Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
By 1998, Power Rangerswasn’t as
popular as it once was. Saban Entertainment
was considering ending the franchise with the latest installment, Power
Rangers in Space. That meant they needed a new franchise to fill the
airwaves. Deciding to take their five years of experience adapting Super Sentai
for American audiences, they chose to create a completely original show done in
a similar style.
Knights of Tir Na Nog was set in a fantasy version of ancient Ireland.
Queen Maeve (Charlotte Bradley), ruler of the land of Temra, sought
to conquer the peaceful kingdom of Kells,
believing it to be her birthright to rule. To achieve this goal, she allied
herself with the evil fairy Mider (Ned Dennehy). He gave her a mystical Rune Stone
that allowed her to use sorcery to create various ogres and giants to aid in
her troops’ attacks. Leading those troops was Torc (Gerry O’Brien), a former
general of Kells. Maeve also employed Bogies, little
people who served as her spies, and her half-demon son, Lugad (Eric O’Cuinn). Unlike the other
tokusatsu (Japanese action shows with heavy special effects usage) Saban
adapted that repurposed existing costumes, this series utilized a combination
of costumes and primitive CGI for their monsters.
The Knights: Rohan, Deirdre, Angus and Ivar.
In order to save the kingdom, Rohan
(Lochlainn O’Mearain), the orphaned apprentice of druid Cathbad (Barry Cassin),
embarked on a quest to find the legendary hero Draganta. Together with his
thief friend, Angus (Vincent Walsh), the headstrong princess of Kells, Deirdre
(Lisa Dwan), and Ivar (Justin Pierre), a prince from a distant land who was
searching for his country’s sacred
chalice that had been stolen, they wound up in the fairy land Tir Na Nog.
There, King Fin Varra (Peadar Lamb) provided them with powerful weapons harnessing
the elements: Deirdre received the Whirlwind
Crossbow that fired powerful bursts of air; Ivar the Barbed
Trident that shot bolts of electricity; Angus the Terra
Sling Mace which could throw giant boulders and cause earthquakes; and
Rohan’s sword was enhanced into the Sword of
Kells, which projected fire. He also provided them with the path to
acquiring suits of armor that would turn them, as King Conchobar (Stephen
Brennan) called them, into the Mystic Knights, by defeating the Four Sentinels
of Temra; monstrous creatures that served both Mider and Maeve. Rohan would
also acquire the Dragon’s
Breath Dagger, which allowed him to summon their dragon ally, Pyre, and a
Battle Fury armor upgrade. They would transform into their armors by declaring
their personalized key phrase: “Fire within me!”, “Air above me!”, “Water
around me!” and “Earth beneath me!”
Aiding the knights was Aideen (Kelly
Campbell), a sprite from Tir Na Nog. She had developed an attraction to Rohan
which often led her to be jealous of Deirdre. A fifth knight eventually joined
in the team in the form of Prince Garrett
(Ben Palmer), a formerly
arrogant ruler from a distant land originally promised Deirdre’s hand in
marriage to form an alliance. He would become the Mystic Knight of Forest. He
Timber Axes that projected an energy beam and transformed with the phrase
“Forest before me!” Even before he was a Knight, Garrett displayed the ability
to command any animal whom he locked gazes with.
While the show gave focus to each of its
characters, the majority of it was spent on Rohan. Over the course of the
series, it was revealed that Rohan was, in fact, the legendary hero Draganta as
well as the son of Maeve. Rohan also used this to turn Lugad against Maeve. Nemain (Sharon Hogan),
the former ruler of Temra until Maeve deposed her, was revealed to have also
been working against Maeve by aiding the Knights in the guise of an old man. The
series ended with Nemain and Mider forming an alliance following Maeve’s
defeat. Unfortunately, that potential plotline ended up going nowhere as the
show was ended after its sole season. While a second season, titled Battle Thunder, was planned, the
unexpected success of Power Rangers in
Space caused Saban to shift its focus back onto the franchise. They took
the budget meant for the second season and put it towards the next Power Rangers entry, Lost
Galaxy, and for promotion for their next anime dub, Digimon: Digital Monsters.
Action figures were
produced by Bandai, who also held the Power Rangers license. Bandai often
pushed for the show to be more toyetic to allow them more to produce in the
line, but the production pushed back in order to not compromise the relatively
serious tone the series was taking. Bandai took their own liberties anyway,
incorporating additional weaponry and vehicles not used on the show. McDonald’s featured eight toys based on the show
in their Happy Meals in 1999. Each
Knight had a shield that performed a different action, while Maeve, Torc, Mider
and Lugad came with pieces to build a bonus toy dragon. Franco American
produced a canned pasta
featuring the shapes of Angus’ shield, Deirdre’s castle, a dragon’s head,
Ivar’s helmet and Rohan’s sword. Between 1999 and 2000, Harper-Collins published five
books adapting episodes of the show.
The VHS cover.
VHS was released by 20th
Century Fox in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Four episodes
were released across two
DVDs in Germany, but don’t include the original English audio.
of the Ancient Scroll” (9/12/98) – When Maeve begins to send monsters to attack
Kells, Rohan and Angus head off in search of an ancient hero to defend the
Na Nog” (9/16/98) – Rohan, Angus, Deirdre and Ivar are put through a series of
tests by King Fin Varra to determine their worthiness to possess elemental
Fire Dragon of Dare” (9/17/98) – The Knights have to obtain their armor before
they can even hope to tame Pyre the fire dragon.
