September 15, 2018

MYTHIC WARRIORS: GUARDIANS OF THE LEGEND


MYTHIC WARRIORS: GUARDIANS OF THE LEGEND
(CBS, November 7, 1998-January 22, 2000)

Nelvana, Ltd., Marathon Media, Hong Guang Animation (Su Zhou) Co., Ltd.




MAIN CAST:
James Blendick – Narrator, Hermes (2nd time)


            The 90s were an interesting time for Greek Mythology. Renaissance Pictures was producing three shows incorporating it, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Young Hercules, and Disney had spun off their Hercules movie into the prequel series Hercules: The Animated Series. They would soon find themselves joined by yet another series based on the material: Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend.

The fourth book focusing on Andromeda.


            Produced by Nelvana, Ltd. and Marathon Media, the series was based on the award-winning Scholastic book series Myth Men: Guardians of the Legend. Written by Laura Geringer Bass with illustrations from Peter Bollinger, based on an original concept by Mireille Chalvon, the eight books were retellings of Greek myths in an easy-reader format as a way to get kids interested in the subject matter. Bass gave the stories a modern flair; such as alterations that depicted the female characters in a more positive light as heroic characters unto themselves and not merely damsels in distress or prizes to be won as initially portrayed. And, of course, some of the content of the original stories (rife with murder, adultery, betrayal and so on) was softened for the intended reading audience. The books were released between 1996 and 1997.

Pegasus takes to the sky.

            Like the book series, Mythic Warriors was presented in an anthology format with a different set of characters each week (in some instances, the Roman version of character names were used rather than the Greek versions). Amongst the featured mythological characters was strongman demigod Hercules (Lawrence Bayne) and his companion, Iolaus (Daniel DeSanto); Jason (David Orth) and the Argonauts and their quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece; Ulysses (Roger Honeywell) and his escapades in the Trojan War; Helen of Troy (Kristina Nicoll), whose abduction by Prince Paris of Troy (John Ralston) led to the Trojan War; Andromeda (Caroly Larson), whose mother’s boasts about her beauty led to her to become targeted by the gods; Atalanta (Larson & Natalie Brown), who was abandoned in the wild at birth for not being the son her father, King Iasus, wanted; Pandora (Terri Hawkes), keeper of the box of evils; wrestling brothers Castor (Rod Wilson) and Pollux (Jonathan Malen) who often donated their winnings to the poor; and King Midas (Benedict Campbell), who was granted the ability to turn whatever he touched into gold, amongst others. The only being featured in every episode was the narrator, voiced by James Blendick.

Poseidon in his realm.

            The gods were depicted in the show as being giant-sized humans, possessing immortality, the ability to fly and teleport, magical powers, and the ability to change their appearance and shape at will. An echo would be present whenever they spoke in their true forms. Amongst those featured were Zeus (Gary Krawford), king of the gods; Hera (Janet-Laine Green), his queen and goddess of the sky, marriage and childbirth; Hades (Norm Spencer), ruler of the underworld; Demeter (Linda Sorenson), goddess of fertility and the harvest; Poseidon (Francis Diakowsky), ruler of the sea; Hermes (Richard Clarkin, Stephen Bogaert & Blendick), the messenger of the gods; Athena (Wendy Thatcher & Lally Cadeau), goddess of wisdom, warriors and reason; Ares (Rick Bennett & Allen Stewart-Coates), the god of war; Apollo (Jesse Collins), the god of light, art and medicine; Artemis (Elizabeth Hanna), the goddess of the hunt; Hephaestus (David Hemblen), blacksmith of the gods; Aphrodite (Wendy Lands), the goddess of love and beauty; Dionysus (Stephen Ouimette), the god of wine and intoxication; Helios (Bob Zidel), the sun god; Eros, the god of lust, and Persephone (Meghan Black), the goddess of Spring and queen of the underworld. The eternal enemies of the gods, the Titans, were also featured, as was a variety of monsters such as the cyclops, the sirens, Medusa (Jennifer Dale) and the Minotaur.

