Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 2

Hercules and the Lost Kingdom

Aired Monday 5:00 PM May 02, 1994 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
35 votes

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Episode Summary

Hercules and the Lost Kingdom

Hercules is pursued by his deadly, implacable enemy, his stepmother Hera, who uses many supernatural disguises to try and destroy Hercules as he searches for the lost city of Troy. She lays in wait as Hercules undertakes his epic quest. His only ally isthe youthfulDeianeira, a beautiful but stubborn young woman whose secret destiny might even outstrip that of Hercules himself.


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  • Hercules finds himself paired with headstrong young Deianeira (a pre-Gabrielle Renée O'Connor) - who is being stalked by an evil Blue Monk - on a quest to find the Lost Kingdom of Troy, in this epic and highly enjoyable adventure...moreless

    This review contains moderate plot spoilers. The first 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' TV movie, 'Hercules and the Amazon Women', was good (if not quite perfect), but with this second one, things really start to hit their stride, and as a result it is one of my personal favourites of the entire series. It is easily my favourite of the original five TV movies.

    By this second story, Kevin Sorbo already seems at home in the role. While, with due respect, it isn't Shakespeare, he does what the part requires, and is likable in the role. After his noticeably different top in the first movie, Hercules here wears a version of his more familiar yellow top. He seems to wear his brown version underneath this time, but to the more casual viewer it can easily be mistaken for his regular top.

    But the undoubted star of the piece is a young Renée O'Connor as Deianeira. In many ways Deianeira is the opposite of Gabrielle, yet at the same time has many similarities. The clothes that she wears for much of the movie are extremely similar to the peasant girl clothes she wore for the first few episodes as Gabrielle. I am a Renée O'Connor fan as it is, and she really brings this adventure to life – but it has excellent things going for it even beyond that.

    Also of note is a beardless Robert Trebor as Waylin the grovelling slave. Apparently, the character was intended to continue on as a semi-regular into the series, but the producers that he runs his course over this story, and created the ever-money-scheming Salmoneous for Trebor in the series instead.

    The story starts off with three messengers running to ask for Hercules' help. The first one, meeting his fate by being drowned by a CGI water nymph, is impressive considering the budget and the limitations of the time. After a second messenger has also met his doom, things take off with Hercules having to deal with a pesky giant. Come to think of it, all of the original TV movies seem to start off with Herc having to deal with a monster of some sort; presumably to remind viewers of just how strong Herc is. Either way, it's quite well shot, with the memorable sequence (which would be used on the opening credits of the series) of Hercules grabbing the giant's massive club and hitting him with it.

    Before long, Hercules is off on the path to the Lost Kingdom, and has not long set off before he winds up saving plucky young Deianeira, who is being offered as a sacrifice to the Gods (and is willingly going along with it, believing "it is (her) destiny"). Unbeknown to Herc at first, Deianeira is being stalked by a villainous Blue Monk, whom Deianeira assumes is also to do with her destiny, claiming he is "her protector".

    In the first TV movie, the undeniable message was sexual equality. In this one, the message, as uttered by Hercules several times, is that "sacrifices don't work"! There is a nice running theme of how Hercules has little times for the Gods and their ways – something that would reoccur quite often in the series proper as well. O'Connor as the chatty, strong-willed Deianeira, and Sorbo as the down-to-earth Hercules have a great rapport with each other, and is one of the things that make this TV movie so enjoyable in my opinion. In particular, the banter as they try to make their way into the town and see Queen Omphale (who has a mystical compass needed to aid them on their quest) is great.

    Another familiar face to spot – Queen Omphale is played by Elizabeth Hawthorne, who would go on to play Hercules's mother, Alcheme, in the regular series.

    Even at this early stage the producers seem to have picked up on O'Connor's potential, as while Herc is 'busy' with the Queen, they give Deianeira her own sub-plot, including standing up to a goon who is running an early protection racket and making life miserable at the slaves' drinking hole.