Hound of Temra” (9/18/98) – Temra faces the Lightning Bat for her armor while
Maeve tricks Rohan into thinking she wants peace.
and the Sea Serpent” (9/19/98) – Ivar battles the Sea Serpent for his armor.
Wolf in the Rocks” (9/23/98) – Maeve has Angus kidnapped to keep him from
facing the Rock Wolf.
Taming of Pyre Pt. 1” (9/24/98) – The Knights try again to tame Pyre.
Taming of Pyre Pt. 2” (9/25/98) – The Knights succeed in getting Pyre on their
(9/26/98) – Pyre reveals Rohan is Dragenta while Maeve casts a spell to make
the Knights fight each other.
of the Little People” (9/30/98) – Mider convinces the Knights to give up their
weapons, allowing him to conquer Tir Na Nog.
Fury” (10/1/98) – The Knights have to fight Pyre after Maeve gains control of
(10/2/98) – Rohan is tricked into bringing the ancient dragon Tyrune to life.
Returns” (10/3/98) – The Knights need Pyre if they hope to defeat Tyrune.
and the Stone Princess” (10/6/98) – Aideen accidentally turns Deirdre to stone
with a potion that was supposed to boost her strength.
of the Druids” (10/9/98) – Cathbad’s former teacher seems to be replacing him
in the king’s favor, but it turns out he’s up to something sinister.
Deirdre” (10/17/98) – Deirdre is forced to rule while her father is sick, and
her worry over making a mistake leads her to making a fool’s wager with Maeve.
of the Spirits” (10/31/98) – Maeve sends ghosts to attack Kells on their
Choice” (11/5/98) – Maeve gives Aideen a spell to make her human so that she
can pursue Rohan, but is forced to choose between her new form and rescuing
& Conquer” (11/6/98) – Maeve plots to trick Ivar into going home and
putting Kells under a sleep spell.
of the Beholder” (11/7/98) – Deirdre is changed into a hag after drinking magic
water, and when she goes to Fin Varra for help he finds her new form appealing
enough to make her his.
and the Princess” (11/11/98) – For an alliance, Conchobar agrees to allow his
daughter to marry Prince Garrett.
Traitor of Kells” (11/12/98) – Maeve turns Garrett into one of her minions, and
he defeats and disarms the Knights.
Fifth Knight” (11/13/98) – After learning Garrett’s importance to Kells, the
Knights free him from Maeve’s control.
Mystic Knight of Forest” (11/14/98) – Garrett has to become the next Mystic
Knight, but to do so he must overcome his arrogance.
of the Dragon” (11/17/98) – The Knights try to keep a dragon egg secret from
Maeve while Angus falls back in with some old thief friends of his.
Drageen” (11/19/98) – The egg hatches and the baby dragon is sought after by
both the Knights and Maeve.
King’s Ransom” (11/20/98) – The Knights join with Maeve to fend off a new
threat to Kells.
Curse of Kells” (1/30/99) – Ivar learns how Angus and Rohan met.
Trial of Angus” (2/4/99) – Angus is framed for robbing villagers and destroying
property, and the Knights work on proving his innocence.
King of Temra” (2/5/99) – Mider tricks Cathbad into making him human-sized,
allowing him to overthrow Maeve.
Buckler of Bre” (2/6/99) – Torc steals a weapon from Tir Na Nog that makes him
more than a match for the Knights.
Revenge” (2/8/99) – Ivar attempts to reclaim his chalice from Torc and bring it
Bride” (2/9/99) – Deirdre is suspicious of a new woman that has caught the
Kings Great and Small” (2/10/99) – Conchobar and Fin Varra must trade kingdoms
for a day to stop a magic storm.
Wish” (2/11/99) – When Angus is offered a wish for rescuing a wood elf, the
other Knights try to pressure him to use it for them.
Lost King” (2/12/99) – Maeve kidnaps Fin Varra in order to steal his powers.
for Life” (2/13/99) – Angus grows jealous of Rohan and has a falling out with
Prisoner Prince” (2/20/99) – The Knights must protect a bratty visiting prince.
(2/24/99) – Garrett fancies an amnesiac princess found by Fin Varra whose
arrival coincides with the latest monster attack.
Doubt” (2/26/99) – Maeve casts a spell of doubt on Rohan that weakens his
effectiveness in battle.
Barrow of Balin” (3/2/99) – Maeve resurrects Rohan’s idol, Balin, and sets him
Rider” (4/23/99) – Maeve awakens an ancient warrior who uses magic to take over
the minds of the soldiers and the Knights.
Warrior of Temra” (4/26/99) – Maeve unleashes her secret weapon as she stands
to lose the war.
Fury” (4/27/99) – Rohan takes a dangerous test for new armor as Lugad seems to
turn the tide of the war for Temra.
Challenge” (4/28/99) – Rohan faces off against Lugad and gets more than he
Mark of Destiny” (4/29/99) – Rohan tries to use what he learned to turn Lugad.
Queen Mother” (4/30/99) – Maeve captures Rohan and learns she is his mother.
in the Forest” (5/5/99) – Rohan contemplates leaving Kells, but decides to stay
and fight when Garrett returns.
Final Battle” (5/6/99) – The inhabitants are forced to retreat from the castle
with Maeve’s latest attack.
(5/7/99) – Rohan has to embrace his destiny in order to finally defeat Maeve.