Hercules!

We found out that our local newsagent’s name is Hercules. Just as well, given how bulky the Saturday papers are.

Speaking of Hercules, have you clocked that show about Hercules? I haven’t actually watched it – I think I can tell how awful it is just from watching the commercials.

Okay, so historical (or mythological) accuracy probably isn’t their strong point. But when you can spot a really really big planet-sized historical innaccuracy just from watching the promo, you know something’s going to be wrong. We’ll leave aside for a moment the fact that all the characters were speaking English, with American accents. It’s a fact of life that subtitles are just not fashionable with the commercial TV stations. In fact, they’re not fashionable with anybody except SBS. And so the programme makers tend to make everybody speak English no matter where the show is set. Sometimes they make a token effort to make it a, say, German accent if the character is German. It’s no more realistic, but at least you can get into the mood of the character not being a native English speaker.

So we won’t talk about language.

(As an aside, in non-English-speaking countries, do the shows set in English-speaking countries have the English-speaking characters speaking languages other than English even though they’re supposedly English-speaking? Yes? Fair enough.)

The promo in question, no doubt to tie-in with the Olympic Games, purported to be the story of the original Olympic Games. And Hercules is there, hanging out with the athletes, playing with each others’ javelins etc.

Of course an eagle-eyed viewer such as myself noticed immediately that all the athletes had their clothes on. Maybe it’s not entirely true, but popular belief would have it that the ancient Olympians performed without their dacks on. Okay, so this is a family show, but there are ways and means, most of them involving filming from the waist up, and the rest involving filming from the knee down.

Come to think of it… I won’t claim to know much about the legend of Hercules – if he is ever meant to have attended the Games – or if he even lived in the right century. Probably not. I get the feeling that the script writers of this show probably found themselves throwing in anything they could think of from Ancient Greece.

"Yeah yeah, we’ve got Hercules… and the Olympian Games… how about we throw in Aristotle, Archimedes, Pythagorus… yeah, Hercules can rescue them from being crushed by Doric columns… and they all eat olives and hang around the Parthenon…"

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