Young Hercules

Young Hercules

A blond haired teenager wearing a light brown tunic top. At the bottom of the image is the title of the show in yellow capital letters.

Young Hercules intro card
Developed by Robert Tapert
Starring Ryan Gosling
Dean O'Gorman
Chris Conrad
Composer(s) Joseph LoDuca
Country of origin United States
New Zealand
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 50, plus pilot
Executive producer(s) Sam Raimi
Robert G. Tapert
Eric Gruendemann
Liz Friedman
Running time 21:20 min.
Production company(s) Renaissance Pictures
Universal Network Television
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original network Fox Kids Network
Original release September 12, 1998 – May 14, 1999
Related shows

Young Hercules was a spin-off series from the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It was aired on Fox Kids Network from September 12, 1998 to May 12, 1999. It lasted 1 season with 50 episodes and starred Ryan Gosling in the title role. The series was based on the Greek mythology hero, Hercules.


The show features the efforts of Ares, the god of war, played by Kevin Tod Smith, who attempts often to destroy his younger half-brother to win over Zeus' good graces. Among his group is his nephew Strife (Joel Tobeck), who is the rather weaker member of the team. Strife's mother is Discord, goddess of retribution (Meighan Desmond), who acts more level-headed and power hungry than her counterpart on more than one occasion. The series has other two villains: Hera, queen of the gods and Hercules's stepmother; and Apollo, god of the sun and Hercules's half-brother.

The storyline follows Hercules (Ryan Gosling) as he attends Cheiron's Academy to train in the arts of the warrior under the wise headmaster Cheiron the Centaur (Nathaniel Lees). He makes friends with the future king of Corinth Prince Jason (Chris Conrad) and a thieving former member of a bandit group named Iolaus (Dean O'Gorman), who was sentenced to train at the academy as an alternative to prison for his crimes. Hercules also meets the academy's first female cadet, Lilith (Jodie Rimmer). Other characters of interest include Kora, the inn keeper who unknown to Hercules and his friends is a devotee of Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt. As the series develops, Kora is revealed to have special powers which allow her to do Artemis' bidding. There are hints of romance between Hercules and Kora, although their friendship keeps it all innocent.

Main Cast

Supporting Cast


Young Hercules' executive producers were Robert Tapert and Spider-Man director, Sam Raimi. Liz Friedman and Eric Gruendemann were co-executive producers and former MTV producer, Cynthia Hsiung was producer of the series. Eric Lewald and Julia Lewald were head writers. In New Zealand, where principal photography was shot, Janine Dickins held down the fort as the New Zealand Producer while three series directors took turns shooting the episodes in blocks of four along with a fourth director for second unit. Chris Graves, Charlie Haskell and Andrew Merrifield shot principal photography and Simon Rabbi shot second unit. Later in the series, Simon Rabbi shot principal photography for the 50th episode, "Valley of the Shadow."

The series has been used in case studies of how to shoot television series efficiently. Traditional television series are shot one episode at a time. Young Hercules was shot in blocks of four episodes at a time. The three main directors of the series were on a rotation, one director for each four episode block. The four would be written with this in mind, keeping sets, locations, and actors similar in all four episodes even if story and plot lines might not interrelate. This saved tremendous amounts of money and time allowing the series to be shot on a shoe string budget, but with maximum on-screen dollars. The 50 episodes had a budget of roughly $20 million which includes above and below the line costs. Shooting in New Zealand also allowed the series to circumvent considerable Guild regulations for further savings. Additional money was saved shooting the series on 16 mm film. Early research was done to see if digital cameras could be used, but it was determined that technology wasn't adequate at the time to make digital filming economically viable.

