Hi guys! Law school has ensured that I have no friends, no energy, no life, and only minimal sanity. I do, however, have LOADS of time to myself on Friday nights. As such, I've been watching the very best of Netflix's very worst, and (on when I remember/get around to it) will be sharing snippets of that with you!
Tonight we'll be watching Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. I just started watching, this is the pilot, and literally all I know about it is that Kevin Sorbo is in it and that Xena was its spinoff.
S1: E1 "The Wrong Path"
We begin our episode with some threatening men looting a bar. There's an unnamed peasant, presumably the bar owner, tied up and with a noose around his neck. Enter: Kevin Sorbo as Hercules and Iolaus. "We've decided to say, 'hello,'" says Iolaus. "Hello," says Hercules. There is a momentary close-up of Kevin Sorbo's perfect hair, chiseled jaw, and piercing blue eyes. He is not witty, but still I am swooning.
A bar fight ensues. Iolaus gets the shit kicked out of him. Kevin Sorbo seems to be putting in way more effort than is strictly necessary for an impossibly strong demigod. Like, I'm pretty sure every single person he's punched or hit should be dead right now. There's some minor drama with the hanging bar owner. Iolaus looks like Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale, but cackles like the Joker. He means well, but he's annoying. This will probably be a theme throughout the show.
The bar fight has some really adventurous stuntwork. And a hella motivational soundtrack. The fight's over now and seems to have served no purpose at all. Iolaus says there's nothing like a good fight to "get the blood flowing" while simultaneously staring at Kevin Sorbo's ass. This show has the potential to be way gayer than my dim childhood memories indicated and we're only three minutes in.
Iolaus is "feeling kinda stiff" and needs a rubdown from Kevin Sorbo. Definitely way gayer than I remembered.
Hercules just got home, peeking in on his precious little ones and his very naked wife...WHO JUST GOT TOTALLY DISINTEGRATED BY A FIREBALL. What the shit. What the actual shit. Who even does that? Oh, the kids just got disintegrated too. Cackling and scary eyeballs in the clouds tell us that Hera is behind the attack. We also know this because Hercules is screaming at the sky. This show is fucking weird.
The past seven minutes were apparently the cold-open. Now we've got a dramatic monologue telling us who Hercules is, and describing Hera as the "evil all-powerful queen of the gods." That doesn't seem accurate, but whatever, fuck textual accuracy, we've got Kevin Sorbo's hair.
New Zealand scenery porn!
It's not a good day in New Zealand. Hercules is really sad, and we're treated to a flashback montage of Hercules and his wife and kids. The wife has great tits, but terrible hair. Not sure it's a fair tradeoff.
Enter Iolaus. Sad Hercules tells him about the fireballs, and Iolaus somehow manages to keep a straight face, instead of running into the hills screaming, which is what I would have done in his place.
So apparently in this version, Zeus is a good guy. But not good enough to keep his woman under control, and Hercules is pissed. He sends Iolaus away, it's all very sad and there's lots of suppressing of tears. After that, Hercules goes back home to break everything in his house because he is SO FULL OF RAGE. A farmer comes looking for help, Hercules tells him to fuck off. This is a man hell-bent on revenge, and he is not to be trifled with. He's got pots to shatter and benches to break.
The farmer heads to the bar for a drink and a gossip and possibly a hotdog sandwich and tells everyone about what an asshole Hercules is. Iolaus, of course, is there and can't handle hearing his
one true love best friend insulted like that. In fact, he's so offended that his accent starts slipping all over the place.
He tells the farmer what's up. The farmer proceeds to tell him about this she-demon who turns the young men in his village into stone. No, it's not Medusa. Iolaus offers to help the farmer instead while Hercules is off rampaging. Nothing about this seems like a good or smart thing to do.
Meanwhile, Hercules has finished breaking all his shit and has lit his entire house on fire, which seems like a colossal waste of resources at best. Also, how the hell did those fireballs that disintegrated his family not also disintegrate his house? He wanders solemnly away.
Scene change! Gratuitous cleavage! Inspirational 90s travel music! Like a poor man's Toto or something. I say that, but the only Toto song I know is "Africa" so I could be totally off base.
Hercules has gone running home to mommy, who knows everything that's happened because Zeus told her. Must be kinda nice to have a direct line to the ruler of the gods. I can't even get my Chinese delivery place on the phone half the time. Mom has excellent hair, above-average cleavage, and a very strong eyebrow game. I can't even blame Zeus for cheating on his wife with her. I'd probably cheat on my wife with her.
There's lots of dramatic declarations of love. Hercules has gotten his pep talk from Mom, and instead of taking the night to sleep or whatever after all his traveling, he jets off to ruin Hera's shit. He's gonna destroy her seven temples, which is probably a big deal.
He starts off small, warming up by destroying some villager's shrine/altar thingie. It's a good sentiment, but kinda rude. I'd be pretty pissed if I was one of those villagers who'd put time and effort and money into building a shrine and putting together an offering and then some asshole with a chip on his shoulder came and ruined it.