Perseus vs. Medusa.

            Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend debuted on CBS on November 7, 1998 as part of the Nelvana-run programming block, CBS Kidshow. It was supposed to debut two months earlier in September with the traditional start of the new television season, but was delayed due to “complicated animation techniques”. Despite not being a ratings success, the show was renewed for a second season. The entire series was written by story editor Kathy Slevin and Peter Colley, with music provided by Varouje. Dr. Miki Baumgarten served as the educational consultant, ensuring that the show met the network’s FCC requirement for educational programming. Along with adapting the eight books, 18 additional adventures were also crafted for a total of 26 episodes across both seasons. At the end of each episode, a 30-second informational segment was shown where the characters would talk about solutions to modern day problems facing the viewing audience. Hong Guang Animation, Co., Ltd. handled the animation duties.

Athena season 1 (top) vs. season 2.

For the new season, several changes were made to a couple of the gods. Hades’ attire was slightly altered, Persephone was aged from a teenager to a fully-grown woman, Aphrodite was changed from a giggling teenager to a mature woman with an entirely different voice and manner, and Athena went from a blonde wearing silver armor to a brunette wearing a red dress with a cape, arm bands and shin guards.

Zeus in Olympus.

Mythic Warriors continued on in reruns throughout 2000 until September 9, when Nelvana’s agreement with CBS came to an end and CBS’ agreement with Nickelodeon began for the Nick on CBS programming block. The first season was made available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.



EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Andromeda: The Warrior Princess” (11/7/98) – Andromeda turns to Athena when her father won’t permit her to join his army.

“Hercules and Iolas” (11/14/98) – Iolas seeks to become a hero like Hercules and begins to follow him on his adventures.

“Ulysses and the Journey Home” (11/21/98) – Ulysses just wants to return home from the war in Troy, but there are plenty of threats he must overcome on his journey.

“Perseus: The Search for Medusa” (11/28/98) – Perseus is goaded into retrieving the head of Medusa to prove that he’s a demi-god.

“Jason and the Argonauts” (12/5/98) – Jason launches an expedition for the Golden Fleece in order to reclaim his throne from the evil King Pelias.

“Persephone and the Winter Seeds” (12/12/98) – When Persephone is tricked into remaining in the underworld, her mother Demeter tries to rescue her from Hades’ clutches.

“Daedalus and Icarus” (12/19/98) – Daedalus and Icarus work towards freeing themselves from prison after failing to achieve fame and fortune.

“Ulysses and Circe” (12/26/98) – Ulysses and his men take a respite on a mysterious island where the evil sorceress Circe turns his men into animals.

“Atalanta: The Wild Girl” (1/2/99) – When Atalanta and Prince Meleager meet and begin to fall in love, a jealous Artemis sends the Calydonian Boar to destroy her.

“Prometheus and Pandora’s Box” (1/9/99) – Prometheus is chained to a rock by Zeus for his defiance in giving man fire, and Pandora is given a box she can never open.

“Bellerophon and Pegasus” (1/16/99) – Athena gives Bellerophon a golden saddle in order to allow him to get Pegasus to help him defeat the fire-breathing Chimera.

“Theseus and the Minotaur” (1/23/99) – Learning that his father is forced to feed people to the Minotaur, Theseus vows to kill it and save the people.

“The Labors of Hercules” (1/30/99) – After Hercules accidentally destroys a village, Iolas tries to reignite his heroic spirit.

Season 2:
“Psyche and Eros” (9/25/99) – Falling for Psyche, Eros attempts a test to see if she’ll love him for him rather than his beauty.

“Ulysses and the Trojan Horse” (10/2/99) – King Menelaus tasks Ulysses and his army to retrieve his unfaithful wife Helen from Prince Paris of Troy.

“Ulysses and Penelope” (10/9/99) – Ulysses returns home only to discover that his family has decided him dead and have seemingly moved on.

“Hercules and the Golden Apples” (10/16/99) – Hera has Hercules’ love poisoned and he must journey to Hera’s garden to retrieve the Golden Apple to save her.

