Young Hercules intro card
|Developed by||Robert Tapert|
|Country of origin||
|No. of episodes||50, plus pilot|
|Running time||21:20 min.|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original network||Fox Kids Network|
|Original release||September 12, 1998– May 14, 1999|
Young Hercules is a prequel 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.
- Jodie Rimmer as Lilith
- Nathaniel Lees as Cheiron
- Angela Marie Dotchin as Kora
- Kevin Smith as Ares (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess)
- Joel Tobeck as Strife
- Meighan Desmond as Discord
- Katrina Browne as Cyane, an Amazon
- Jason Hoyte as Hephaestus, god of metallurgy
- Sharon Tyrell as Alcmene
- Alison Bruce as Simula
- Elizabeth Hawthorne as Hera
- Jay Ryan as Cadet
- John Bach as Zeus
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
The series was filmed entirely in New Zealand.
The series was aired out of order. The episodes are listed below, as presented on DVD, in the order of their production codes. 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|
|2||"Between Friends (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 2)"||Chris Graves||Story by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman |
Teleplay by : Michael Edens
|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|
|4||"Herc and Seek"||Chris Graves||John Loy||September 22, 1998|
|5||"Girl Trouble"||Charlie Haskell||Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster||September 19, 1998|
|6||"Teacher's Pests"||Charlie Haskell||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||September 26, 1998|
|7||"Inn Trouble"||Charlie Haskell||Len Uhley||October 1, 1998|
|8||"Keeping Up with the Jasons"||Charlie Haskell||Brooks Wachtel||October 2, 1998|
|9||"Amazon Grace"||Andrew Merrifield||Shari Goodhartz||February 4, 1999|
|The goddess Artemis doesn't want her sacred hind to be hunted by anyone.|
|10||"Cyrano de Hercules"||Andrew Merrifield||Jan Strnad||February 23, 1999|
|11||"Battle Lines - Part 1"||Charlie Haskell||Steven Melching||November 11, 1998|
|12||"Battle Lines - Part 2"||Charlie Haskell||Doug Molitor & Eric Lewald||November 13, 1998|
|13||"Forgery"||Andrew Merrifield||Michael Edens||October 10, 1998|
|14||"No Way Out"||Andrew Merrifield||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||September 25, 1998|
|15||"Ares on Trial"||Andrew Merrifield||Carter Crocker||September 29, 1998|
|Hephaestus forges a metal statue and calls it Galatea before giving it life.|
|16||"Down and Out in Academy Hills"||Andrew Merrifield||Mark Edens||October 3, 1998|
|17||"Winner Take All"||Chris Graves||Michael Reaves||October 30, 1998|
|The famous musician Orpheus plays the lyre. The lyre was given to Orpheus by the god Bacchus, another son of Zeus.|
|18||"A Serpent's Tooth"||Chris Graves||Bob Forward||October 31, 1998|
|19||"The Lure of the Lyre"||Chris Graves||Len Uhley||November 3, 1998|
|20||"Fame"||Chris Graves||Paul Sauer||November 4, 1998|
|21||"Lyre, Liar"||Charlie Haskell||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||September 18, 1998|
|22||"A Lady in Hades"||Charlie Haskell||John Loy||October 9, 1998|
|23||"The Mysteries of Life"||Charlie Haskell||Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster||October 7, 1998|
|24||"Dad Always Liked Me Best"||Charlie Haskell||Mark Edens||September 24, 1998|
|25||"Herc's Nemesis"||Andrew Merrifield||Mark Edens||October 29, 1998|
|A basilisk is hatched and wreaks havoc in Corinth. The basilisk spits out a goop that turns into a flame.|
|26||"Cold Feet"||Andrew Merrifield||John Loy||November 5, 1998|
|27||"Mommy Dearests"||Charlie Haskell||Michael Edens||February 5, 1999|
|Hercules wants to save his mother's midwife Galinthia from getting executed in Corinth.|
|28||"In Your Dreams"||Charlie Haskell||Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster||March 2, 1999|
|29||"Sisters"||Andrew Merrifield||Michael Edens||October 24, 1998|
|Hercules meets his demigod half-brother Pollux of Sparta. Jason of Corinth challenges Pollux to a fight at the Pankration.|
|30||"The Golden Bow"||Andrew Merrifield||Liz Friedman & Vanessa Place||November 6, 1998|
|31||"Home for the Holidays"||Chris Graves||Story by : Brooks Wachtel |
Teleplay by : Hilary J. Bader
|May 11, 1999|
|32||"Cram-Ped"||Charlie Haskell||Brian Herskowitz||November 12, 1998|
|33||"Con Ares"||Andrew Merrifield||Michael Edens & Julia Lewald||May 10, 1999|
|34||"Get Jason"||Chris Graves||John Loy||November 20, 1998|
|35||"My Fair Lilith"||Andrew Merrifield||Len Uhley||February 1, 1999|
|36||"Hind Sight"||Charlie Haskell||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||November 10, 1998|
|37||"The Head That Wears a Crown"||Andrew Merrifield||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||February 2, 1999|
|38||"Me, Myself and Eye"||Chris Graves||Story by : Michael Edens |
Teleplay by : Julia Lewald
|February 25, 1999|
|39||"The Skeptic"||Charlie Haskell||Vanessa Place||February 3, 1999|
|40||"Iolaus Goes Stag"||Charlie Haskell||Patrick Phillips||February 17, 1999|
|41||"Adventures in the Forbidden Zone"||Chris Graves||Mark Edens||November 19, 1998|
|42||"The Prize"||Chris Graves||John Loy||November 18, 1998|
|43||"The Beasts Beneath"||Chris Graves||Hilary J. Bader||November 24, 1998|
|44||"Parents' Day"||Andrew Merrifield||Jessica Scott & Mike Wollaeger||February 26, 1999|
|45||"a Life for a Life"||Chris Graves||Mark Edens||February 22, 1999|
|46||"Under Siege"||Chris Graves||John Loy||February 24, 1999|
|47||"Mila"||Andrew Merrifield||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||March 8, 1999|
|48||"Apollo"||Andrew Merrifield||Clark Carlton & John Loy||May 12, 1999|
|49||"Ill Wind"||Simon Raby||Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl||May 13, 1999|
|50||"Valley of the Shadow"||Simon Raby||Story by : Mark Edens |
Teleplay by : Vanessa Place
|May 14, 1999|
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.
|1999||George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Tim Isle (music editor)
|Outstanding sound editing||Nominated|
|2000||Shari Goodhartz (writer; for episode 36: Hind Sight)||Outstanding children's script||Nominated|
- "Shout! Factory - Young Hercules: The Complete Series". Shout! Factory. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
- "Search results for Young Hercules in the U.S. Copyright Records database". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb".
- Young Hercules Awards and Nominations
- "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb".
- Ryan Gosling in 'The Complete Series' on DVD! Archived 2015-03-05 at the Wayback Machine.