Western Animation / Hercules

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Disney's Hercules: The Animated Series is an American animated 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.

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.

Tropes:

  • 65-Episode Cartoon: Although as noted, the episodes were divided between network TV and first-run syndication.
  • An Aesop: About Once an Episode.
  • Anti-Villain: The giant spider in "Hercules and the Kids". He's not really evil at all, and is an extremely friendly and helpful guy to his friend, it's just that he's hungry and people are part of his diet.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Icarus idolizes Cassandra, who couldn't care less.
  • Alliterative List: When Hades takes over Prometeus Academy, he institutes his own take on the three R's: revenge, requital and retribution.
  • All Myths Are True: The Greek gods rule over Greece and later Rome when the Romans put out an ad for gods. The Egyptian gods rule Egypt and come to Rome after reading said ad but demands that the Romans demolish the Coliseum to make way for pyramids, causing the Romans to go for the Mediterranean Olympians who understand their culture better. Scandinavia, Iceland, and Greenland are also shown to be ruled by the Norse gods.
  • Alpha Bitch: Adonis is a rare male example; a bitchy and snobby character that causes problems for our Nice Guy protagonist.
  • Animation Bump: The episode "Hercules and the Dream Date" has MUCH more fluid animation compared to other episodes, and was made with digital ink-and-paint (which allowed for some shading), resulting in less of a filmed look and more in-line with the later DTV sequels. This was because it was produced at the Australian studio, which often had more fluid looking character animation in their projects.
  • Ascended Extra: A number of gods appeared as background characters in the original movie, but didn't speak or even get identified (it was just easy to tell who they were). Nearly all of them show up in the series, with the same character designs, in expanded supporting roles.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Played straight and yet silently subverted in the episode "Hercules and the Argonauts". The Golden Fleece turns out to have none of the mythical powers attributed to it, but it does have the power of flight. At first Jason is impressed by this, but then Hercules reluctantly points out that he has a flying horse and Icarus has wings made of wax, causing Jason to feel that it wasn't worth 30 years of his life because it's not that special. However, nobody seems to call much attention to the fact that the fleece allowed Jason to endow his entire ship with the ability to fly through the sky at high speeds, which definitely is something exceptional.
  • Baleful Polymorph: One episode featured Circe who turned all of her ex-boyfriends into animals, including Icarus becoming a platypus (and Adonis becoming a peacock.)
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In one episode, Hercules asked Aphrodite for a girl who would be crazy about him. What he got instead was a clingy jealous Yandere who freaks out when he tries to end the relationship.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Most of the episodes dumped Hercules into various Greek myths, such as replacing Phaeton (Apollo's son, who failed miserably at driving the sun chariot) and facing the Minotaur alongside Theseus (which he actually did in some versions of the myths). Thus, Hercules became responsible for practically everything in Greek mythology before he even became famous. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Berserk Button:
    • As revealed in Aladdin crossover, Hercules HATES being called "Jerkules".
    • True to movie form, he's also not going to be too happy if you hurt the people he cares about.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Herc has this toward Icarus. For instance in "Hercules and the Grim Avenger", Herc briefly goes anti-hero when the Minotaur's destructiveness injures him.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In the Medusa episode, after taking Hades' offer, she is sent to a Minion Orientation session which is basically mocking Disney's own "Traditions" classes for new park hires, complete with Pain and Panic saying "We aren't employees, we're cast members"
  • Black Comedy: Episode 6 mentioned Icarus's father inventing "Self-sacrificing sheep", which are sheep with carrots dangled in front of them by a string mounted to their heads, causing them to mindlessly run in a straight line off of ledges. Thankfully the one we see is spared when it lands on one of the dolphin's pulling Poseidon's boat-sled.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Nemesis, demi-goddess of vengeance, who has a strong fixation towards smiting enemies of the gods and blasphemers and a Terminator-like focus towards finding victims. It comes with the territory.
    • Tempest also, who states "I'm an amazon. I have violent needs," and whose combat resume has a section titled "things I've skinned alive."
  • Boot Camp Episode: Herc and Icarus infiltrate Spartan Military Academy to save Adonis, who has to go through basic training in accordance to family tradition. Ironically, Cloudcuckoolander Icarus warms up to the military lifestyle.
