So everyone remembers the 1997 movie Hercules
and the animated series on ABC, the Disney Afternoon, and Toon Disney. But what about the more important aspect of the series: the myths? Without them we wouldn't have Herc to talk about, and render this journal moot. Note that these are only in the animated series
Honorable Mention: The Illiad
Serving as my honorable mention are the two works by Homer that you will inevitably read in high school or college. I'm listing this as the honorable mention since there are so many episodes that contain parts of the two stories. First there is "The Trojans". This episode is based entirely on the Illiad with Helen being "captured" by the Prometheus Academy's rivals, the Trojans. Herc, being the Homecoming King concocts a plan to save her by storming the Trojan Academy (ProAc being located in Athens). Unlike in the story, all of ProAc's attempts to save Helen are thwarted by Paris, who simply invited her to visit. Adding to this is the fact that Herc is relaying the ordeal to Homer, who then spins this story into an epic tale about a 10-year war. Later on we have "the Odyssey Experience," taking place after "the Argonauts," which is a miniadaptation of the Odyssey, with Herc and Telemachus replacing the latter's father and a few Argonauts replacing Ulysses's crew. Lastly we have "the Song of Circe," primarily since it's Idina Menzel before she got the role of Elphaba in Wicked, and years before being Elsa in Frozen.
10: The Caledonian Boar
This one is notable as it's really two myths combined into one. The overall plot of a boar hunt in Caledon stems from the story of Atlanta and from the myth of Actaeon, with Phil being turned into a boar by Artemis (voiced by Reba Macintire) for falling for his satyrical instincts and spying on her bathing.
9: The Gorgon
This episode has a small element of the Little Mermaid in it with Hades and Aphrodite (Lisa Kudrow) trying to help Medusa (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Hades' deal would turn Medusa into a were-gorgon; by day she is a human girl, by night she transforms into her original gorgon form. Chipicles, the local law enforcer, brings up that the safest way to handle the head of a gorgon is to stuff it in a bag,
8: The Kids
How does this have to do with Greek Myth? Simple: Aesop is the proper teacher for the kids (all of whom named after characters from the Classical world) in this episode. And of course, who can forget the wonderful fables that he told. As a matter of fact, when he is introduced, Aesop is finishing telling The Tortoise and the Hare
7: The Prometheus Affair
This episode tells of the original hero Titan, Prometheus and his gift of fire to mankind. Naturally, Herc feels obliged to free Prometheus, not knowing that it was his father Zeus that chained him up in the first place. And the best part of this episode is that Herc actually did this while creating the Straits of Gibralter in order to find Geryon.
6: The Minotaur
This bit encompasses only two episodes which feature the Minotaur (voiced by Michael Dorn (Worf)). In his first story, the Minotaur
, Daedalus (David Hyde Pierce) is invited by Minos to Crete in order to build a Labyrinth, calling it a Wonder of the World. But then Minos reveals its true intention, a maze to keep the Minotaur locked within. Making matters worse is when both Herc and Icarus are thrown into the maze with the Minotaur. Later on the Minotaur returns in The Grim Avenger
, with Theseus serving as a Batman analogue. For once, we have a reason why the Minotaur does not like the maze: claustrophobia.
5: The Golden Touch
This episode is an obvious James Bond homage (particularly to Goldfinger
) with Midas acting out a plan similar to Goldfinger's plot in the movie. It still ends with him accidentally turning his daughter, Marigold, to gold and washing his touch away in a river.
4: The Dream Date
Now I mentioned this episode in the past to
as this episode has improved animation compared to the rest of the series (it was animated in Australia, compared to Asia), and Galatea (Jennifer Aniston) is proof. This episode is based partially on Pygmalion, with Herc making his own dream girl from clay and asking for Aphrodite's help to bring her to life. Then it becomes a full-on yandere simulator with references to the Terminator.
3: The Argonauts
Remember those guys from the honorable mention? They debuted here captained by J̶a̶m̶e̶s̶ ̶T̶i̶b̶e̶r̶i̶u̶s̶ ̶K̶i̶r̶k̶ Jason. This episode is more or less there to show that the real Hercules was an Argonaut, but it is possible that they wanted to do it since they got William Shatner to voice Jason. And goodness me, this episode is very accurate to the myth, with the exception of Medea.
2: Prose Edda
This doesn't look Greek to me. That's because it's Norse. To be exact, this is "Hercules and the Twilight of the Gods
." In Norse "Hercules og Ragnarokk" That's right, they adapt the end of the world in an episode of Hercules. How does it happen? Loki (Vince Vaungh) invites Herc to Asgard to join their pantheon. Odin (Garrison Keylor) agrees to let Herc join, only if he can defeat Thor. He does and becomes a god... which was part of Loki's plot. He frees his son, the hellhound Fenrir from ice and awakens the frost giants to attack Asgard (in a scene that parodies the film, the giants head to Olympus until Loki turns them around). The Fates appear, moonlighting as the Norns, in a cave in Greenland (and they do show the naming discrepancies between Iceland and Greenland)
You probably saw this with a 100-yard pole did you? Well this episode is probably the best in the series as it brings back most of your favorite characters from the movie, including Jafar working with Hades to get his revenge against Aladdin.