Hercules (1998 TV series)

Also known as 'Disney's Hercules: The Animated Series'
Genre Action/Adventure
Created by Walt Disney Television
Directed by Phil Weinstein
Starring Tate Donovan
Robert Costanzo
French Stewart
Sandra Bernhard
James Woods
Bobcat Goldthwait
Matt Frewer
Corey Burton
Frank Welker
Paul Shaffer
Diedrich Bader
Jodi Benson
Robert Stack
Linda Hamilton
Will Ferrell
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 65 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Tad Stones
Producer(s) Mark McCorkle
Robert Schooley
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original network ABC, Syndication
Original release August 31, 1998 (1998-08-31) – March 1, 1999 (1999-03-01)

Disney's 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 Disney's One Saturday Morning on September 12, 1998. The syndicated series ran 52 episodes, while the Saturday morning run ran 13.[1]

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.


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, we're doing a pilot for a series". All animation production work was done by Slightly Offbeat Productions NZ Ltd a new studio based in New Zealand. 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).[2]

Disney's revamping of Greek legend moved to the small screen in the late summer of 1998. Disney's 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).

In 2000, the series moved to Toon Disney, where it continued airing until 2008.

Disney XD aired the series in June 2011 when the channel launched in Canada.[3]


Disney's Hercules, like the animated series Disney's The Little Mermaid, is a spin-off of the 1997 theatrically released animated film of the same name (Hercules) and is based on his teenaged adventures, though it is not a prequel to the film of the same name (Disney's The Little Mermaid featured tales of a 16-year-old Ariel which occurred before the start of the theatrical film) or truly a sequel like Disney's Aladdin (whose tales takes place after the original film and The Return of Jafar). Rather Hercules features events which occur midway through the actual film, similar to The Lion King 1½ and Tarzan II, during his years in training on the Isle of Idra under the tutelage of Philoctetes (Phil) the Satyr. Many of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses only glimpsed during the film pay visit to the young hero-to-be and help or hinder him in his adventures. Other characters from the film that appear are the evil god Hades (voiced by James Woods) and winged stallion Pegasus (voiced by Frank Welker). Corey Burton portrayed Hercules' father Zeus.

However, the series ignores a certain fact about the movie: In the film, Hades believed that Hercules was dead throughout his first 18 years of his life, but in the series, the two of them have many interactions while Hercules was still in high school.


The main cast of the series includes:


Zero to Hero

Four episodes of Hercules were reformatted into the movie Zero to Hero and released to home video. The episode Hercules and the Yearbook serves as the linking narrative, with the 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. An example of this is Hercules and the Visit From Zeus replacing the clip of Hercules graduating from Prometheus Academy.

Critical reception

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

Awards and nominations

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1999 Jennifer E. Mertens, Robert Duran, Paca Thomas, Marc Perlman, Brian F. Mars, Melissa Ellis, Robbi Smith, Robert Poole III, Rick Hammel, Kenneth D. Young, Charles Rychwalski, Eric Hertsgaard, William Kean, David Lynch and Otis Van Osten Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing - Special Class Nominated
1999 Casey Stone for episode "Twilight of the Gods" Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing - Television Animation - Music Nominated
2000 James Woods for playing "Hades" Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Won
2000 French Stewart for playing "Icarus" Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Nominated
2000 Marc S. Perlman, Robert Duran and Paca Thomas Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing - Special Class Nominated
2000 Joseph LoDuca ASCAP Award for Top TV Series Won


External links

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