Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Young Hercules

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-1999)
Young Hercules (1998)
Type: Spin Off
Group: 25

   Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was a series that reinvented the Hercules mythos as well as the TV Fantasy genre. Unlike past Hercules, Kevin Sorbo's Herc was leaner and was not nearly as encumbered by absurdly gihugant muscles. The old Hercs had the builds of body builders. The new Herc had the build of a football player. The show also realized that part of what makes fantasy shows fun is to actually have fun with it. As well as action, the show had in jokes, references to current day culture despite being set in the distant past... again it was fun.

   The show started out as part of a syndicated show called The Action Pack. Originally The Action Pack featured a new original TV movie each week with many regular movie series rotating week to week. In addition to Hercules there were new TV versions of the feature films Smokey And The Bandit and Midnight Run. After awhile though it was clear that Hercules with its humor and knockout special effects was the favorite and soon the two hour Action Pack consisted of Hercules and its spin off Xena: Warrior Princess.

   The show was enough of a hit that in addition to Xena another spin off was conceived: Young Hercules. Young Hercules would, duh, tell of the adventures of Hercules in his youth. In addition to the youthful Hercules, there would also be a boyhood version of his traveling companion from the original series, Iolaus.

   Like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Young Hercules started out as a TV film. My guess at the logic would be this: make the pilot episode a film so that if it doesn't sell as a series it's not a total loss. After that it was in fact picked up as a show. The Fox network picked it up to run as part of its afternoon kids lineup. Changes were made between the film and the series though. For example, the actor who played Hercules in the Young Hercules movie was replaced with a new Young Hercules for the series.

   Young Hercules never got close to the attention the original show received mainly because it was an afternoon kids show. And in that world it had to fight for attention with already huge live action kids action shows like The Power Rangers. It came, it ran, it disappeared. Sorry Herc.

Other Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Crossover Links
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess

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