“Cadmus and Europa” (10/23/99) – Cadmus is tasked with watching over his sister Europa, who believes that a white bull would take her away to find her destiny.

“Jason and Medea” (10/30/99) – Medea has Jason’s mentor Chiron killed in order to crush his spirit and foil his quest to obtain the Golden Fleece.

“Damon and Pythias” (11/6/99) – Damon puts his life on the line so that his friend, Pythias, can say goodbye to his family before his execution.

“Castor and Pollux” (11/13/99) – The brothers are torn apart when King Pelias convinces Castor to go after Jason for the reward.

“The Hounds of Actaeon” (11/20/99) – When ruthless hunter Actaeon hunts Artemis’ prized white stag, she turns him into one until he can learn to love and respect the helpless.

“Phaeton: The Chariot of Fire” (11/27/99) – Phaeton is convinced to “borrow” Helios’ sun-chariot for a race, despite Helios’ warnings that he wasn’t ready to drive it yet.

“Androcles and the Lion” (12/18/99) – Enslaved Androcles learns the ways of the lion in order to maintain his freedom once it’s acquired.

“King Midas: The Golden Touch” (1/15/00) – Dionysus gives Midas the golden touch to reclaim his fortune and hunt down its thief, which turns out to be his own daughter.

“Hercules and the Titans: The Last Battle” (1/22/00) – Angered over not being allowed in Olympus, Hephaestus frees the Titans to reignite the war between them and the Gods.

September 08, 2018

ON TV IN 1988


As Doc Brown once said: "30 years. It's a nice round number." We agree, and with that thought in mind, and what with it being September when new programs traditionally began airing, we figured we'd show you the Saturday morning television schedule for all the major networks (alphabetically) from the fall of 1988. While watching on Saturday morning, you may have seen these:

8:00 A.M.





8:30 A.M.

(1 hour)




9:00 A.M.

(1 hour)

(1 hour)

9:30 A.M.

(1 hour)

10:00 A.M.



(1 hour, if you couldn't tell)

10:30 A.M.





11:00 A.M.


(1 hour)



11:30 A.M.





12:00 P.M.




(1 hour)

12:30 P.M.




YOUNG HERCULES


 YOUNG HERCULES
(FOX, September 12, 1998-May 14, 1999)

Renaissance Pictures Studios USA




MAIN CAST:
Kevin SmithAres, Timor, Bacchus (2nd time)


            In 1994, Christian Williams created a show that would launch a TV empire. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was loosely based on the mythological Greek hero Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), and was produced by Renaissance Pictures; the production company formed by Evil Dead creators Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell. The show followed Hercules as he journeyed around a fantasy version of ancient Greece and helped people along the way against warlords, mercenaries, mythological monsters and the gods themselves. Occasionally joining him was his best friend, Iolaus (Michael Hurst), and fast-talking con man, Salmoneus (Robert Trebor), as well as other allies along the way. The series debuted as a series of five telefilms before becoming a full one-hour series in 1995. It aired as part of the syndicated Universal Action Pack programming block.

Hercules, Xena and their sidekicks.


            Hercules became one of the highest-rated syndicated shows at the time, supplanting Baywatch in the number one spot. The show introduced the character of Xena (Lucy Lawless), a former marauder who changed her ways and became a heroic figure looking to make up for her dark past. Initially going to die in her third and final appearance, Xena’s popularity spared the character and landed her a spin-off show, Xena: Warrior Princess. The spin-off ended up becoming more popular than Hercules, and both shows ran for six seasons before their respective cancellations.

Young Iolaus, Hercules and Jason from The Legendary Journeys.

            During that time, a second spin-off was created. Hercules had featured several episodes that explored Hercules’ past adventures from his youth. Ian Bohen portrayed a young Hercules, with Dean O’Gorman playing Iolaus and Chris Conrad as Jason, of Jason and the Argonauts fame (retconning the previous establishment of Jason being their elder as played by Jeffrey Thomas). It was soon decided to expand on these adventures and develop a series around the younger cast.



