From Helen of Troy to Class of the Titans, these are the best TV shows based on myths.
Myths are an endless source of public fascination, especially the ones from the distant past. Greek myths and lore have become common knowledge for generations who grew up on television and movie content inspired by the Greeks. Others, like Generation Z, were raised reading book series like Percy Jackson, invoking a new dedication to the myths and classics that helped form the foundations of many Western societies and their judicial systems. The Greek and Roman myths have become such a well-known staple for several generations, with companies like Disney even tapping into them for content.
Like how books are often adapted for the screen, cinema and television have often looked to inspiration already there and in the public knowledge to tap into a fanbase that’s probably already familiar with the content in its most raw form. Fans of the Percy Jackson series may be eagerly awaiting the upcoming television adaptation, which will hopefully meet expectations more than the failed movie franchise, but until then, they can get their fix with these television shows based on myths.
Originally released from 1995 to 1999, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is one of many 90s relics. Kevin Sorbo starred as Hercules in this television series based on the Greek hero of Heracles, who was known as Hercules in the Roman tradition. Set in an unknown time in Ancient Greece, Hercules is joined by his sidekick Iolaus (Michael Hurst) to save the day. Many of the episodes consist of random people and villages being attacked or antagonized by the gods, and it is up to these two to preserve the peace and sanity of humankind.
Released in 2003 as a miniseries, Sienna Guillory stars as the titular character: Helen of Troy. Helen of Troy retells the tale of the Trojan War, bringing in Matthew Marsden, Rufus Sewell, James Callis, John Rhys-Davies, Maryam d’Abo, and Stellan Skarsgård to reenact the same story once told in the epic of The Iliad. The son of the King of Troy, Paris, is born, and a prophecy predicts that he will cause the downfall of the kingdom, leading his father to abandon him on a mountain. When he is rescued by a shepherd and grows up, he ends up on a trajectory that very well may do what he was predicted to do at birth.
Class of the Titans was a Canadian TV show released originally in 2005, but it did not make its way over to the United States until four years later. Fans of Percy Jackson would enjoy this series; it tells the story of four teenagers who are the descendants of Greek heroes and gods. Kronos, one of the Titans, has escaped from Tartarus and is looking to wreak havoc on the world. It is up to the descendants of the gods and myths to defeat him before it is too late — but, at the start of the series, they have no idea what is in store for them.
The story of the lost underwater city of Atlantis is one of the most popular myths, and this translates into television as well. The television series Atlantis sees a submarine pilot named Jason washing up on the shores of the legendary city. He was looking for the source of an issue that caused his father to disappear, but now he is a mere mortal in a city of myths and legends. As he meets other people involved in Greek mythology, he learns to navigate the city’s politics and the monsters that inhabit the realm.
1995’s Xena: Warrior Princess was considered to be a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, but attained a cult following of its own. A fictional character, Xena (Lucy Lawless), is a well-known warrior throughout the lands. Formerly, she used her strength and expertise in the name of harming others, but during the series, she has had a change of heart and wants to atone for her past sins against humanity. The series ran for six seasons before ultimately being canceled, but was a massive success and spurned as a series of comics, video games, books, and so much more.
Netflix’s Blood of Zeus came out in 2020, featuring an original character to the Greek canon. Heron is the son of Zeus and is a demigod, not a full-blooded god. A miner and considered to be a bastard by the villagers around him, he rises to his destiny when a threat to the world emerges. No longer an average man simply trying to make a modest earning for himself, Heron must now deal with his father and Hera’s meddling, incoming monsters and demons coming after him, and a plethora of drama. Season two is on the way over at Netflix, and the show might run for up to five seasons, according to the creators (via Observer).
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