Mythology seems like an unlikely choice of material for a successful modern television show, but never underestimate the power of the man they call Hercules. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys managed to beat the odds with a combination of old-fashioned pulp thrills and sly modern humor, making it one of the biggest syndication success stories of the 90’s. The show began as a series of made-for-television films produced by Universal and aired in syndication during 1994, and when these did well, Universal commissioned filmmaker Sam Raimi (director of the Evil Dead series) to create a one-hour series based on the Hercules character.
Hercules was a half-man, half-god who was the result of a secret union between the god Zeus and Alcemne, a mortal woman. Zeus did this behind the back of his wife, Hera, who never forgave him for his indiscretion. Zeus watched Hercules from afar, protecting the boy from other gods while he was raised as a mortal by Alcemne. Hercules had the gift of superhuman strength as a result of his heritage and grew up to become a righteous warrior, often fighting alongside his childhood friend Iolaus.
However, Hercules eventually grew tired of fighting and settled down with a wife to raise a family. Just when he thought he had found happiness, the vengeful Hera murdered his wife and children. Hercules became vengeful and set out to destroy Hera’s seven temples. However, his natural compassion overtook his anger when he met people in need along the way. He decided to devote himself to helping mortals fight against evil as he journeyed around the world with Iolaus.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys chronicled the travels of Hercules and Iolaus as they traveled the ancient globe, using the big guy’s strength to battle gods, evil kings, and monsters as he tried to help the mortals lead better lives. In their travels, Hercules and Iolaus frequently ran into Salmoneus, a traveling salesman, and Autolycus, the king of thieves. Another notable recurring character was Xena, a warrior princess who would later get her own spin-off show. The mythology-derived stories managed to seem fresh because they incorporated modern behavior and language into the stories, even throwing in a little surf culture in at least one episode. This gave the show a modern edge to offset the often-campy nature of the mythology-derived storylines.
The show also spiced up its old-fashioned plots by incorporating science-fiction elements into them. A notable example of this was “The End of the Beginning,” in which Hercules and Autolycus used time-travel. Every now and then, the producers would do a ‘clip show’ by building a loose, usually comedic plot around short segments of past episodes. The most memorable of these clip-show episodes was “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Hercules,” which depicted the show’s staff scrambling to come up with new ideas for the show after an earthquake seemingly caused Kevin Sorbo to disappear. Many of the cast regulars put aside their mythological personas to play show employees in this episode.
The show was quite a success, running for four years in syndication and also spawning two spin-off series in Xena: The Warrior Princess and Young Hercules.
USA / Syndicated – Universal TV – MCA – Renaissance / x50 minute episodes / Broadcast 5 May 1994 – 27 November 1999
Creator: Christian Williams
Kevin Sorbo as Hercules
Michael Hurst as Iolaus
Kevin Smith as Ares
Tamara Gorski as Morrigan (1998-99)
Robert Trebor as Salmoneus
Bruce Campbell as Autolycus
Meg Foster as Hera
Anthony Quinn as Zeus
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
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