            Developed by Tapert, Young Hercules saw its beginnings in a made-for-TV movie written by Tapert, Andrew Dettmann and Daniel Truly and shown in February of 1998. Hercules was sent by his mother, Alcmene (Rachel Blakely), to train at the academy run by the centaur Cheiron (Nathaniel Lees). There, he met up with Iolaus and Jason, as well as a female cadet named Yvenna (Johna Stewart-Bowden). However, their studies were put on hold when Jason’s father, King Aeson (Mike McGee), was put on his deathbed, necessitating their questing for the Golden Fleece to save him. It was all a plot by Hercules’ jealous half-brother, Ares (Kevin Smith), the God of War, and his underling, Discord (Meighan Desmond), This telefilm, however, contradicted the accounts of this adventure established just the month prior in the Hercules episode “Hercules on Trial”.

Ryan Gosling puts on the gauntlets.

            When Young Hercules went to series, Bohen declined to continue with the role as it would require him to relocate to New Zealand where it and the other shows were filmed. He was replaced by an unknown Ryan Gosling, and his costume and arm makeup were used to make him appear bulkier and more muscular than he was. The character of Yvenna was also replaced by another cadet, Lilith (Jodie Rimmer), who was described as the first female cadet ever to train at the academy. The series also introduced Kora (Angela Marie Dotchin), a barkeep in the town of Corinth who was secretly a devotee and servant of Artemis (Anna Bernard), goddess of the hunt, and was revealed to possess powers granted by Artemis. Ares, Discord and Strife (Joel Tobeck) served as the main antagonists; constantly attempting to destroy Hercules and his friends with a variety of schemes. Other gods featured were Hephaestus (Jason Hoyte), the god of metallurgy; Bacchus (Anthony Ray Parker & Smith), the god of wine; Hera (Elizabeth Hawthorne), queen of the gods; and Zeus (John Bach), king of the gods and Hercules’ father. Along with those reprising their roles, the series shared many of the same actors that appeared in both Hercules and Xena.

Powered-up Kora and Hercules on the hunt.

            Young Hercules debuted on FOX on September 12, 1998 as part of the Fox Kids Programming block. At the time of its airing, it was one of three shows based around the character of Hercules, along with its parent show and Disney’s Hercules: The Animated Series. It aired on both the weekday and Saturday versions of the block initially before only being shown on weekdays. Episodes weren’t aired in any particular order, ignoring both the production order and series continuity (for instance, an episode where Jason had been crowned king aired before an episode where he was still a prince). Unlike the other shows in the franchise, Young Hercules only ran for a half-hour. The series was written by Mark Edens, Hilary J. Bader, John Loy, Adam Armus, Nora Kay Foster, Jim Fisher, Jim Staahl, Len Uhley, Brooks Wachtel, Shari Goodhartz, Jan Strnad, Steven Melching, Doug Molitor, Michael Edens, Carter Crocker, Michael Reaves, Bob Forward, Paul Sauer, Vanessa Place, Brian Herskowitz, Patrick Phillips, Jessica Scott, Mike Wollaeger, Clark Carlton, and producers Tapert, Eric Lewald, Julia Lewald and Liz Friedman. Franchise composer Joseph LoDuca handled the music.

Ares, god of war, plotting his next scheme.

The series became a case study in efficiency in television production. As it only had a $20 million budget in total, a number of cost-cutting measures were employed. It was filmed in four-episode blocks with scripts designed to utilize the same sets as much as possible. Each block was rotated between directors Chris Graves, Charlie Haskell and Andrew Merrifield; with Simon Raby handling a couple of episodes. They had toyed with the idea of using digital cameras, but after determining it wasn’t economically viable at the time went with the cheaper 16mm film. Filming in New Zealand also allowed the production to circumvent costly Screen Actors Guild regulations. Initially, visual effects were handled by Weta Workshop until they and a good portion of the crew went to work on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The other effects were handled by the franchise’s own Flat Earth Productions.