  • Brainless Beauty: Helen of Troy. 1000 ships weren't launched for her intelligence after all.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Adonis regularly antagonizes Hercules, and occasionally other gods and beings more than capable of killing him. Hercules is too good to do anything to him, but Gaea nearly kills him for disrespect and Zeus smites him twice.
  • The Caligula: King Minos of Crete fits this to a T. His idea of greeting people who come to his kingdom by sea is to have his giant mechanical guardian (Talos) chuck a giant boulder that says "Welcome to Crete" and sink the ship. He also loves the sound of screaming participants as he feeds them to the Minotaur.
  • The Cameo:
    • In "Hercules and the Bacchanal", Ursula can be seen at the convention Phil goes to.
    • Sebastian and one of Ursula's eels appears in the Atlantis episode.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • With the Trope Namer being a main character, this is a given.
    Cassandra: I joke and they listen. But if I foresee a shower of boiling lead, no-one even puts on an umbrella.
    • Averted at times, however. In "Hercules and the Big Lie", Icarus not only believes her vision that he will Find the Cure, but also he asks her to give him directions.
  • Claustrophobia: The minotaur apparently is claustrophobic; he says that he "hate[s] labyrinths" and gets all sweaty while he's in his own.
  • Clip Show: "Hercules and the Yearbook" and "Hercules and the Big Show".
  • Closer Than They Appear: In "Hercules and the Gorgon", Hercules's shield says, "Objects are closer then they appear".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Icarus. Maybe all that exposure to the Sun fried his brains somewhat (and that's putting it mildly)?
  • The Cowl: Theseus faces the Minotaur as the "Grim Avenger", complete with costume, faux-Batman voice, secret hideout, and constantly referring to himself in the third person. (In the movie, Theseus was stated to be one of Phil's long-gone pupils.)
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Hephaestus whenever Hades starts hitting on his fiance Aphrodite. After the first beating Hades learned to book quickly whenever he shows up again.
    • Icarus hates it when any other guy starts looking at Cassandra.
  • Crossover: With the earlier Disney series Aladdin: The Series. It contained an example of Let's You and Him Fight.
  • Crossover Cosmology:
    • Hercules encounters Egyptian and Norse gods. The Olympian gods also become Roman godsnote , they even like their new Roman names (except Hades, see Shout-Out). The Fates also moonlight as the Norns.
    • It's also possible for a dead Arab genie to go to the Greek underworld. (Then again, it being possible for genies to die at all is a deviation from mythology.)
  • Cutting the Knot: "Hercules and the Kids" shows how Alexander the Great got the idea to cut the Gordian Knot. As a kid he had trouble keeping his sandals tied and Hercules tries to teach him how. When his schoolmates are wrapped in silk by a giant spider, he tries to untie them but eventually gives up and just cuts them loose. The final scene reveals that as an adult he wears velcro sandals.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Electra. Yeah, she produces furies from her rage, but she's not using them to attack anyone, it's just a natural consequence.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Cassandra hardly said anything that wasn't droll and sarcastic.
    • Hades as well, once again.
    • Adonis, Aphrodite, and Medusa all have their moments.
  • Description Cut: In "Hercules and the Parents Weekend", a monster captured some of the parents. Adonis' Dad said he was probably taking "swift and decisive" action. Cut to the next scene showing Adonis decided to have himself crowned the next King of Thrace.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The Fates (and likely everyone else) in "Hercules and the Big Sink".
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • At the end of the episode where Herc and Meg met and get their minds wiped of the encounter, one of the Muses complains about the unsatisfactory nature of the ending. The Narrator tries to explain they don't have enough time to tell the rest of their story together, but the Muse insists. So the narrator pulls down an image of an adult Hercules and begins to recap the movie, only for the Muse to be entranced by the muscular adult Hercules, causing the narrator to end the episode in a huff.
    • Mr Pygmalion is so enamoured by his wife's beauty that he doesn't care that she's an mentally unbalanced shape changing clay monster. Even when she wraps him in her tentacles and carries him off.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Icarus in "Hercules and the Gorgon". When Hercules gets upset that Medusa is a Gorgon and calls her a "freak", Icarus calls him out.