    As the trail to the Lost Kingdom continues, Hercules and Deianeira venture on from the town, only for the Blue Monk who is stalking Deianeira to summon up a giant sea serpent that promptly gobbles them up and dives back down to the depths! This is one of my absolutely favourite sequences of the entire Legendary Journeys series. Yes the inside is a bit cheap and campy looking, but its tongue in cheek and knows it, and I just love it. As I said in my previous review for 'Hercules and the Amazon Women', in later episodes I missed monsters such as this appearing regularly, being replaced with more word-y or overly 'wacky' comical tales.

    After they are washed up on the shore and finally the Lost Kingdom is in sight, the last 3/4 or so of the adventure is taken up by Hercules training the refugees banished from Troy, to fight, and leading them into battle. Deianeira shows romantic (and probably misguided) advances towards Hercules, which he turns down.

    Eventually we get to the climatic fight – while liberated slave Waylin leads the refugees into attack against the blue soldiers holding Troy siege, who just collapse away when they are struck, Hercules must save Deianeira from being sacrificed by the Blue Monk, who is beheaded in the battle, but that doesn't stop him!! Eventually, Troy is free, and Deianeira is crowned its Queen. Hera, infuriated, sucks Hercules up into the heavens.

    And I love the final scene, as Hercules comes tumbling back down from the sky towards earth, an elderly peasant coming to him for help, and the pair walking off on a new adventure.

    There is some confusion as to the Deianeira character. At the end of the movie, she is crowned Queen of Troy, and with Hercules being sucked up by Hera, the pair are forced to part ways. In the next movie, 'Hercules and the Circle of Fire', Hercules meets another woman called Deianeira, there played by Tawny Kitaen. Although she is presented as a different character to the one in this movie, some sources state that it is an older version of the Deianeira character seen here.

    As I say, Sorbo and O'Connor really bounce off of each other, and it's a shame that we never saw them paired like this again. (At very least, I always wished for an episode where Xena was 'busy' and Gabrielle ended being paired with Hercules).

    For some reason, when the TV movies were released on VHS here in the UK, this movie was released before the first movie, 'Hercules and the Amazon Women'. Actually, I think it works better as an introductory movie, as while the first one was good, I find this one far superior.

    All-in-all, I absolutely love this movie. It has a real epic feel, a really long journey and a great adventure; not only my favourite of the original five TV movies, but on of my absolute favourites of the entire 'Legendary Journeys' series. Although some stories are the sort that I'll watch once, or very irregularly at most, I find myself watching this one over and over. (Renée O'Connor is an added bonus to an already excellent adventure!). In my humble opinion, classic.moreless
  • An awesome tale about Herc and a young traveling companion who finds her destiny in Troy.

    The second of the five establishing Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Movies was "Hercules and the Lost Kingdom" most notable for introducing Renee O'Connor (in a role not too different from the one she had on Xena). Renee is not the only actor to get there feet wet for the first time in the Hercules Universe here. Robert Trebor (Salmoneus) appears as Waylin the slave and is really really funny to watch. Also, Elizabeth Hawthorne (later Hercules Mother) plays a "lover" of Hercules here, Queen Omphale. Most brilliantly, Nathaniel Lees (the Blue Priest in the film) is a favorite HercXenaVerse cast member of mine. Most notable and regularly (in my mind) he is Chiron the Centaur in the Young Hercules series. Just like Amazon Women, we have Hera start with sending a random monster at Hercules (this time a Giant) and then follow up with the village messenger seeking Herc's help. Though the formula starts out in much the same form as "Amazon Women" this story is much much stronger. There's a lot more of Hercules we know and love from the series here. The journey to the village-in-need (which happens to be the legendary city of Troy) is no small task. It's hidden by mist and only those who have been there know the way. Luckily Zeus tells Hercules where he can fun a compass that will help him bi-pass this little rule. Along the way he rescues a young girl named Deianeira (Renee's character) who's about to make herself a sacrifice to the Gods. She isn't too happy that the glory of being a sacrifice is taken away from her, but figures there must be a greater plan in the works that is found in Hercules' footsteps. So she latches onto him and follows him off to Troy where she discovers her true destiny.