Hercules and Lilith narrowly escaping death.

Young Hercules proved to be a success for FOX, becoming the 2nd top-rated live-action series on the network just below Power Rangers. It was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in 1999 and a Writers Guild of America Award in 2000. Despite that, however, FOX ultimately chose not to renew the series for a second season and it ended its run after 50 episodes. The series was given a bit of a coda in the Hercules episode “The Academy” which saw Hercules, Iolaus and Jason travel to the academy to help take it back from mercenary students currently running the place. It was the first time Lilith, played by Susan Brady, was mentioned outside of Young Hercules. Gosling portrayed the antagonist, Zylus, and Rimmer was Seska, the daughter of Lilith and Jason from a dalliance during the Young Hercules years before Lilith went on to become an Amazon. Later that year, adult Lilith and Seska would make another appearance in the episode “A Wicked Good Time”. Rimmer, Conrad, O’Gorman and Dotchin would continue to make guest-appearances in Hercules and Xena, with Dotchin landing a starring role in another Renaissance production, Jack of All Trades.

The DVD cover.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the pilot film to DVD in 1998, and re-released it again in 2006. In 2015, Shout! Factory released the complete series to DVD. The episodes were placed in production order, although the series’ personal continuity was still inconsistent. 



EPISODE GUIDE:
“The Treasure of Zeus – Part 1” (9/12/98) – Ares has Strife trick Hercules into stealing Hera’s chalice in an attempt to invalidate Zeus’ protection order on him.

“Between Friends (The Treasure of Zeus – Part 2)” (9/16/98) – After they survive stealing the chalice, Strife frames Iolaus for theft.

“What a Crockery (The Treasure of Zeus – Part 3)” (9/17/98) – Until the chalice is returned, Zeus’ protection is lifted and leaves Hercules a target for Ares.

“Herc and Seek” (9/22/98) – Iolaus’ former gang steals the academy’s tuition money.

“Girl Trouble” (9/19/98) – Hercues, Jason and Iolaus discover enslaved Amazons on their ship and free them.

“Teacher’s Pests” (9/26/98) – Doing chores for punishment, Hercules and Jason cover for Iolaus so that he can start his new job.

“Inn Trouble” (10/1/98) – While Kora is on a mission for Artemis, Hercules and his friends watch her restaurant.

“Keeping Up with the Jasons” (10/2/98) – Hercules has Hephaestus make him unbeatable weaponry so that he can defeat Jason.

“Amazing Grace” (2/4/99) – Hercules invites Amazons to the academy.

“Cyrano de Hercules” (2/23/99) – Hephaestus builds himself a woman out of metal, but she ends up falling for Hercules.

“Battle Lines – Part 1” (11/11/98) – Discord reignites an old hatred between the centaurs and Amazons.

“Battle Lines – Part 2” (11/13/98) – Hercules tries to prevent the war between the centaurs and Amazons.

“Forgery” (10/10/98) – Tired of being known as “boring”, Hercules uses Hephaestus’ forge to change himself.

“No Way Out” (9/25/98) – Trying to keep her from finding out about her surprise party leads Hercules and Lilith to be trapped in a cave.

“Ares on Trial” (9/29/98) – Ares is put on trial by the gods when he tries to kill Hercules.

“Down and Out in Academy Hills” (10/3/98) – Hercules and his friends rescue an amnesiac man who fell from the sky.

“Winner Take All” (10/30/98) – Discovering he has previously unknown brothers, Pollux and Castor, Hercules forgets about his friends in his excitement.

“A Serpent’s Tooth” (10/31/98) – Discord and Strife bring a baby monster to Corinth to destroy the city, but Iolaus ends up coming to love it.

“The Lure of the Lyre” (11/3/98) – Hercules and his friends have to defeat Bacchus and keep Lilith from becoming one of his thralls.

“Fame” (11/4/98) – Orpheus is forced to recruit more Bacchae in order to keep Eurydice free.