    Icarus: Well, well, the hero's too good to have a freak for a friend. What you gonna do? Get rid of her, stick her head in a purse? What are you gonna do then? Get rid of all the freaks? Freaks who flew too close to the sun?!
  • Dungeon Bypass: In "Hercules and the Labyrinth", Herc breaks through the walls of the Labyrinth to get to Icarus inside. He's about to go out the same way when Icarus shows him the secret passages his dad Daedalus had installed for just such an occasion.
  • Enemy Mine: When Athena and Ares see both Athenians and Spartans are going to be eaten, they work together during the "War Games".
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Hercules and most of his classmates are all noted figures in Greek Mythology.
  • Exact Words: When a monster is attacking the school:
    Adonis: There will be no feasting on flesh today. Instead, you shall taste my blade.
    (hands his sword to a lackey)
    Adonis: Here. Make him taste my blade.
  • Expy:
    • Prometheus is (at least in appearance) clearly based on Hulk Hogan.
    • The Eagle who torments him is channeling Dustin Hoffman.
  • Fertile Feet: Aphrodite when she makes her entrance, complete with theme song.
  • Fiction 500: Adonis of Thebes carries around a checkbook to buy off nearly any schmuck to do his bidding. Croesus, richest man in the Greek World and owner of Atlantis, was one before his city sank to the point he could buy off Poseidon and Hades' services despite both being Olympian Gods, in addition the Fates.
  • Find the Cure: Icarus sets off to do this in "Hercules and the Big Lie", after he hears that Herc has Catastrophia.
  • Fountain of Youth: In "Hercules and the Spring of Canathus", Pain and Panic take water from the eponymous spring that reverses age and squirt Hercules, Pegasus, Icarus and Adonis with it, turning them into babies. Pain accidentally gets some water on himself and changes as well.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Played for Laughs when Circe hypnotizes Bob the Narrator to stop him from pointing out how evil and manipulative she is and switch it so that he's complimenting her.
    Bob: Mysterious, dangerous, cunning, evil (Circe points her scepter at him) gorgeous, lovely, beautiful!
    Thalia: Uhh, Bobby? You okay? I've never seen you like this now! Of course, I've never seen you at all...
  • Friend to All Living Things: Played for Laughs with Artemis who just can't catch a break from animals' affections.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The People's Order of Titan Liberators or P.O.O.T.L's (pronounced "poodles") from "Hercules and the Hostage Crisis".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • One episode has a Noodle Incident of which it's said, "She lost her left buttock."
    • In "Hercules and the Big Lie", when Icarus is searching for the flower that can cure the disease Catastrophia, he utters the phrase "pluck and run."
    • In "Hercules and the Underworld Takeover", Athena and Ares are having one of their characteristic arguments, and Athena dismisses Ares, saying, "oh, go polish your spear." Younger viewers are unlikely to think anything of it, as it makes logical sense with Ares being the god of War, but since Athena hates Ares and means it as an insult, an unfriendly double entendre is apparent.
    • "Hercules and the Drama Festival" has Icarus mess up a line as Hades with "Ladies and gentlemen, dwellers of the nether regions.".
    • In "Hercules and the Visit from Zeus," Hermes off-handedly mentions that "Hepheastus is after Athena again" with a bouquet assumedly Hepheastus wants delivered to Athena. Now attentive viewers would note that in previous episodes, Aphrodite mentioned she was engaged to Hepheastus...
      • It should also be noted that at least one myth has shown that Hephaestus has attempted to rape Athena. With that in mind, this joke becomes a little less funny...
  • Godly Sidestep: At the end of one episode, Zeus is about to give the meaning of life on a chat show. However, they run out of airtime just before he states it.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In "Hercules and the Dream Date" (essentially a retelling of the Pygmalion myth), Herc asks Aphrodite to make Galatea "crazy about [him]." She quickly turns into an ultra-possessive nightmare.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Cassandra is cynical and rude sometimes, but she's at most a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Medusa. She's green with snakes for hair, but is adorable once you get past that. Hercules even dated her once.