Principal photography took place in New Zealand while post-production elements including visual effects and music were all edited and integrated together in Los Angeles. Ian Bohen played Young Hercules in the pilot movie and was offered the part, but opted not to move to New Zealand where the series would shoot principal photography. Early on in the series, special visual effects were conceived by Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop, the then little known visual effects company that went on to win several Academy Awards for their work on The Lord of the Rings. Weta and Richard Taylor stepped off Young Hercules early on to work on Lord of the Rings. In fact, the early production days of Young Hercules saw many of its crew leave to work on the then little known Peter Jackson sensation, Lord of the Rings.

Ryan Gosling was only 17 when he was cast in the lead role. To train for the role, Ryan took intense martial arts classes by the same trainer who taught Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo. He was so tall and thin that his costume had to be reworked to minimize the look of how thin he was. Original costume sketches showed a darker upper body costume. When Ryan was cast, the costume designers made the upper body of his costume lighter in color and broader in the chest to help create a more bulky look. Makeup was used on Ryan's arms to help add muscle contours. Similar tricks were used for both Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless for their characters.

It was known to be only superficially faithful to Greek mythology, as was its predecessor; it uses similar characters, but in a variety of stories, some of which contain anachronisms.

Sceneries and studios

The series was filmed entirely in New Zealand.


The series aired on Fox Kids Network at first on Monday through Friday at 4:30 p.m. PST and Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. PST. Later in the year, the series aired Monday through Friday only at 3:30 p.m. PST. Although ratings on Fox Kids Network were strong for the season (2nd top-rated live-action series below Power Rangers), Young Hercules was not renewed.

Awards and nominations

Daytime Emmy Award

Year Recipient Category Result
1999[1] George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Tim Isle (music editor)
Outstanding sound editing[2] Nominated
1999 Dick Hansen (sound recordist)
George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Yuri Reese (rerecording mixer)
Outstanding sound editing Nominated
1999 Dick Hansen (sound recordist)
George Haddad (post sound supervisor)
Yuri Reese (rerecording mixer)
Outstanding sound mixing Nominated

Writers Guild of America Award

Year Recipient Category Result
2000[3] Shari Goodhartz (writer; for episode 36: Hind Sight) Outstanding children's script Nominated

Episode list

The series was aired out of order. The episodes are listed below, as presented on DVD,[4] in the order of their production codes.[5] Despite this, the episodes list is not completely correct chronologically. For example, in The Head That Wears a Crown Jason is crowned king, yet in several following episodes, such as Winner Take All, he is still a prince. Similarly, even though Lilith visits Hercules's mom in Mommy Dearests, they later appear to meet for the first time in Home for the Holidays.

