Advertised as telling the tale of "The Man Behind the Myth," the expensive-looking but economically produced NBC miniseries Hercules stars Paul Telfer as the musclebound protagonist. The issue of a romantic fling between Alcmene (Elizabeth Perkins), the Princess of Thebes, and God of the Underworld Zeus, Hercules is banished by his mother and scorned by his envious half brother Iphicles (Luke Ford). In fact, for a while it seems as though poor Herc has nothing but enemies. In addition to his own mother and brother, our hero is hated by Zeus' wife, Hera -- so much so that a war breaks out between the two gods -- and by covetous Grecian monarchs Eurystheus (Kristian Schmid) and Anateus (Tyler Mane). Worse still, Hercules has managed to get on the bad side of the Delphic Oracle Tiresias (Kim Coates) by killing that worthy's three sons. As a means to destroy Hercules and prevent him from taking his rightful place beside the throne of Zeus, all manner of deadly tasks and challenges are thrown at the poor guy, enabling the producers to trot out innumerable CGI battle sequences. Fortunately, Hercules can rely upon the help and support of Alcmene's husband, Amphytron (Timothy Dalton), not to mention Herc's sidekick, the troubadour Linus (Sean Astin, going through his familiar Lord of the Rings paces in a different setting!); his sweetheart, the statuesque Goddess of Nature Deianeira (Leelee Sobieski); and, at least for a little while, Herc's wife, the Priestess Megara (Leeanna Walsman). By the time Hercules made it to the small screen, it had been pared down from a multipart miniseries to a single, 150-minute feature film, leaving several plot points unresolved and removing a number of key characters -- including the all-important Zeus and Hera, who never appear! Evidently NBC didn't have much faith in this Hallmark production, as witness the network's decision to telecast the film on May 16, 2005, directly opposite the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond.
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