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Young Hercules

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Young Hercules
YoungHercules Intro.JPG
Developed byRobert Tapert
ComposerJoseph LoDuca
Country of origin
  • United States
  • New Zealand
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes50 + Pilot
Executive producers
Running time20-21 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkFox Kids Network
Original releaseSeptember 12, 1998 (1998-09-12) –
May 14, 1999 (1999-05-14)
Related shows

Young Hercules is a prequel series to the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys the originally aired on Fox Kids Network. It preimred on September 12, 1998 and ended on May 14, 1999, with a total of 50 episodes over the course of 1 season. It stars Ryan Gosling in the title role. The series was based on Heracles.


"In an age of light and darkness, Zeus, king of the gods, rules the universe. He had a son: Young Hercules! Half-god, Half-man, Young Hercules longs to find his place in the world, the father he's never known, and what it means to be a hero. Before the man became a legend, before the legend became myth came the greatest story of all! Young Hercules!"

- opening narration.

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' stepmother; and Apollo, god of the sun and Hercules' half-brother.

The series 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 innkeeper 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.





Young Hercules' executive producers were Robert Tapert and 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 shoestring 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 was not 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 Gosling 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 Gosling's arms to help add muscle contours. Similar tricks were used for both Sorbo and 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.


The series was filmed entirely in New Zealand.


The series was aired out of order. The episodes are listed below, as presented on DVD,[1] in the order of their production codes.[2] Despite this, the episodes list is not completely correct chronologically. For example, in "The Head That Wears the 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' mother in "Mommy Dearests", they later appear to meet for the first time in "Home for the Holidays".

