hera burns herc's family with a fireball,hercules starts a war against hera until he realizes that his purpose to life was diferrent so he starts by helping one man who had asked his help before about a monster called she demon
a good start.I always thought that the way was killed herc's familly wasnt very clever and the excuse of zeus absence wasnt good but for an unknown reason antony quin couldnt be at the series.This episode takes points from the very good acting of sorbo and the drama that makes you feel more keen on with the characters and the story.The story with the she demon is interesting like a typical adventure of hercules.I find the start quiet usless but the show was concetrating to attract mainly kids,so they put it,i think that this was a big mistake to the show,if they cared more about the quality,this could be one of the greatest shows not only for me.This episode was one of the very good episodes of the show cause it had a lot drama adventure and it is how it begins the journey.Great episode
The regular adventures of Hercules begins with "The Wrong Path". Hercules' family is killed in the first scene in a slight alteration from the myth (where Hercules is driven mad and murders them himself). Angry at the world's cruelty (in the form of Hera) he begins to attack her temples. He also forgoes helping a troubled villager who calls on him for help. Iolaus, sympathetic to Herc's loss, takes on the job of ridding the village of it's Demon Woman (who sort of has Medusa like powers, a serpent's tail that turns men to stone). Iolaus fails in his mission and "dies again" when he's turned to stone. (Mind you, at this point Micheal Hurst has played a lot of "deaths" already, first as Iolaus in the first movie, again as a random villager in the "Underworld" movie, and now again as Iolaus in the first episode of the regular series). Meanwhile, Herc rescues a lady-sacrifice (his 'girl of the week' Aegina) while destroying one of Hera's temples. The girl, again, reminds me of Deianeira (1) played by Renee O'Connor in "Lost Kingdom". Aegina is spunky, fun, but in no way made out to be a romantic girl of the week (as Hercules has just lost the family and all). In a grand coincidence, the girl's home village is the same one suffering from the Serpent Woman and Hercules' accompanies her there only to find out his friend is "dead". Of course Herc takes on the beast and wins and Iolaus returns to the land of the living with a message from Deianeira and the kids, who want Hercules to continue on the hero's path and help the world... hence begins the story of the wandering Hero Herc.
If you've seen the films and how much Zeus loves his boy, you immediately wonder why he's absent for such a tragedy, but a quick trip to Mommy Alcmene clears that up. Hercules visits his mother (played by a different actress from the films) and his shame over allowing this to happen is the explanation for dad's sudden absence in Hercules' life. There are few problems with the episode, Hercules' tragedy is a quick shock for obvious reasons (namely, they have about 45 minutes to kill his wife and kids, have him rampage about it, and get him to move on from it). In my opinion, I think they should have done a two episode arc to properly deal with Herc's pain after his wife's death. It just feels like he moves on from the pain of it all too quickly and easily seeing as they were trying to present him as blind to anything but revenge for the first half of the episode. But hey, the show is pretty lighthearted from this point on as the show hadn't quite hit it's serious "drama" side and in the long-term of the series I prefered the light-hearted early simple "hero's mission" episodes.
All in all, it works okay enough. It sets up everything needed to start the series.. the incident that made Hercules a wanderer, the primary villain of the piece, the hero's best friend (sidekick) who's courageous and loyal, and an excuse for Zeus to be absent for awhile.
When Hercules' family is wiped out in one foul swoop, he sets swearing vengeance against Hera, while Iolaus is left to deal with a half-woman, half-snake demon that turns her victims to stone, in this uneven but enjoyable first regular episode...
The Hercules television movies had proven so popular that a full series was soon commissioned.
One of the main hurdles of this episode is to make the transition from the five movies into a regular series. After opening with a well choreographed but rather regular bar fight, Hercules returns home for Deianeira and his children to be suddenly wiped out by a fireball from Hera. This seems very sudden and abrupt.
It is a real shame that Tawny Kitaen doesn't appear as Deianeira in this episode, to make her sudden death more realistic and hard hitting – the woman in her bed is clearly not her (just a double with a wig) and we only see her briefly in a flashback montage. Kitaen makes a couple of return appearances as Deianeira in future episodes, so I don't know why they didn't use her in this one.
In myth, Hera drove Hercules mad and it was he who killed his family. This would have made a great story, but although the series might have delicately trod into this sort of territory later on, it was far too dark for the first episode of the series. It is a shame that they didn't make a 'in-between' movie, transitioning from the first five movies to the series, and telling this story, in a dark vein similar to 'Hercules in the Underworld'.
Also with move to a regular series, there is no Anthony Quinn as Zeus. Quinn's scenes with Kevin Sorbo were one of the highlights of the five TV movies, and it is a real shame that he couldn't be convinced to appear in the series, even if it was on a small, semi-regular basis. The sudden disappearance of Zeus after such a constant presence in the movies is another thing that makes this transition episode a bit bumpy. Zeus would finally appear much later in the series, but played by a different actor, and severely lacking Quinn's presence.
As it is, we get this watchable but slightly disjointed and uneven series of events. For all of the unevenness and sudden, disjointed events, it is still a great adventure, and gets the series off to a good start.
With Hercules swearing vengeance on Hera, it is left to Iolaus to try and defeat a half woman, half snake she-demon that is luring men from a nearby village towards her and turning them to stone with her tail.
Iolaus, by the way, seems to have suddenly lost his family too, but is not played upon here or any episode to any real extent. This episode showcases how Iolaus is a hero in his own right, but – with him being turned to stone – also shows that he works better as a team with Hercules.
The outline for this episode is much as it would be for the bulk of the series – action packed and sometimes mildly scary, but definitely tongue in cheek, and slightly camp at times, but not over-the-top. It also has some good effects for a quite moderate television series budget, particularly one in its experimental first season.
Of course, after Hercules has unwittingly saved a feisty damsel in distress from one of Hera's temples, he eventually becomes convinced to spend his life coming to people's aid, and deals with the snake-woman himself. The battle of wits in the snake-woman's cave is well shot and has some very reasonably effects.
[Very mild spoiler] Of course, after Hercules has tricked the snake-woman, all of her victims – including Iolaus – are suddenly, miraculously turned back from stone to their living selves. No explanation of why this happens is really given, but the episode doesn't really need it (and it allows for a nice moment of Iolaus telling Hercules that he said Deianeira and the children in the Underworld). [End of mild spoiler]
The ending of this episode is a bit strange, as it really plays out like Hercules and Iolaus are parting ways. Of course, it's quite the opposite – but watching this episode for the first time, you'd be forgiven for thinking it is the last time we shall see them together!
All-in-all, this first episode his noticeably uneven in places, but beyond that acts as a very good starter to the regular television series, and leaves you wanting to see the next episode.
Having already established the Hercules universe in the TV movies, little time is wasted on backstory, and we get right into the action on this one, which is good. I like Hercules and Iolaus' entrance into the tavern at the beginning, cheesy as it is.
What I don't like is the scene that follows. I mean, I do realise that with this being a family-friendly show, it can't keep to the original myth here (which is that Hera struck Hercules with madness and he slaughtered his family himself) but the fireball was a bit of an easy way out. Plus I agree with my co-reviewer, the so-called "grieving" scene was absolutely hideous, one of the worst I've seen in the series. Not all blame can be put on the actors, however; it was badly written. The dialogue is terrible!
It goes uphill from there, thankfully (where else could it go?), with Hercules going on his quest for vengeance and Iolaus going to do the right thing in his place... which gets him killed. Again. So Hercules has to abandon his desire for revenge to save Iolaus (and a bunch of other people) by doing the right thing after all, and he finds redemption. I liked that arc, that was well done.