  • Grand Finale: "Hercules and the Yearbook", a clip show that takes place after Hercules and Megara got married sometime after the end of the movie.
  • Happily Adopted: Emphasized; it's Herc's mortal parents who show up at school for a Parents' Day thing.
  • Hate Sink: Frequently Adonis as the real villains tend to be too funny to hate.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: What Cassandra says about Icarus.
  • Hero Insurance: There's a lot of property damage involved in battles, but it's always rebuilt. Deconstructed in "Hercules and the Falling Stars", when Hercules and Orion demolish so many buildings fighting constellations even the jaded townspeople find it out of line.
    Phil: You trashed four city-states in three hours. You think that's heroic?
  • He Will Come for Me: The kidnapped Icarus and Abu tell Hades and Jafar that Herc and Aladdin will come to save them. Unfortunately, their respective heroes attempting a rescue was what the villains had in mind.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Herc becomes more and more anti-heroic as he deals with the Minotaur, to the point where he seemingly plans to kill the creature. Theseus talks him down from the edge, saying that, "Neither of us wants to be like him."
  • High School A.U.: Although the series is in the same universe (ostensibly) as the original movie, it is a High School AU of Classical Mythology in general.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the Circe episode, Adonis mocks Icarus for having only lasted as Circe's boyfriend five minutes, despite the fact that he only lasted three seconds.
  • Icarus Allusion: Icarus himself appears. Naturally, he has a permanent tan and lightning bolt-shaped hair (except when he, Herc and Adonis are drafted to the Spartan Army; Icarus gets a crewcut and starts going gung-ho).
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Medusa uses a variation.
    Medusa: Listen, if I wanted you stone, you'd be stone, okay?
  • Ignored Aesop: While Hercules learned to care about more than outer beauty with Galatea, Mr Pygmalion clearly hasn't when it comes to his gorgeous clay monster wife.
    Mr Pygmalion: The wife's as loony as they come! But look at her! Look at me! Ya see ME complaining?
    • Aphrodite hangs a lampshade on this, telling Hercules that not everyone gets the lesson.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In "Hercules and the Green-Eyed Monster", when Hercules was asked to put some sense into Icarus, he said he was "a demigod, not a miracle worker".
  • In the Style of...: "Hercules and the Golden Touch" is a James Bond spoof.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Trivia. "Actually, it's 'try-VEE-ah'." Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that 'tri' means three, and 'via' means street or way. Trivia is mentioned as also being the god of where three streets meet.
  • It's All My Fault: "Hercules and the Big Lie." To get out of an embarrassing situation at a comics convention, he tells Icarus that he has Catastrophia, a (seemingly) serious disease that Hades is trying to spread. Icarus puts himself in danger to Find the Cure and Herc blames himself for getting him into this mess. Played with when he adds to Cassandra that it's also partly her fault for urging him to lie to get out of it.
  • Jerkass: Adonis. He can't qualify as a Jerk Jock if he's too lazy to play sports. Some episodes portray him as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, though not much.
  • Jerk Ass Gods: Averted for the most part, with this being Disney. The worst traits of the gods are either played down or written out all together. The closest would be Nemesis, Ares and Hades. Nemesis is only doing her job (if with a bit too much enthusiasm). Ares is close to being a Jerk Jock, but too ineffectual and not mean enough. Hades is about the only one and his smooth persona covers up much of his jerkiness.
  • Kavorka Man: A Running Gag has girls fawning over Ajax despite his appearance and terrible hygiene.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • In "Hercules and the Prince of Thrace", Adonis gets this courtesy of Gaia's Vengeance. Gaia herself curses Adonis with death for disturbing her slumber. Given how he forced his workers to dig despite the warning, how he treats his servants, and how he bullies Hercules, who's to say he didn't deserve this fate?
    • Adonis is on the receiving end of this again by Circe turning him into a Peacock.
  • Large Ham: Hades. Also Icarus when getting into character as Hades for the Drama Festival.
