Hey folks, Valkor here. And we're dippin once again into the pool of classic cartoons. Next up is a series of which I've known of but have never seen in its entirety… until now. The folks at Warner Home have added into the Hanna Barbera Collection "The Herculoids: The Complete Series". And after checkin it out this set, I will agree it's a worthwhile addition.
The Herculoids is cartoon, introduced in the 60's that's a mix of prehistoric/futuristic setting, which centers on a family that defends their planet from arriving evil as well as evil that already exist on the planet. The group is made up of Xandor their leader, his wife Tarra, and their son Dorno. And they're not alone in their fight to defend the planet; with them are an eclectic group of creatures starting with Zok, a flying space dragon that doesn't breathe fire, but shoots energy beams from its eyes and tail. Next is Igloo a rock ape that's wicked strong. Next is Tundro, a Rhino like creature with ten legs and the ability to shoot energy rocks from it's horn. Finally we have Gloop and Gleep, two protoplasmic creatures that are impervious to just about anything that comes their way. Plus they can morph into a variety of helpful shapes and can even form protective shields.
Real quick – why would you need the other three? Gloop and Gleep can practically stand up against any attack. Sure they don't have the long range capabilities like Zok and Tundro, but they could probably transform into cannons, then Xandor could load them up with energy rocks and presto! Bad guys get taken out from afar. But that's a topic for another discussion… maybe.
The Herculoids was a Saturday morning cartoon, which is usually a light-hearted affair. However this show is darker than I had expected; When the Herculoids defeat a bad guy, it's usually permanent (though some do escape). Yes characters die in this series! Though nothing graphic, however when a ship blows up and you know the dude didn't escape… chances are he's dead.
Another cool bit about the series is how the bad guys know Xandor and the Herculoids; some have arrived on the planet with the intent to get revenge against him and his family (i.e. Mekkano, The Machine Master). Others arrive with, to exploit the planet of its resources or wanting to run things. Though from our perspective, this is the first time seeing them, on their side they know Xandor is there and they want him and his family out of the way. And to me… that's pretty funny. Why? Take for example the episode "The Pirates". Now the pirate leader just stole some treasure and then says "let's go to Xandor's planet". Wait, what? Why would you go there, knowing this guy is there and can kick your ass?
This two disc DVD is made up of the original 18 episodes of the series, which are broken into two parts per episode. Highlights include:
The Beaked People – Krokar and the Parrot men are attacking the flying monkey people. One escapes to find Xandor, asking for his assistance in aiding his people.
Prisoners of the Bubblemen – Brotak (gotta love that name) has taken Xandor and Tarra as prisoners to use them for experiments in his underwater sea lab. But when the other Herculoids arrive the bubble of him and his men are ebout to burst.
The Pirates – A group of space pirates arrive on the planet to bury their newly begotten treasure, when they're interrupted by Dorno and company.
Defeat of Ogron – The Herculoid's home is attacked by Andropon and his ships. He sends out his champion Ogron and his battle ship to face off against the Herculoids.
I know those brief synopsis might appear that I'm hedging a bit, but really the shows are that simple. There's not much else to them as each show follows the same formula – bad guys show up, face off against the Herculoids, bad guys end up dead or escape. Repeat next episode. Now you might think that sort of repetition would get boring really fast (i.e. Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch), but… let's just leave it for the TOV Breakdown.
I honestly expected to be completely bored watching the Herculoids series; sure each episode follows the same premise, but the fact that they face off against different enemies, they use different team work tactics to defeat them, PLUS people end up dead in the end, makes this old series completely watchable. And this is from a guy who has never seen an episode. It's simple, it's fun, it adds a nice blend of past meets future, and overall I really enjoyed the watch. Nuff said!
Only a four minute featurette is added as an extra. Honestly if you couldn't go longer than four minutes (and I know it can be done) then it should have been scrapped altogether.
The Herculoids: The Complete Series DVD is available now and should be a definite pick up of fans of the series who just wanna nostalgia a bit. And even if you're not hardcore about the show, I'd say give it a try anyway. You might find it worth the ride. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving The Herculoids DVD 3.5 and it's been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved!