release September 12, 1998 – May 14, 1999
Related shows

Young Hercules was a spin-off series from the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It was aired on Fox Kids Network from September 12, 1998 to May 12, 1999. It lasted 1 season with 50 episodes and starred Ryan Gosling in the title role. The series was based on the Greek mythology hero, Hercules.


The show features the efforts of Ares, the god of war, played by Kevin Tod Smith, who attempts often to destroy his younger half-brother to win over Zeus' good graces. Among his group is his nephew Strife (Joel Tobeck), who is the rather weaker member of the team. Strife's mother is Discord, goddess of retribution (Meighan Desmond), who acts more level-headed and power hungry than her counterpart on more than one occasion. The series has two other villains: Hera, queen of the gods and Hercules's stepmother; and Apollo, god of the sun and Hercules's half-brother.

The storyline follows Hercules (Ryan Gosling) as he attends Cheiron's Academy to train in the arts of the warrior under the wise headmaster Cheiron the Centaur (Nathaniel Lees). He makes friends with the future king of Corinth Prince Jason (Chris Conrad) and a thieving former member of a bandit group named Iolaus (Dean O'Gorman), who was sentenced to train at the academy as an alternative to prison for his crimes. Hercules also meets the academy's first female cadet, Lilith (Jodie Rimmer). Other characters of interest include Kora, the inn keeper who unknown to Hercules and his friends is a devotee of Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt. As the series develops, Kora is revealed to have special powers which allow her to do Artemis' bidding. There are hints of romance between Hercules and Kora, although their friendship keeps it all innocent.

Main Cast[edit]

Supporting Cast[edit]


Young Hercules' executive producers were Robert Tapert and Spider-Man director, Sam Raimi. Liz Friedman and Eric Gruendemann were co-executive producers and former MTV producer, Cynthia Hsiung was producer of the series. Eric Lewald and Julia Lewald were head writers. In New Zealand, where principal photography was shot, Janine Dickins held down the fort as the New Zealand Producer while three series directors took turns shooting the episodes in blocks of four along with a fourth director for second unit. Chris Graves, Charlie Haskell and Andrew Merrifield shot principal photography and Simon Rabbi shot second unit. Later in the series, Simon Rabbi shot principal photography for the 50th episode, "Valley of the Shadow."[citation needed]

The series has been used in case studies of how to shoot television series efficiently. Traditional television series are shot one episode at a time. Young Hercules was shot in blocks of four episodes at a time. The three main directors of the series were on a rotation, one director for each four episode block. The four would be written with this in mind, keeping sets, locations, and actors similar in all four episodes even if story and plot lines might not interrelate. This saved tremendous amounts of money and time allowing the series to be shot on a shoe string budget, but with maximum on-screen dollars. The 50 episodes had a budget of roughly $20 million which includes above and below the line costs. Shooting in New Zealand also allowed the series to circumvent considerable Guild regulations for further savings. Additional money was saved shooting the series on 16 mm film. Early research was done to see if digital cameras could be used, but it was determined that technology wasn't adequate at the time to make digital filming economically viable.[citation needed]

Principal photography took place in New Zealand while post-production elements including visual effects and music were all edited and integrated together in Los Angeles. Ian Bohen played Young Hercules in the pilot movie and was offered the part, but opted not to move to New Zealand where the series would shoot principal photography. Early on in the series, special visual effects were conceived by Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop, the then little known visual effects company that went on to win several Academy Awards for their work on The Lord of the Rings. Weta and Richard Taylor stepped off Young Hercules early on to work on Lord of the Rings. In fact, the early production days of Young Hercules saw many of its crew leave to work on the then little known Peter Jackson sensation, Lord of the Rings.[citation needed]

Ryan Gosling was only 17 when he was cast in the lead role. To train for the role, Ryan took intense martial arts classes by the same trainer who taught Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo. He was so tall and thin that his costume had to be reworked to minimize the look of how thin he was. Original costume sketches showed a darker upper body costume. When Ryan was cast, the costume designers made the upper body of his costume lighter in color and broader in the chest to help create a more bulky look. Makeup was used on Ryan's arms to help add muscle contours. Similar tricks were used for both Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless for their characters.[citation needed]

It was known to be only superficially faithful to Greek mythology, as was its predecessor; it uses similar characters, but in a variety of stories, some of which contain anachronisms.