“Lyre, Liar” (9/18/98) – Eurydice promises to marry Bacchus if he leaves her friends alone.

“A Lady in Hades” (10/9/98) – Hercules and Jason head to the Underworld to try and keep Eurydice out of Tartarus.

“The Mysteries of Life” (10/7/98) – Hercules and his friends try to free the formerly baby monster from a freak show.

“Dad Always Liked Me Best” (9/24/98) – Hercules meets another brother who hunts Pollux in order to put him to death for the murder of Castor.

“Herc’s Nemesis” (10/29/98) – Hercules tries to convince Nemesis to defy Hera when she’s ordered to kill a mortal.

“Cold Feet” (11/5/98) – Fear over his pending kingship leads Jason to pose as a farmhand in a small village that he ends up having to free from a warlord.

“Mommy Dearests” (2/5/99) – Lucius tries to win Zeus’ affections by destroying everyone Hercules cares about.

“In Your Dreams” (3/2/99) – Hercules has to face his worst nightmare in order to free his friends from Morpheus.

“Sisters” (10/24/98) – Jealous over the attention her sister receives, Kora tries to emulate her and ends up in trouble.

“The Golden Bow” (11/6/98) – After Strife has Artemis’ bow stolen, Hercules discovers Kora is Artemis’ servant and helps her try to retrieve it.

“Home for the Holidays” (5/11/99) – Hercules brings his friends home only to discover his mother has fallen in love.

“Cram-Pred” (11/2/98) – Iolaus’ friends try to help him pass his final exam to keep him out of prison.

“Con Ares” (5/10/99) – In order to stop a war, Hercules and his friends have a farmhand who resembles Ares pose as him.

“Get Jason” (11/20/98) – The annual tradition of pranking seniors is darkened by a very real attempt to kill Jason.

“My Fair Lilith” (2/1/99) – Lilith pretends to be Jason’s wife so that he doesn’t have to marry a princess sent to be his coronation present.

“Hind Sight” (11/10/98) – Hercules tries to keep his friends from killing a Golden Hind, which would result in their being killed by Artemis in turn.

“The Head That Wears a Crown” (2/2/99) – Hercules and Jason fight over how to deal with a monster in Corinth.

“Me, Myself and Eye” (2/25/99) – Iolaus and Jason are cursed in an attempt to get a future-seeing eye back from Hercules.

“The Skeptic” (2/3/99) – Strife goes to great lengths to try and convince a skeptic that the gods do exist.

“Iolaus Goes Stag” (2/17/99) – Artemis curses Iolaus after he tries to kill the Golden Hind to impress his uncle.

“Adventures in the Forbidden Zone” (11/19/98) – A chariot race leads Hercules and new instructor Theseus into a land where people never return from.

“The Prize” (11/18/98) – Ares enters a talent contest in order to win the last piece of the Chronus Stone, which will give him ultimate power.

“The Beasts Beneath” (11/24/98) – Some of the cadets enter a land known for having deadly sand sharks.

“Parents’ Day” (2/26/99) – In order to spare himself from his parents’ disappointment, Iolaus hires actors to pose as them for the academy’s Parents’ Day.

“A Life for a Life” (2/22/99) – Ares makes Hercules choose between his own life and that of Chiron’s.

“Under Siege” (2/24/99) – Hercules has to figure out why they Amazons are attacking the academy.

“Mila” (3/8/99) – An Amazon’s dreams lead her to believe her father is a god and she’s come to find him.

“Apollo” (5/12/99) – When Hercules tells Apollo that his friends are only friends out of fear, Apollo attacks the academy in response.

“Ill Wind” (5/13/99) – Amazon queen Cyane comes to Hercules for help in preventing her murder.

“Valley of the Shadow” (5/14/99) – A mysterious old man protects Hercules and his friends from a monster guarding Hera’s Valley where a hunting trip ends up taking them.

Film:
“Young Hercules” (2/17/98) – Hercules is sent to Cheiron’s academy to train and ends up journeying with Jason to get the Golden Fleece to save his father’s life.