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"The Treasure of Zeus - Part 1"Chris GravesStory by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by : Mark Edens
September 12, 1998 (September 12, 1998)
Hercules sets out to retrieve a chalice belonging to Hera, unaware it's all a trap set by Ares and Strife.
2"Between Friends (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 2)"Chris GravesStory by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by : Michael Edens
September 16, 1998 (September 16, 1998)
Having failed to kill Hercules with the Phoenix that guards the chalice, Strife targets his friends by framing Iolaus for theft.
3"What a Crockery (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 3)"Chris GravesStory by : Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by : Hilary J. Bader
September 17, 1998 (September 17, 1998)
Ares learns from Hera that by taking the chalice, Hercules has lost his father's protection.
4"Herc and Seek"Chris GravesJohn LoySeptember 22, 1998 (September 22, 1998)
Hercules must save Iolaus from his old gang after they break into the academy and take him hostage.
5"Girl Trouble"Charlie HaskellAdam Armus & Nora Kay FosterSeptember 19, 1998 (September 19, 1998)
Herc and his friends travel to Athens to hire a new cook for the academy and try to help a tribe of Amazons escape an evil sea captain who has enslaved them.
6"Teacher's Pests"Charlie HaskellJim Fisher & Jim StaahlSeptember 26, 1998 (September 26, 1998)
When the boys are given detention under the strict Fiducious, Herc and Jason try to cover for Iolaus while he starts his new job at the inn.
7"Inn Trouble"Charlie HaskellLen UhleyOctober 1, 1998 (October 1, 1998)
Kora leaves Hercules and his friends in charge of her Inn, where Discord and Strife set a trap involving rowdy Satyrs and a sacred feast.
8"Keeping Up with the Jasons"Charlie HaskellBrooks WachtelOctober 2, 1998 (October 2, 1998)
Feeling jealous of Jason's new sword and shield, Hercules goes to Hephaestus, who gives him special weapons. However, his new weapons go to his head.
9"Amazon Grace"Andrew MerrifieldShari GoodhartzFebruary 4, 1999 (February 4, 1999)
Hercules is reunited with Cyane, the Amazon leader, and her tribe. Things get complicated when he tries to tell her his father is Zeus, who Cyane hates. The King of Athens tries to claim the Amazons as slaves.
10"Cyrano de Hercules"Andrew MerrifieldJan StrnadFebruary 23, 1999 (February 23, 1999)
Feeling lonely, Hephaestus crafts the perfect woman, Galatea. However, when she falls for Hercules, Hephaestus makes her hate Hercules, to the point of wanting him dead.
11"Battle Lines - Part 1"Charlie HaskellSteven MelchingNovember 11, 1998 (November 11, 1998)
Hercules and Iolaus become caught between loyalties when Cheiron and the Centaurs are in conflict with Cyane and her Amazons, not knowing it is all a plot by Discord and Strife.
12"Battle Lines - Part 2"Charlie HaskellDoug Molitor & Eric LewaldNovember 13, 1998 (November 13, 1998)
Hercules tries to avert war between the Centaurs and Amazons by finding the ones fanning the flames of anger.
13"Forgery"Andrew MerrifieldMichael EdensOctober 10, 1998 (October 10, 1998)
Tired of being considered a wet blanket, Hercules uses Hephaestus' forge to change his heart and give him the "fire inside". But the fire soon burns out of control.
14"No Way Out"Andrew MerrifieldJim Fisher & Jim StaahlSeptember 25, 1998 (September 25, 1998)
Lilith gets trapped in a cave with Hercules, while their friends plan a surprise birthday party for her.
15"Ares on Trial"Andrew MerrifieldCarter CrockerSeptember 29, 1998 (September 29, 1998)
Another attempt on Hercules’s life lands Ares in hot water with his fellow gods, who put him on trial for his actions.
16"Down and Out in Academy Hills"Andrew MerrifieldMark EdensOctober 3, 1998 (October 3, 1998)
Hercules meets an amnesiac who literally fell from the sky and takes him to the academy, unaware he is actually related to him.
17"Winner Take All"Chris GravesMichael ReavesOctober 30, 1998 (October 30, 1998)
Hercules meets his two half-brothers, Castor and Pollux, but starts neglecting his friends.
18"A Serpent's Tooth"Chris GravesBob ForwardOctober 31, 1998 (October 31, 1998)
Iolaus bonds with a mysterious baby creature that was given as a gift to Jason, unaware it's a fire breathing basilisk that came from Strife and Discord.
19"The Lure of the Lyre"Chris GravesLen UhleyNovember 3, 1998 (November 3, 1998)
A new friend, the musician Orpheus, introduces Hercules to Bacchus, who tries to lure him and his friends into his evil cult of Bacchai.
20"Fame"Chris GravesPaul SauerNovember 4, 1998 (November 4, 1998)
Hercules is reunited with Orpheus and Euridice who have become great musicians, though she doesn't know that Orpheus is using Bacchus' magic lyre to recruit more Bacchai.
21"Lyre, Liar"Charlie HaskellJim Fisher & Jim StaahlSeptember 18, 1998 (September 18, 1998)
Orpheus still possesses Bacchus' magic lyre, and Bacchus wants it and Euridice back.
22"A Lady in Hades"Charlie HaskellJohn LoyOctober 9, 1998 (October 9, 1998)
Hercules and Jason descend into Underworld to rescue Euridice, who died saving Hercules' life.
23"The Mysteries of Life"Charlie HaskellAdam Armus & Nora Kay FosterOctober 7, 1998 (October 7, 1998)
Iolaus tries to rescue Ruff, the basilisk he bonded with when it was a baby, from a cruel sideshow owner who captured him.
24"Dad Always Liked Me Best"Charlie HaskellMark EdensSeptember 24, 1998 (September 24, 1998)
Hercules meets another half-brother, Lucius, who’s tracking Pollux for the murder of Castor. But things aren’t quite as they appear...
25"Herc's Nemesis"Andrew MerrifieldMark EdensOctober 29, 1998 (October 29, 1998)
Hercules incurs the wrath of his stepmother, Hera, when he convinces Nemesis to defy Hera’s orders.
26"Cold Feet"Andrew MerrifieldJohn LoyNovember 5, 1998 (November 5, 1998)
Jason begins to feel doubt about his future role as king, until he meets a farmer and his daughter who are under threat from a marauder.
27"Mommy Dearests"Charlie HaskellMichael EdensFebruary 5, 1999 (February 5, 1999)
