Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995 – 1999)
Xena: Warrior Princess (1995 – 2001)
You can’t mention one of these series without mentioning the other out of respect. Both dealt with Grecian adventures of mythological proportions but had some super-cheesy fight scenes. The pure escapism of the worlds these shows created was also littered with lame practical effects (even by past standards) and even worse digital effects. This was all on top of reasonably ok costuming, and scripts filled with endearing hijinx acted out by surprisingly fleshed-out characters (once the shows found their stride).
While Kevin Sorbo’s more recent vocal political leanings may have damaged some of the value in his appeal for some – and Lucy Lawless was arrested once (that I know of), both undeniably remain respected as Titans (no pun intended) in this era of Nerd Shows based on Greek Mythology. And I don’t think the tendencies of either actor has ruined the potential for these characters to be reborn with new performers in the roles.
And hey, Xena was even more popular than Hercules’ show – let’s face it. The longer runtime of the show proves that well enough. She was a sex symbol to some. A strong feminist icon to others. A vanguard of being lesbian on television (in some scenes). And an all-around badass who fought literal gods without the boost of being the son of Zeus!
Imagine both of these shows updated with tighter storytelling and epic tales that sometimes crossed over in the same universe (if it ain’t broke – don’t fix that formula from the old show). This show technically did that format first. Eat your heart our Arrow-verse. Better fight scenes, a little blood, more grit, drama, historical context, and Grecian sex-appeal. Boom! If you thought other more recent shows in related categories were hits – just wait until you see this reboot!