    The first noticeable difference between this and Amazon is the fact that the luster is fading off the Zeus/Hercules relationship. While Zeus is once again around a lot it's only too tell his son to leave Hera alone and let her have what she wants (of course, one thing she actively wants is the death of her step-... well is he really her step-son?) Given the givens, it's no wonder Hercules has the attitudes he does about the immortals. To the people he encounters throughout the film's journey Hercules says again and again "sacrafices don't work" (Sacrafices to the Gods that is). He clearly wants people to understand that the only help and hope for mankind is found within mankind. This becomes a very strong backbone of both the Hercules and Xena series.

    The shinning star of this film IS Renee O'Connor as Deianeira. Apparently there's a question as to if this is the Deianeira Hercules eventually marries and has three children with or a completely different character with the same name. I hope it's the same just because, weird as it is (Gabby and Xena subtext obsessed person that I am). And this is coming from the girl who cringes at all Sorbo/Lawless romantic scenes (they just don't feel right). Deianeira made a beautiful impression on and I believed in her love for Hercules. What I like most about the romantic angle that develops between Deianeira and Hercules is the fact that you (at least I) don't really see it coming. Deianeira doesn't have any fan girl glow around her upon meeting Hercules (which is completely opposite to when Gabrielle met Xena) and is a thorn in his side for the first bit of the piece (which is kind of like when Gabby hooked up with Xena in Season 1). At first you think she's just going to play annoying tag-along sidekick and all sense of destiny she has in her mind is the pure wishful thinking of a orphaned and unwanted child. This turns out to be very wrong and by the time we reach Troy (and Hercules and the girl have survived swallowing by serpent and become friends) we see an unbelievable change in the girl and the relationship between the traveling companions. Sorbo and Renee are so great together I almost wish more was done with Gabrielle and Hercules as companions on the road during the run of the two series. Renee is BRILLIANT at character evolution and despite her being very young at the time, pulls off having Deianeira go from a girl of wishful fantasy to the leader of the Troy sucessfully. Think of her going from Season 1 Gabby to Season 4 Gabby convincingly in the space of an hour and a half. She also managed to portray not a girl's crush on Hercules, but a woman's love for a man grown out of the pure bond developed on the journey the undertook together. I was very convinced Hercules loved her and was afraid of what that meant, so afraid that he didn't know how to deal with it. Especially considering the girl was his junior by no small margin.

    This movie is just a cut above Amazon women in action, tone, romance, character development, and everything that makes movies fun to watch. Not only that, it feels more like the series than it's predecessor did. This is, without a doubt, my favorite of the five films (Amazon Women being a close second). :)moreless
Renee O'Connor

Renee O'Connor

Young Deianeira

Guest Star

Robert Trebor

Robert Trebor


Guest Star

Nathaniel Lees

Nathaniel Lees

The Blue Priest

Guest Star

Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Young Deianeira: Excuse me, Eunuch! I just gave you a message to give to Hercules!
      Waylan: Hercules is unavailable for the foreseeable future. And I'm not a eunuch. I'm a slave.
      Young Deianeira: What's the difference?
      Waylan: Ha! Uh... I'll tell ya when you grow up.

    • Young Deianeira: (explaining why she allowed herself to be a human sacrifice) So, of course, it was only natural I'd give my life over to public service. See, my father was this really handsome king who loved me, more than anything in the world. But then, when his kingdom was threatened, he sent me away for my own good. I think he made quite a sacrifice, don't you?
      Hercules: That's a well-known fairy tale, Deianeira. My mother used to tell it to me. Who told it to you?
      Young Deianeira: I told it to myself, all right? You don't think orphans need fairy tales, too?

    • Young Deianeira: (as Hercules prevents her from being sacrificed) What are you doing?! Go away! You're interrupting a religious ceremony.
      Hercules: Yeah, well, if you're sacrificing yourself to the Water God, he's not home. You're wasting your time. (catching her as she falls) See? What'd I tell you? That was close, you almost fell.
      Young Deianeira: I was supposed to fall, you idiot! Didn't you ever see a sacrifice? A maiden, at the height of her fertility, is the only thing that can save the crops!
      Hercules: (skeptically looking at the young woman) So, you're a maiden at the height of her fertility?

  • NOTES (2)


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