ⓘ Hercules (1998 TV series)


ⓘ Hercules (1998 TV series)

Disneys Hercules: The Animated Series is an American animated television 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 ABC through its Disneys One Saturday Morning block on September 12, 1998. The syndicated run lasted 52 episodes, while the ABC run lasted 13 episodes.

Hercules is currently available on Disney+.


1. Plot

The series follows Hercules, as a teenager, training as 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.


2. Characters

A majority of the cast from the film reprised their roles for the series.

  • Philoctetes voiced by Robert Costanzo – The satyr hero trainer. One of the few characters from the movie whose voice actor Danny DeVito didnt return.
  • Cassandra voiced by Sandra Bernhard – The Trojan War prophet appears as an attractive, yet anti-social girl, that has visions of the future usually bad once in a while, which are rarely believed. Icarus is obsessed with marrying her even though she has shown she has no reciprocation. 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 socialize with Icarus and even admitted to him that she considers him a good friend. After graduating, she joins the Oracle Friends Network.
  • Hercules voiced by Tate Donovan – The god-turned-mortal hero-in-training; thus, he is half-mortal, half-god. He is the son of both Zeus and Hera in contrast to the myth.
  • 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.
  • Icarus voiced by French Stewart – Hercules best friend. The boy who escaped from a 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, except when he is very jealous and acts irrational. He could become an ultra serious soldier at boot camp or a nearly identical version of Hades himself. Thankfully, at the end of each episode, he reverts to his own odd self. He is also completely obsessed with Cassandra and flirts with her at every opportunity he gets. His father, Daedalus voiced by David Hyde Pierce, is a teacher in the academy and Icarus doesnt acknowledge his parents divorce. When Icarus graduates, he goes into inventing with his father and makes a fortune, earning the commercial title "Icarus, the Wax-Wing King".
  • Pain and Panic voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait and Matt Frewer – Two tiny shapeshifting demons who are Hadess bumbling henchmen.
  • Hades voiced by James Woods – Ruler of the Underworld as well as Hercules uncle and nemesis. Wisecracking, devious, and hot-tempered, he constantly schemes to steal control of Mount Olympus from his brother Zeus.
  • Pegasus voiced by Frank Welker – The winged horse "with the brain of a bird" formed from clouds by Zeus, he is the childhood pet and faithful companion of his owner Hercules.

Guest stars: A few guest stars that have ended up on the show are Merv Griffin, Jennifer Anniston, and Lisa Kudrow. With Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow, and tate Donovan, it became a mini friends reunion. WHile on Friends, Tate played Rachelannistons love interest Joshua. He became a part of the show, right after his marriage with Anniston was cancelled. Also while they were dating, anniston became a part of one episode called, Hercules and the Dream Date, in which she played Hercules love interest, Gallatea, who was sculpted from clay.


3.1. Production Development

The series was produced by Tad Stones, who had previously done Aladdin. The directors of Hercules, John Musker and Ron Clements, jokingly said to him while the film was being produced: "Hey, Tad, were doing a pilot for a series". The producers decided that the irreverence of the movie would be captured more easily by setting it within 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 took a part in the series, some self-lampooning: Merv Griffin played a griffin 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.

Disneys revamping of Greek legend moved to the small screen in the late summer of 1998. Disneys 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.


3.2. Production Animation

The animated television series episodes and the direct-to-video film Hercules: Zero to Hero were animated by Toon City Animation, Inc. in Manila, Philippines, Walt Disney Animation Australia, Walt Disney Animation Japan, Studios Basara, Tama Productions, Delta Peak Productions, Frontier Pictures, Win Wood Productions, Nakamura Productions, Wang Films Productions Co., Ltd. and Thai Wang Films Productions Co., Ltd., Hanho Heung-Up Co., Ltd., Plus One Animation, Inc., Sunmin Image Pictures Co., Ltd., Sunwoo Animation, Korea, Hana Animation, Jade Animations International Co., Ltd. and a New Zealand studio called Slightly Off Beat Productions NZ Co., Ltd. which was also based in the other countries of Seoul, Korea, Xindian District, Taipei, Taiwan and Japan.


4. Broadcast

In 2000, Hercules moved to the now defunct channel Toon Disney, where it continued airing until 2008. Disney XD aired the series for the first time in June 2011 when the channel launched in Canada.

On November 12, 2019, the series returned on Disney+.


5. Reception


CommonSenseMedia gave the series a rating of 4 stars out of 5, noting that this "better-than-average spinoff has heart and brawn." Calhoun Times and Gordon County News gave the series 3 stars out of 4.


6. Movie: Zero to Hero

Four episodes of Hercules were reformatted into the movie Hercules: Zero to Hero and released to home video. The episode "Hercules and the Yearbook" serves as the linking narrative, with 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.

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