  • Lawful Stupid: The Obstructive Bureaucrat who almost forbids Hercules from fighting the Catoblepas because he doesn't have a license. "Deadly chaos is no excuse for breaking the law!" Fortunately he both issues a training license, which lets him fight until 5:00 (which is in 6 minutes) and has the courtesy to get incapacitated by the Catoblepas before that time limit becomes relevant.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Several episodes used the water of the Lethe river, which causes memory loss, as a plot device. One such episode even involved Hercules meeting a younger Megara, with the episode ending on them losing their memories of each other.
  • Lemony Narrator: Bob, who often interacts with the Muses in the episode openings.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Briares, the hundred-handed giant, challenges Hercules to a game for the cure to Catastrophia in "Hercules and the Big Lie". When Pain and Panic try to crush Hercules' hands while he's hanging off a cliff, Briares intervenes and has two of his hands toss them away.
    Briares: Hey! I play hard, but I play fair!
  • Let's You and Him Fight: During the "Grim Avenger" episode, Hercules winds up fighting Theseus, even though they're both heroes who should be united against the Minotaur. Herc later refers to "[getting] in a fight with a wrong guy" as a "rookie mistake".
  • Loser Friend Puzzles Outsiders: In the crossover with Aladdin: The Series, Jafar comments, "This is Hercules' best friend?" upon meeting Icarus. Hercules is The Chosen One who will defeat Hades, and, in spite of his dorky nature, is a force to be reckoned with; Icarus, while he is a Gadgeteer Genius, is also a kooky Man Child.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Helen. A nice and friendly cheerleader.
  • Meaningful Echo: In "Hercules and the Grim Avenger", Theseus, as the titular superhero, tells Herc to "lead, follow, or get out of the way", before adding that he intends to lead, so that one is out. Later, Herc, angry and determined to track down the Minotaur, tells Theseus, "Lead, follow...just get out of my way." Theseus' expression indicates he wasn't expecting Hercules, who has been trying to rein him in the entire episode, to react this way.
  • Musical Exposition: The episode "Hercules and the Prometheus Affair" has a Prometeus Academy teacher telling Hercules the story of their namesake...by song.
  • Never Heard That One Before: During the Aladdin crossover, Al calls him "Jerkules" during their fight. "You know, everyone thinks they're being clever when they call me that..."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In a series where everyone is a teenager going through the learning process, this is pretty much inevitable.
  • No Indoor Voice: Icarus tends to speak in loud, energetic tones.
  • Not So Above It All: Athena, despite being the goddess of wisdom, can be pretty childish and immature in her continuous feud with her brother Ares. At times she's shown to be little better than he is, if at all.
  • Not So Different: Aladdin and Hercules realize that they're both heroes trying to protect their friends, although not before spending much of the episode fighting each other.
  • Oh Crap!:
  • Old Superhero: Achilles' death was retconned so that when his heel was hit he was instead crippled, and we see him as a weakened old man.
  • Opinion Flip Flop: In one episode, Hercules tells Zeus that he'll find some way to deal with Adonis' bullying himself. Zeus praises his son for his maturity...and immediately changes his mind when Adonis enters the area and opens his mouth.
  • Opponent Switch: Hades sends Jafar after Hercules, only for Jafar to admit he isn't used to dealing with Super Strength. Amused that Jafar's enemy is only a "clever mortal", Hades sends his minions after Aladdin.
    Jafar: Well, that was indeed worth a chuckle, but I couldn't help but notice that Aladdin IS STILL ALIVE!
    Hades: You win. The kid is trickier than I thought.
  • Parental Bonus: It's DISNEY.
    (Glass case next to Zeus's throne holding Thunderbolts): "In Case of Insurgency Break Glass" (also a Continuity Nod)
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Icarus was included to make and do zany things for laughs.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Hades' is further shown in the crossover with Aladdin. Here Hades doesn't take it personally when Aladdin first defeats Pain and Panic. Needless to say Jafar was shocked:
    Jafar: That's it? Aladdin humiliated you! Don't you want your revenge?
    Hades: How about I rule the cosmos first, and then I'll take it?