Sceneries and studios[edit]

The series was filmed entirely in New Zealand.


The series aired on Fox Kids Network at first on Monday through Friday at 4:30 p.m. PST and Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. PST. Later in the year, the series aired Monday through Friday only at 3:30 p.m. PST. Although ratings on Fox Kids Network were strong for the season (2nd top-rated live-action series below Power Rangers), Young Hercules was not renewed.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Daytime Emmy Award[edit]

Year Recipient Category Result
1999[1] George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Tim Isle (music editor)
Outstanding sound editing[2] Nominated
1999 Dick Hansen (sound recordist)
George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Yuri Reese (rerecording mixer)
Outstanding sound editing Nominated
1999 Dick Hansen (sound recordist)
George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Yuri Reese (rerecording mixer)
Outstanding sound mixing Nominated

Writers Guild of America Award[edit]

Year Recipient Category Result
2000[3] Shari Goodhartz (writer; for episode 36: Hind Sight) Outstanding children's script Nominated

Episode list[edit]

The series was aired out of order. The episodes are listed below, as presented on DVD,[4] in the order of their production codes.[5] Despite this, the episodes list is not completely correct chronologically. For example, in The Head That Wears a Crown Jason is crowned king, yet in several following episodes, such as Winner Take All, he is still a prince. Similarly, even though Lilith visits Hercules's mom in Mommy Dearests, they later appear to meet for the first time in Home for the Holidays.

