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Hercules
Hercules Title Card
Genre Action/Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Format Animated Series
Starring Tate Donovan
Robert Costanzo
French Stewart
Sandra Bernhard
James Woods
Corey Burton
Frank Welker
Country of Origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of Seasons 1
No. of Episodes 65 (List of Episodes)
Production
Running Time 22 minutes (approx.)
Production Company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation
Slightly Offbeat Productions NZ Ltd
Broadcast
Original Channel First-run Syndication
ABC
First Shown 1998
Original Run August 31, 1998 – March 1, 1999
Status Ended
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Disney's Hercules Opening01:06

Disney's Hercules Opening

Hercules (also known as Hercules: The Animated Series) is an American animated series based on the 1997 film of the same name and the Greek myth. The series premiered in syndication on August 31, 1998, and on Disney's One Saturday Morning on September 12, 1998. The first 52 episodes aired in syndication, while the final 13 episodes aired Saturday mornings on ABC.

The series follows teenage Hercules training to become a hero, as well as trying to adjust to life. With his free-spirited friend Icarus, his future-seeing friend Cassandra, and his teacher Philoctetes ("Phil"), he battles his evil uncle Hades. Like all teenagers though, Hercules has to worry about peer pressure when the snobbish prince Adonis ridicules him. The series notably contradicts several events in the original film.

PlotEdit

Disney's Hercules, like the animated series Disney's The Little Mermaid, is a spin-off of the 1997 theatrically released animated film of the same name (Hercules) and is based on his teenaged adventures, though it is not a prequel to the film of the same name (Disney's The Little Mermaid featured tales of a 16-year-old Ariel which occurred before the start of the theatrical film) or truly a sequel like Disney's Aladdin (whose tales takes place after the original film and The Return of Jafar). Rather Hercules features events which occur midway through the actual film, similar to The Lion King 1½ and Tarzan II (sometimes called a "midquel"), during his years in training on the Isle of Idra under the tutelage of Philoctetes (Phil) the Satyr. Many of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses only glimpsed during the film pay visit to the young hero-to-be and help or hinder him in his adventures. Other characters from the film that appear are the evil god Hades (voiced by James Woods) and winged stallion Pegasus (voiced by Frank Welker). Corey Burton portrayed Hercules' father Zeus.

However, the series ignores a certain fact about the movie: In the film, Hades believed that Hercules was dead throughout his first 18 years of his life, but in the series, the two of them have many interactions while Hercules is still in high school.

CharactersEdit

Hercules (voiced by Tate Donovan) — The god-turned-mortal hero-in-training; thus, he is half-mortal, half-god. He is the son of Zeus and Hera which is in contrast to the myth.

Philoctetes (voiced by Robert Costanzo) — The satyr hero trainer. One of the few characters from the movie whose voice actor (Danny DeVito) didn't return.

Pegasus' (voiced by Frank Welker) — The winged horse formed from clouds by Zeus, he is the childhood pet and faithful companion of his owner Hercules.

Icarus (voiced by French Stewart) — Hercules' best friend. The boy who escaped from the Labyrinth with his father on wax wings appears as a complete nut (he was "brain-fried" by flying too close to the Sun). Despite his accident, Icarus still flies every chance he gets resulting in a few more encounters with the sun and other perils, often requiring Hercules to rescue him. Icarus is very adaptive and hence could adjust to about every situation he found himself in. He is also completely obsessed with Cassandra and flirts with her at every opportunity. His father, Daedalus (voiced by David Hyde Pierce), is a teacher in the academy. When Icarus graduates, he goes into inventing with his father and makes a fortune, earning the commercial title "The Wax-Wing King".

Cassandra (voiced by Sandra Bernhard) — The Trojan War prophet appears as an attractive, yet anti-social girl, that has visions of the future. Icarus is obsessed with marrying her even though she has shown that she has no reciprocating feelings. She tolerated his presence even before Hercules joined the trio because otherwise she would have had no friends. But even after she gained Hercules as a friend she still continues to socialise with Icarus and even admitted to him that she considers him a good friend. After graduating, she joins the Oracle Friends Network.

Adonis (voiced by Diedrich Bader) — The idiotic, cowardly, narcissistic, self-obsessed prince of Thrace who bullies Hercules and Icarus every chance he gets, but also sometimes acts as their friend. Adonis believes that anything can be solved with power and money. In "The Yearbook" at graduation, he was one credit short and had to attend summer school.

Zeus (voiced by Corey Burton) — Hercules' father and king of the gods. He is always ready to provide advice on hero work, but is often prone to mistakes and recklessness himself.

Hades (voiced by James Woods) — Ruler of the Underworld and Hercules' uncle. Wisecracking, devious, and hot-tempered, he constantly schemes to steal control of Mt. Olympus from his brother Zeus.

HistoryEdit

The series was produced by Tad Stones, who had previously produced Aladdin. The directors of Hercules, John Musker and Ron Clements, jokingly said to him while the film was being produced "Hey Tad, we're doing a pilot for a series." All animation production work was done by Slightly Offbeat Productions NZ Ltd a new studio based in New Zealand. The producers decided that the irreverence of the movie would be captured more easily by doing a midquel - not preceding nor following the events of the movie, with Stones declaring that "by ignoring continuity and trying to stay true to the elements of humor and adventure in the film, we came up with a much stronger series that really stands on its own." Since James Woods signed to voice Hades again, along with most of the cast of the film, many big-name actors were interested in taking part on the show. Over 150 celebrities provided voices for the series, some self-lampooning: Merv Griffin played a gryphon talk show host, game show host Wink Martindale played a riddle-expert sphinx, and Mike Connors, famous for Mannix, played Athenian policeman Chipacles (named after CHiPs).[1]

Disney's revamping of the Greek legend moved to the small screen in the late summer of 1998. Disney's Hercules had the Greek god still in "geek god" mode, before his "Zero to Hero" transformation. In the series, "Herc" was enrolled at Prometheus Academy, a school for both gods and mortals. Since events occur before young Herc meets and falls for the lovely Megara (Meg), he is joined by two new friends Cassandra (voiced by comedian Sandra Bernhard) and Icarus (voiced by French Stewart).

In 2000, the series moved to Toon Disney, where it continued airing until 2008.

EpisodesEdit

Hercules has a total of 65 episodes spread over 1 season that was produced from August 1998 to March 1999. 52 episodes aired in syndication and 13 aired on ABC.

Four episodes of Hercules were reformatted into the movie Zero To Hero and released to home video. The episode "Hercules and the Yearbook" serves as the linking narrative, with the random clips replaced with the episodes "Hercules and the First Day of School", "Hercules and the Grim Avenger" and "Hercules and the Visit From Zeus". Some of the dialogue between Hercules and Meg was altered to fit the episodes.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Lyons, Mike (1998). "Disney's Little Big Screen: Turning Animated Features Into TV Series ". Animation World Magazine. http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.6/3.6pages/3.6lyonsdisney.html. Retrieved on 2014-02-22. 

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