No. in series Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The Treasure of Zeus - Part 1"Chris GravesStory by: Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by: Mark Edens
September 12, 1998
2"Between Friends (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 2)"Chris GravesStory by: Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by: Michael Edens
September 16, 1998
3"What a Crockery (The Treasure Of Zeus - Part 3)"Chris GravesStory by: Rob Tapert & Liz Friedman
Teleplay by: Hilary J. Bader
September 17, 1998
4"Teacher's Pests"Chris GravesJohn LoySeptember 22, 1998
5"Girl Trouble"Charlie HaskellAdam Armus & Nora Kay FosterSeptember 19, 1998
6"Amazon Grace"Charlie HaskellJim Fisher & Jim StaahlSeptember 26, 1998
7"Battle Lines - Part 1"Charlie HaskellLen UhleyOctober 1, 1998
8"Battle Lines - Part 2"Charlie HaskellBrooks WachtelOctober 2, 1998
9"Hind Sight"Andrew MerrifieldShari GoodhartzFebruary 4, 1999
10"Iolaus Goes Stag"Andrew MerrifieldJan StrnadFebruary 23, 1999
11"Cold Feet"Charlie HaskellSteven MelchingNovember 11, 1998
12"In Your Dreams"Charlie HaskellDoug Molitor & Eric LewaldNovember 13, 1998
13"Down and Out in Academy Hills"Andrew MerrifieldMichael EdensOctober 10, 1998
14"Keeping Up with the Jasons"Andrew MerrifieldJim Fisher & Jim StaahlSeptember 25, 1998
15"Cyrano de Hercules"Andrew MerrifieldCarter CrockerSeptember 29, 1998
16"Forgery"Andrew MerrifieldMark EdensOctober 3, 1998
17"The Lure of the Lyre"Chris GravesMichael ReavesOctober 30, 1998
18"Fame"Chris GravesBob ForwardOctober 31, 1998
19"Lyre, Liar"Chris GravesLen UhleyNovember 3, 1998
20"A Lady in Hades"Chris GravesPaul SauerNovember 4, 1998
21"Herc and Seek"Charlie HaskellJim Fisher & Jim StaahlSeptember 18, 1998
22"Ares on Trial"Charlie HaskellJohn LoyOctober 9, 1998
23"No Way Out"Charlie HaskellAdam Armus & Nora Kay FosterOctober 7, 1998
24"Inn Trouble"Charlie HaskellMark EdensSeptember 24, 1998
25"A Serpent's Tooth"Andrew MerrifieldMark EdensOctober 29, 1998
26"The Mysteries of Life"Andrew MerrifieldJohn LoyNovember 5, 1998
27"The Head That Wears a Crown"Charlie HaskellMichael EdensFebruary 5, 1999
28"Parents' Day"Charlie HaskellAdam Armus & Nora Kay FosterMarch 2, 1999
29"Winner Take All"Andrew MerrifieldMichael EdensOctober 24, 1998
30"Dad Always Liked Me Best"Andrew MerrifieldLiz Friedman & Vanessa PlaceNovember 6, 1998
31"Mila"Chris GravesStory by: Brooks Wachtel
Teleplay by: Hilary J. Bader
May 11, 1999
32"Mommy Dearests"Charlie HaskellBrian HerskowitzNovember 12, 1998
33"Under Siege"Andrew MerrifieldMichael Edens & Julia LewaldMay 10, 1999
34"Home for the Holidays"Chris GravesJohn LoyNovember 20, 1998
35"Con Ares"Andrew MerrifieldLen UhleyFebruary 1, 1999
36"Herc's Nemesis"Charlie HaskellJim Fisher & Jim StaahlNovember 10, 1998
37"Get Jason"Andrew MerrifieldJim Fisher & Jim StaahlFebruary 2, 1999
38"The Prize"Chris GravesStory by: Michael Edens
Teleplay by: Julia Lewald
February 25, 1999
39"My Fair Lilith"Charlie HaskellVanessa PlaceFebruary 3, 1999
40"Me, Myself and Eye"Charlie HaskellPatrick PhillipsFebruary 17, 1999
41"Golden Bow"Chris GravesMark EdensNovember 19, 1998
42"Sisters"Chris GravesJohn LoyNovember 18, 1998
43"Cram-Ped"Chris GravesHilary J. BaderNovember 24, 1998
44"The Beasts Beneath"Andrew MerrifieldJessica Scott & Mike WollaegerFebruary 26, 1999
45"The Skeptic"Chris GravesMark EdensFebruary 22, 1999
46"Adventures in the Forbidden Zone"Chris GravesJohn LoyFebruary 24, 1999
47"Life for a Life"Andrew MerrifieldJim Fisher & Jim StaahlMarch 8, 1999
48"Apollo"Andrew MerrifieldClark Carlton & John LoyMay 12, 1999
49"Ill Wind"Simon RabyJim Fisher & Jim StaahlMay 13, 1999
50"Valley of the Shadow"Simon RabyStory by: Mark Edens
Teleplay by: Vanessa Place
May 14, 1999

DVD release

On June 23, 2015, Shout! Factory released Young Hercules- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[6]


  1. "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb".
  2. Young Hercules Awards and Nominations
  3. "Young Hercules - Awards - IMDb".
  4. "Shout! Factory - Young Hercules: The Complete Series". Shout! Factory. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  5. "Search results for Young Hercules in the U.S. Copyright Records database". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  6. Ryan Gosling in 'The Complete Series' on DVD!
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