We're back to Iolaus and the farmer now! Iolaus is telling stories about his adventures with Hercules. You can almost see the little hearts in his eyes. Mild problem, though. The farmer has never heard of Iolaus, who somehow has never once made it into any of the stories. Now he's gotta prove himself by moving a giant-ass fallen tree. Easy bro, you're gonna give yourself a hernia or something.
Hercules at the temple! These scene changes are starting to get annoying. Kevin Sorbo climbs some rocks, we're treated to some great shots of his hair blowing in the wind and also his leather-clad ass. I can get behind it (heh).
Back with Iolaus and the farmer, the farmer spots the she-demon talking to a dude in a clearing. Of course it's a clearing. The she-demon looks a little bit like Jessica Alba, and has the best cleavage of any woman we've seen on the show so far. She's also got a massive pouffy skirt, which is definitely not to be trusted. That said, she's not actually very good at being seductive. I can't tell if hypnosis is part of her technique, or if teenage boys in ancient Greece really were that dumb. I'm going to go with boys being dumb.
So of course the dumb teenager steps onto her skirt (who even does that??? weirdo) and oh, fuck, the she-demon is a snake she-demon. Of course she is. And then, just when you think it can't get any weirder, her tail lights up and...penetrates the teenager...and turns him into stone. This show might be the gayest thing I've ever seen, and I did queer theory in college. Then the she-demon disappears, doing that weirdo invisible cackle thing that Hera was doing too. The invisible cackle thing is stupid and needs to go.
Back with Hercules, he's ruining the first temple. Pretty conveniently, he also gets to rescue a hooker who's tied up and about to get sacrificed! For some reason, all the temple guards look like Fu-Man Chu. Ancient Greece was weird.
Hercules destroys the temple, using the hooker as a weapon. Seriously, it's like swing/square dancing except with worse music and more unconsciousness. There's lots of thwapping noises. So it turns out the hooker isn't actually a hooker. She's an escaped slave named Aegina. She's got big hair and nice cleavage. Whoever does the costuming for this show probably singlehandedly kept the pushup bra in existence in 1996.
Turns out she's just trying to get home and wants Hercules to take her there. Coincidentally, home happens to be where Iolaus and the farmer are trying unsuccessfully to deal with the she-demon. I wonder if this will have any bearing whatsoever on the plot.
Somewhere during their travels, Aegina trips and falls and sprains her ankle. She's giving all sorts of unsolicited advice, and very clearly thirsting hard for Hercules. Hercules only has thoughts of his dead wife, who is totally a Cool Girl, but who gets progressively better cheekbones as these flashbacks progress.
Iolaus and the farmer chilling outside the she-demon's cave trying to figure out their next move. Iolaus decides to go inside the cave. When the farmer tells him he's a moron, he replies that his special power is the ability to resist women. Seriously. Poor Iolaus, if only this show had aired ten years later he might have gotten a cute boytoy and some better costuming. As it is, he's just gonna be sad and pining for Hercules forever.
Iolaus is dumb and also ineffective, so of course he goes after the she-demon and is penetrated and turned to stone within about thirty seconds of entering her cave. Please feel free to supply your own innuendo. The she-demon has a horrible tail that's a combination of CGI and puppetry, in case anyone needed to be reminded that this aired in 1996.
Hercules and Aegina get to the village, where a creepy dude dressed like a dementor tries to warn them off. Agina tells the dementor that Hercules is here to save them. The dementor tells them that Iolaus has been "killed" by the she-demon. Of course, Hercules is devastated by losing his wife and his
lover best friend in such close proximity, and decides to go on his roaring rampage of revenge in the she-demon's cave. This sounds like the summary to the best worst erotic fanfiction ever.
Hercules is sad and angsty because everyone he loves dies. "This is the price people pay for my love and my friendship." What a terrible line. I love it. Aegina isn't buying it, because she is thirsty for Kevin Sorbo's perfect hair and bulging pectorals. They run into the farmer, who's the most intelligent person in this episode. Farmer's peacing out and thinks everyone else should do the same. You go, farmer. Agina gets pissy with him for being a coward, and makes some very overdone angry faces. Everyone needs an acting coach.
Hercules goes into the cave to confront the she-demon. Aegina and the farmer hang out to provide a peanut gallery when the show cuts away from the fight scene to save on their CGI budget. The she-demon is trying to seduce Hercules and failing, so instead she's just gonna force herself on him. The whole tail penetration thing gets more disturbing every time I watch it. Also, for some reason the she-demon has many bowls of corn and mashed potatoes chilling in her cave. I'm not going to question their presence.
Fighting ensues. Hercules eventually pins the she-demon against a stalactite and tricks her into stabbing herself with her own tail. She turns herself to stone, and everyone she "killed" magically becomes de-stoned.
Iolaus's heart skips a beat when he finds out Hercules came to rescue him. There's lots of talk about friendship, because that was everyone's favorite thing in the 90s. Iolaus tells Hercules that he saw the wife and kids when he was dead, and they said to tell Hercules hi and not to die yet. The episode fades to black as Hercules walks away with triumphant music playing in the background.
BatmansRobyn is a law student who should probably get off Twitter and start studying. She needs to get better hobbies and can be found on Twitter @batmans_robyn