Hit & Myth
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Cult Times #45
Could it really be the end for Cult TV’s mightiest hero? We preview the latest, and maybe final, season of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, premièring this month on Sky One…

Taken from our six-page feature on Hercules, which also includes 12 of the half-man half-god's greatest labours (so far) examined.

Read it all in Cult Times #45, and get this pull-out Hercules poster!

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Hercules pull-out poster from this issue!

Amassing a worldwide following, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys has now had five extremely impressive years syndicated across America, and has been a regular fixture for Sky One and Channel 5 in the UK since the latest terrestrial channel’s launch. However, as Season Five begins on Sky (Season Four will appear on Channel 5 around about September this year), the future of the show looks less assured.

Young Hercules, telling tales of best friends Hercules, Iolaus and Jason (of Argonauts fame) as young me, has been cancelled after a first season of 41 half-hour episodes, and it now seems likely that its progenitor is next on the list. Quite why is still unclear; Xena will be continuing her exploits for at least another year, but the mighty son of Zeus seems set to hang up his boots

What has been promised is that the series will go out with a bang, so a big finish is at least something to look forward to. In the meantime, what’s been going on in Season Five? If you don’t want forthcoming events spoilt, look away, otherwise read on.

Still here? Right. In comparison with Xena, Hercules has always been a more family-orientated and fun show. After learning to cope with the death of his wife and children in the first episode of the TV series, Hercules has always been a classic hero, willing to do what’s right at all times and help those in need. Therefore, whilst Xena has been developing various shades between her dark nature and her brighter self, Hercules has always been much the same. However, that’s about to change.

After his mother’s death and a flirtation with the powers of a god, Hercules is willing to take things carefully once more. However, what he gets is a confrontation that results in his reacquintance with former lover Nebula and the death of his closest friend, Iolaus. Of course it’s not the first time this has happened in the Hercules universe. In fact, it’s not the first time it’s happened to Iolaus. Quick trip to the Underworld, chat to Hades, Iolaus will be back, right? Not this time. After failing to help Iolaus, Hercules takes a darker path than ever before, setting out on a voyage of self-discovery and meeting the pantheon of Norse gods, including Odin and Thor, after settling a long-standing score.

It’s grim and gritty all the way until our hero finds redemption later in the season, but it’s a tough and gruelling ride, allowing Kevin Sorbo a chance to prove he’s not just a pretty face as he opens up new dimensions to the character that have remained hidden in past seasons. That’s not to say the traditional comedy episodes aren’t going to crop up; they just feature other characters from Hercules early on in the year...

Episode 4 is one of our highlights in our Out of the Box section for June, coming soon...

Paul Spragg

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