  • Psychoactive Powers: Electra summons the Furies when angry... usually when someone disagrees with her anti-establishment views.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: "Hercules and The Muse Of Dance" has Hercules learn ballet. He enjoys it, but he has to prove its usefulness in combat before Phil lets him dance in the recital.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Electra is very anti-establishment, but Zeus only knows exactly what that is or what her real issues with it are (she and the kids like her are a Take That at Goths). All we know is she's happy they get detention, hates heroes as "enforcers of the established order" and can command Furies to appear whenever she's mad, leading them to attack those who annoy her.
  • Relationship Sue: Played with in-universe; Hercules tried to make one out of clay. It failed; When it was time to ask Aphrodite to bring her to life, he hadn't even considered what her personality would be like, so he just asks for her to be crazy about him. Aphrodite, apparently favoring object lessons, interpreted this as a Clingy Jealous Girl. It doesn't take Galatea long before she invokes Ax-Crazy as well.
  • Riddling Sphinx: The Sphinx is a quizmaster, voiced by game show host Wink Martindale. His riddle was "What does a man do standing up, a woman sitting down, and a dog on three legs?" The answer is shake hands.note 
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Aside from the usual stuff, a number of gods that weren't in the movie make appearances some using their Roman names (Bacchus, who was Dionysus in Greece, and Cupid, who was Eros). In particular the god Trivia stands out, presented here as a god of useless knowledge, where Trivia was actually the Roman name for the goddess Hecate, who makes a separate appearance of her own in the series. The only thing they got right was that he was the god of where three roads meet, which is among Hecate's schticks. As for the issue of the title character's name, this got inverted when they managed to sneak in the name Herakles during one episode.
    • The Trojan War is implied to take place after The Odyssey (which chronicles Odysseus' return home following said war). Additionally, Achilles was not suggested to be a participant in the "war", which is instead a simple inter-school feud that gets blown out of proportion by a tabloid journalist, being already a washed-up has-been after the discovery of his weakness at some time in the past (in the original myth, said weakness again is discovered after the Trojan War).
    • While Adonis is attributed a variety of fathers depending on the story, none of them were from Thrace.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Adonis may be a jerk, but he's such a sissy, that he actually screams like a girl.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: "Hercules and the Big Sink" has Croesus, Greece's richest man, who's loaded enough to buy off several gods.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: In the crossover with Aladdin: The Series Phil begins flirting with Princess Jasmine. She cuts him off with a curt "I'm married", and he apologizes.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "Hercules and the Big Kiss" has Cassandra end up having to kiss Icarus awake. He was put into the magical sleep because of her efforts to avert a vision that showed her kissing him.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Although the series takes place during the time period when Hercules is training with Phil, Hades seems to be already aware of him and actively trying to kill him. In the movie, Hades doesn't learn that Hercules is still alive until shortly after Hercules finishes his training. Course you could say this is an Alternate Continuity. It was the Muses who were telling the story after all and they may have embellished a little to compress the story. Think of the series as the untold tales the movie couldn't cover.
    • Some of the Olympian gods who appeared as background characters in the movie look completely different in the series, notably Cupid/Eros, who goes from being a good-looking young man with large wings to a comically obese and diminutive middle-aged man with tiny wings.
  • Ship Tease: Bacchus kisses the muse Thalia on the cheek in "Hercules and the Bacchanal".
  • Shout-Out:
    • So, so many.
      Hades: They named me "PLUTO"?! What kind of a Mickey Mouse name is "Pluto"?! I wouldn't even name my dog "Pluto"!
    • In "Hercules and the Dream Date", Cassandra tells Herc "Come with me if you want to live."
    • The Grim Avenger episode is a reference to the Worlds Finest comic books with Theseus as The Cowl stand in for Batman and Hercules as The Cape stand in for Superman. The Minotaur plays the role of The Joker. Theseus even has a rich playboy civilian identity. The Norse Mythology episode is a reference to the fights in Marvel between Thor and Hercules. They were both written by Greg Weisman who's a big comic book fan.
    • Also from the Grim Avenger episode, Icarus asks, "Who was that helmeted man? "
  • Shown Their Work: The writers seemed incredibly keen on parodying and satirizing Greek mythology.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Athena and Ares are an infamous example in-universe.