No. in series Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "The Treasure of Zeus - Part 1" Chris Graves Story by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by : Mark Edens
September 12, 1998 (September 12, 1998)
2 "Between Friends (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 2)" Chris Graves Story by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by : Michael Edens
September 16, 1998 (September 16, 1998)
3 "What a Crockery (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 3)" Chris Graves Story by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by : Hilary J. Bader
September 17, 1998 (September 17, 1998)
4 "Teacher's Pests" Chris Graves John Loy September 22, 1998 (September 22, 1998)
5 "Girl Trouble" Charlie Haskell Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster September 19, 1998 (September 19, 1998)
6 "Amazon Grace" Charlie Haskell Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl September 26, 1998 (September 26, 1998)
7 "Battle Lines - Part 1" Charlie Haskell Len Uhley October 1, 1998 (October 1, 1998)
8 "Battle Lines - Part 2" Charlie Haskell Brooks Wachtel October 2, 1998 (October 2, 1998)
9 "Hind Sight" Andrew Merrifield Shari Goodhartz February 4, 1999 (February 4, 1999)
10 "Iolaus Goes Stag" Andrew Merrifield Jan Strnad February 23, 1999 (February 23, 1999)
11 "Cold Feet" Charlie Haskell Steven Melching November 11, 1998 (November 11, 1998)
12 "In Your Dreams" Charlie Haskell Doug Molitor & Eric Lewald November 13, 1998 (November 13, 1998)
13 "Down and Out in Academy Hills" Andrew Merrifield Michael Edens October 10, 1998 (October 10, 1998)
14 "Keeping Up with the Jasons" Andrew Merrifield Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl September 25, 1998 (September 25, 1998)
15 "Cyrano de Hercules" Andrew Merrifield Carter Crocker September 29, 1998 (September 29, 1998)
Hephaestus forges a metal statue and calls it Galatea before giving it life.
16 "Forgery" Andrew Merrifield Mark Edens October 3, 1998 (October 3, 1998)
17 "The Lure of the Lyre" Chris Graves Michael Reaves October 30, 1998 (October 30, 1998)
18 "Fame" Chris Graves Bob Forward October 31, 1998 (October 31, 1998)
19 "Lyre, Liar" Chris Graves Len Uhley November 3, 1998 (November 3, 1998)
20 "A Lady in Hades" Chris Graves Paul Sauer November 4, 1998 (November 4, 1998)
21 "Herc and Seek" Charlie Haskell Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl September 18, 1998 (September 18, 1998)
22 "Ares on Trial" Charlie Haskell John Loy October 9, 1998 (October 9, 1998)
23 "No Way Out" Charlie Haskell Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster October 7, 1998 (October 7, 1998)
24 "Inn Trouble" Charlie Haskell Mark Edens September 24, 1998 (September 24, 1998)
25 "A Serpent's Tooth" Andrew Merrifield Mark Edens October 29, 1998 (October 29, 1998)
26 "The Mysteries of Life" Andrew Merrifield John Loy November 5, 1998 (November 5, 1998)
27 "The Head That Wears a Crown" Charlie Haskell Michael Edens February 5, 1999 (February 5, 1999)
28 "Parents' Day" Charlie Haskell Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster March 2, 1999 (March 2, 1999)
29 "Winner Take All" Andrew Merrifield Michael Edens October 24, 1998 (October 24, 1998)
30 "Dad Always Liked Me Best" Andrew Merrifield Liz Friedman & Vanessa Place November 6, 1998 (November 6, 1998)
31 "Mila" Chris Graves Story by : Brooks Wachtel
Teleplay by : Hilary J. Bader
May 11, 1999 (May 11, 1999)
32 "Mommy Dearests" Charlie Haskell Brian Herskowitz November 12, 1998 (November 12, 1998)
33 "Under Siege" Andrew Merrifield Michael Edens & Julia Lewald May 10, 1999 (May 10, 1999)
34 "Home for the Holidays" Chris Graves John Loy November 20, 1998 (November 20, 1998)
35 "Con Ares" Andrew Merrifield Len Uhley February 1, 1999 (February 1, 1999)
36 "Herc's Nemesis" Charlie Haskell Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl November 10, 1998 (November 10, 1998)
37 "Get Jason" Andrew Merrifield Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl February 2, 1999 (February 2, 1999)
38 "The Prize" Chris Graves Story by : Michael Edens
Teleplay by : Julia Lewald
February 25, 1999 (February 25, 1999)
39 "My Fair Lilith" Charlie Haskell Vanessa Place February 3, 1999 (February 3, 1999)
40 "Me, Myself and Eye" Charlie Haskell Patrick Phillips February 17, 1999 (February 17, 1999)
41 "Golden Bow" Chris Graves Mark Edens November 19, 1998 (November 19, 1998)
42 "Sisters" Chris Graves John Loy November 18, 1998 (November 18, 1998)
43 "Cram-Ped" Chris Graves Hilary J. Bader November 24, 1998 (November 24, 1998)
44 "The Beasts Beneath" Andrew Merrifield Jessica Scott & Mike Wollaeger February 26, 1999 (February 26, 1999)
45 "The Skeptic" Chris Graves Mark Edens February 22, 1999 (February 22, 1999)
46 "Adventures in the Forbidden Zone" Chris Graves John Loy February 24, 1999 (February 24, 1999)
47 "Life for a Life" Andrew Merrifield Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl March 8, 1999 (March 8, 1999)
48 "Apollo" Andrew Merrifield Clark Carlton & John Loy May 12, 1999 (May 12, 1999)
49 "Ill Wind" Simon Raby Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl May 13, 1999 (May 13, 1999)
50 "Valley of the Shadow" Simon Raby Story by : Mark Edens
Teleplay by : Vanessa Place
May 14, 1999 (May 14, 1999)

DVD release[edit]

On June 23, 2015, Shout! Factory released Young Hercules- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[6]


  1. ^ "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb". 
  2. ^ Young Hercules Awards and Nominations
  3. ^ "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb". 
  4. ^ "Shout! Factory - Young Hercules: The Complete Series". Shout! Factory. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Search results for Young Hercules in the U.S. Copyright Records database". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ Ryan Gosling in 'The Complete Series' on DVD!

External links[edit]