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.