  • Snark Knight: Cassandra never stops snarking, but she's still heroic when she needs to be.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Tragically, in Greek Mythology, Icarus, son of Daedalus, flew too close to the sun using artificial wings of wax and feathers, and fell to his death. It's mentioned that he did fly too close to the sun, thus the hairstyle and (purportedly) the general loopiness. (The opening had him "flaming out" and being caught by Herc and Pegasus.) He also says he "learned his lesson" and uses the wings for more lower-level gliding.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Lampshaded, Inverted and ultimately Defied in the episode "Hercules and the Girdle of Hippolyte". Herc and resident Amazon classmate Tempest get into an argument during a Home Economics class. Taking Phil's lead, Hercules insists that Tempest do all the work, on the grounds that she's a girl, so of course she has to do the housework. Tempest, being an Amazon, was raised to believe that men are the ones who should do all the housework. Later Herc actually meets Tempest's parents. When her father intervenes in her mother's overly militaristic handling of Tempest's mistakes her mother actually tells him to "Get back in the kitchen." He refuses and then delivers the episode's aesop.
  • Stealth Pun: In Hercules and the Poseidon's Cup Adventure, Adonis, trying to bribe Hercules to get him to row for his ship, gives him sandals imported from marathon "Designed by the goddess of victory herself". As in, designed by Nike.
  • Straw Feminist: The Amazons are essentially this. At times they're basically what you'd get if you took a bunch of sexist, old-fashioned barbarians and gender-flipped them. They're more demeaning, disrespectful and patronizing of their society's men than pretty much any guy in the show is towards women.
  • Super Doc: Hippocrates, the Greek World's First Doctor. He's so skilled that he managed to nullify any new entries into the Underworld and almost put it out of business while he was alive, and when he ended up in the Underworld he started curing dead people, bringing them back to life and depleting the Underworld population.
  • Superheroes Wear Tights: When Hercules learns how to dance, Cassandra sees the future and says that thanks to him, all heroes will wear tights.
  • Super Strength: Hercules has shown to be a very strong being, just like in the original myth and film. He can lift anvils as if they were nothing and wreck pillars with his bare hands.
  • Take My Hand: Icarus does this to Hercules after he falls into a river in "Hercules and the Gorgon". Herc can't grab his hand and goes over the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • Take That: The guidance counselor, Mr. Parenthesis, says that they use oxen guts to predict students' future careers. Hercules asks why they don't use an aptitude test, and Mr. Parenthesis says they tried that, and that the oxen guts were more accurate (by 72%!).
  • ˇThree Amigos!: Hercules, Cassandra and Icarus (Ego, Superego and Id, Big, Thin, Short Trio, Nice, Mean, and In-Between).
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Mr Pygmalion is a short, toothless old man, so Hercules is naturally amazed to see that 'Mrs' Pygmalion is a read haired stunner. Though its justified since she is actually a statue Aphrodite brought to life to be his loving wife.
  • Unmanly Secret: Or Unamazonly Secret as the case may be. Tempest has a crush on Orpheus the singer/bard, a crush she is deeply ashamed of and desperately hides.
  • Valley Girl: Aphrodite talks like this, but it's only her speech. She's actually one of the wisest and most level-headed deities, who consistently has good advice for people.
  • The Vamp: Circe manages to seduce the narrator in her Establishing Character Moment.
  • Villain Song:
    • Hades' "My Town".
    • Circe's "One Good Man" could be seen as one, too.
  • Weapon Jr.: One episode has Hercules training with a "junior javelin" despite wanting to use a real one. At the end, Athena offers him any weapon in existance to beat the villain with. Having learned his lesson he asks for the training weapon, wins and turns down the offer of an actual javelin from the woman he impressed.
  • Weird Sun: The sun is on a chariot driven by Apollo. It can also be put out as shown when Hercules put out its flames by dumping a fountain of water on it.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Hercules and the Golden Touch" plays as a James Bond film, complete with Sequel Hook. ("Hercules will return in From Sparta With Love.)
  • Young Future Famous People: The students of Prometheus Academy. "Hercules and the Kids" also features a young Alexander the Great in elementary school.

Alternative Title(s): Hercules The Animated Series

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/Hercules