August 31, 1998 – The Disney Channel Original Series Hercules: The Animated Series Premieres in Syndication
“Now the boy’s in school, he’s in training.”
On August 31, 1998, the Disney Channel Original Series Hercules: The Animated Series premiered with its first episode, “Hercules and the Apollo Mission.” The series was based on the 1997 film Hercules, and tells the story of a teenaged Hercules attending school. Most of the cast members from the original film reprised their roles in the series, with new characters Cassandra (Sandra Bernhard) and Icarus (French Stewart) playing the parts of Hercules’ school friends. Tate Donovan voiced Hercules, James Woods voiced Hades, and Robert Costanzo voiced Philoctetes. The show’s timeline makes it a midquel, with the events neither preceding nor following the timeline of the film. However, as many of the events of the series contradict events from the film, the show is not considered canon. It aired for 65 episodes, and finished its run on March 1, 1999.
The first episode, “Hercules and the Apollo Mission,” finds Hercules and his friends participating in an intern week at their school. Hercules is the only student not happy with his job, as he has to work at a fast food restaurant. He asks his father, Zeus, for help getting a better job, and Zeus grants him the job of driving Apollo’s chariot across the sky. Unfortunately, Pain and Panic are on hand to carry out Hades’ scheme to bring down Hercules, which includes unchaining the sun from the chariot. Hercules and Icarus must work together to bring the sun back into the sky before Hades is crowned the new king of Olympus.