I knew going into this DVD box set that Anchor Bay would make the small detail of me never watching a show of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 6 irrelevant. In fact, I had never even seen a show in the series. I admit, I was pretty daunted by this 5 disc box set. Then I realized something odd, there are only 8 episodes that make up this final season. So that must mean that the rest of DVDs space is filled with extras. It was these extras that I used to orient to myself within the story. Once I got down the idea of who Hercules was, his faithful sidekick Ioalus, etc... everything else seemed to fall into place as best as it could for somebody as uninitiated to the show as I was.
This box set is really a fans favorite, though if you want to get into the show, you could certainly start with Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 6 and then work your way backwards. After watching these episodes it is understandable why this show ran for 6 seasons. Kevin Sorbo is perfect in this role. I don’t know what else he has been in, nor do I think I have ever seen him in anything else but he really embodies this character with brawn AND brains. While I know that my take on this show is a bit general and most likely generic, I think it says something that while I may not normally “go for” this material, I was able to “get into it” simple because of the acting.
Audio Commentaries and Interviews with Cast and Crew
Spread out through out the DVDs and featuring tracks with Kevin Sorbo, Michael Hurst, Paul Robert Coyle and others. I have to admit that I found the commentary track with Mr. Coyle to be the most informative. Listening to this man discuss the show, the characters and everything else is infectious. I don’t know what it is, maybe it is his tone, the way he seems to effortlessly understand all this stuff. I don’t know, I just found his track to be the most enjoyable and he explains why there are only 8 episodes in the final season. The “Interviews with the cast and crew” were done in such a way that they spoke to certain episodes that made up this final season. Rather then just take a straight documentary approach, it was refreshing to see the actors, writers and others talk about something a bit more specific than what we usually see.
”Bringing Monsters to Life” Featurette and Photo Gallery
For anybody interested in getting into FX work, you should study these DVDs. These featurettes are a veritable wellspring of information that should answer many questions that aspiring “creature FX” people have. There is such an amazing amount of work that goes into getting the FX to look good on screen. Even small things, like showing blood or a wound, are carefully worked out to make sure that they achieve the maximum effect. The photo gallery is shots taken from the creation of the show and the show itself that move at their own pace. The viewer simply sits back and watches them role.
”It’s a Wrap”, Final Episode - Behind the Scenes and Hercules Main Titles
Both of these extra pieces are very intimate simply because they aren’t the best quality. Not that they are unwatchable or anything of that nature, but they just don’t look like the other supplemental materials that make up the show. As this is the final season, it was really sad seeing the “Wrap Party.” Seeing people that had worked together for a number of years saying goodbye is just something that gets to you. The “Hercules Main Titles” piece is a one minute alternative cut of some titles that were never used for the show. These too have an added significance.
This contains the “Hercules Chronicles,” Actor, Director & Writer Bios, Series Trivia and Mythology. This box set is so rich with extras, not just fact laden material but things that the stars participated in. It really is a fine send off to a show that ran for as long as Hercules did.
Presented in Full Frame, I don’t think that this look takes anything away from the stories that are being told. While I have never been into the look of the time that Hercules is taking place, I do think that this show pulled it off rather well. I never got the feeling that I was seeing actors parading around in costumes even though I knew precisely that that is what they were. There is a richness to these episodes that makes Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 6 rise above being a TV movie. While not competing with anything on a Lord of the Rings scale, this show has relied more on the writing and it’s belief in the mythology of the characters than anything else. All of this plays well within the text and subtext of the show, thus elevating it above similar types of fare.
Dolby Digital. Dolby Surround 5.1. This show is fretted with the music we have come to expect from fantasy pieces. Thankfully, this show stayed in this realm and didn’t try to make things more “hip” by going for a different soundtrack. Not that I know of many shows that have tried to do this, but this being the final season of the show, it would have been understandable if the creative team may have tried something new. Another thing I appreciate is the way the characters delivered their lines. THEY JUST TALK. The audio wasn’t stilted in an attempt to give everything this amazing significance. This straight forward approach really helped the pace of the show and as a result made it much easier (for me, anyway) to watch.
This is what Anchor Bay is known for. There is a vinyl cover that has the DVD’s title and a large picture of Kevin Sorbo on it. The back features another picture of Sorbo, a description of the final shows and Anchor Bay’s usual litany of special features. The 5 discs that make up this set fold out with different members of the cast on each disc. while Sorbo is on more then one. Each disc has it’s own see through tray and behind that is another picture from the show. There are also many other glossy pictures on the other side of the DVD holder and even one of Bruce Campbell which should make people very happy.
Television special FX will always leave something to be desired. Even in big budget movies, I don’t know how believable I find them, so thankfully I am not basing my reviews on whether the FX “worked” for me. As I stated above, and I’ve stated in other reviews about similar types of shows and movies, these fantasy tales of knights, warriors and amazons is not something that I general look for. I was won over by Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 6 because I was able to find something in the characters. I was able to hold on to something tangible that made this show rise above it’s setting.
Anchor Bay consistently gives the consumer it’s money’s worth. They pack their DVDs and and their box sets with tons of extras, and then they package them like a best-selling hardcover novel. This box set will fit nicely alongside the other sets in the fans collections. Great work Anchor Bay!
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was released .