Lucius returns, with an even more diabolic plan to kill Hercules.
28"In Your Dreams"Charlie HaskellAdam Armus & Nora Kay FosterMarch 2, 1999 (March 2, 1999)
Ares enlists the god of dreams in his latest scheme to get rid of Hercules by trapping him in a deadly nightmare.
29"Sisters"Andrew MerrifieldMichael EdensOctober 24, 1998 (October 24, 1998)
Kora becomes jealous when her sister Cleo arrives and quickly becomes more popular than her, so she tries to emulate Cleo.
30"The Golden Bow"Andrew MerrifieldLiz Friedman & Vanessa PlaceNovember 6, 1998 (November 6, 1998)
Kora enters an archery tournament in hopes of giving the prize to Artemis in exchange for her release from service.
31"Home for the Holidays"Chris GravesStory by : Brooks Wachtel
Teleplay by : Hilary J. Bader
May 11, 1999 (May 11, 1999)
A trip home for a holiday brings a surprise to Hercules when he meets his mother's new boyfriend.
32"Cram-Ped"Charlie HaskellBrian HerskowitzNovember 12, 1998 (November 12, 1998)
Iolaus will be sent back to prison unless he can pass a test, so his friends help him study with an all night cramming session.
33"Con Ares"Andrew MerrifieldMichael Edens & Julia LewaldMay 10, 1999 (May 10, 1999)
Hercules and his friends meet a mortal farmer with an uncanny resemblance to Ares and hope to use him to avert a war between Sparta and Thebes.
34"Get Jason"Chris GravesJohn LoyNovember 20, 1998 (November 20, 1998)
An annual prank war at the academy covers an assassin's attempts on Jason's life.
35"My Fair Lilith"Andrew MerrifieldLen UhleyFebruary 1, 1999 (February 1, 1999)
In an attempt to get out of an arranged marriage, Jason begs Lilith to pretend to be his wife.
36"Hind Sight"Charlie HaskellJim Fisher & Jim StaahlNovember 10, 1998 (November 10, 1998)
Hercules and Kora try to protect the Golden Hind, a mystical half-human half-deer that is sacred to Artemis, from hunters.
37"The Head That Wears the Crown"Andrew MerrifieldJim Fisher & Jim StaahlFebruary 2, 1999 (February 2, 1999)
While Jason is being crowned king, Hercules wants to save his mother's midwife Galinthia from getting executed in Corinth.
38"Me, Myself and Eye"Chris GravesStory by : Michael Edens
Teleplay by : Julia Lewald
February 25, 1999 (February 25, 1999)
Hercules comes into possession of an eye that can foretell the future, but the blind witches that own it curse his friends to get it back.
39"The Skeptic"Charlie HaskellVanessa PlaceFebruary 3, 1999 (February 3, 1999)
A new student at the Academy incurs the wrath of Strife by claiming not to believe in the gods.
40"Iolaus Goes Stag"Charlie HaskellPatrick PhillipsFebruary 17, 1999 (February 17, 1999)
Iolaus gets on the bad side of Artemis when he attempts to impress his uncle by going after the Golden Hind.
41"Adventures in the Forbidden Zone"Chris GravesMark EdensNovember 19, 1998 (November 19, 1998)
Hercules and Theseus become rivals and they challenge each other to a chariot race, but they crash into the Forbidden Zone and have to fight for survival.
42"The Prize"Chris GravesJohn LoyNovember 18, 1998 (November 18, 1998)
A talent contest at Kora's inn draws an unusual contestant, Ares, who wants the first prize, the last fragment of the Chronos Stone which will make him stronger than Zeus and can only be given to him freely.
43"The Beasts Beneath"Chris GravesHilary J. BaderNovember 24, 1998 (November 24, 1998)
Hercules and Theseus try to track down their friends, who have gotten lost in a desert full of quicksand and monsters.
44"Parents' Day"Andrew MerrifieldJessica Scott & Mike WollaegerFebruary 26, 1999 (February 26, 1999)
Iolaus hires actors to play his parents at the academy's parents day, unaware they're actually thieves.
45"A Life for a Life"Chris GravesMark EdensFebruary 22, 1999 (February 22, 1999)
Ares kidnaps Cheiron and leaves clues for Hercules and his friends to follow, believing Hercules will willingly sacrifice his life to save Cheiron.
46"Under Siege"Chris GravesJohn LoyFebruary 24, 1999 (February 24, 1999)
Ares controls Cyane to attack the academy and tricks Hephaestus to make new weapons for the job.
47"Mila"Andrew MerrifieldJim Fisher & Jim StaahlMarch 8, 1999 (March 8, 1999)
Hercules meets Mila, an Amazon warrior searching for her father, unaware that Ares has a plan to use her.
48"Apollo"Andrew MerrifieldClark Carlton & John LoyMay 12, 1999 (May 12, 1999)
Hercules meets his half-brother Apollo, and incurs his wrath after becoming more popular with his followers.
49"Ill Wind"Simon RabyJim Fisher & Jim StaahlMay 13, 1999 (May 13, 1999)
Cyane becomes sick and tries to communicate with Hercules how to cure her by sharing memories with him.
50"Valley of the Shadow"Simon RabyStory by : Mark Edens
Teleplay by : Vanessa Place
May 14, 1999 (May 14, 1999)
Hercules, Iolaus, and Theseus go hunting and an old man advises them to try out a valley that turns out to have a monster.


The series aired on the 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 were strong for the season (2nd top-rated live-action series below Power Rangers), Young Hercules was not renewed.[citation needed]


Daytime Emmy Award

Year Recipient Category Result
1999[3] George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Tim Isle (music editor)
Outstanding sound editing[4] Nominated

Writers Guild of America Award

Year Recipient Category Result
2000[5] Shari Goodhartz (writer; for episode 36: Hind Sight) Outstanding children's script Nominated

Home media

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


  1. ^ "Shout! Factory - Young Hercules: The Complete Series". Shout! Factory. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  2. ^ "Search results for Young Hercules in the U.S. Copyright Records database". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  3. ^ "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb".
  4. ^ Young Hercules Awards and Nominations
  5. ^ "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb".
  6. ^ Ryan Gosling in 'The Complete Series' on DVD! Archived 2015-03-05 at the Wayback Machine

External links

This page was last edited on 14 May 2022, at 09:58
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