Gladiator Academy [Academia de Gladiadores] (2002-2003)

Spain; 26 episodes of 24 minutes + 1 TV special (75 min.); English dub; creator: Claudio Biern Boyd

This Spanish TV series was produced for one season by BRB International in 2002-2003 and was aimed at an age Y7 audience. It follows the adventures of Fracas, Arena, Rumpus and Hocus, four gladiators who live on the island of Cornucopia, as they fight foes in the island’s Colosseum and defend against the evil emperor, Gluteus Maximus.


The Simpsons: Tales from the Public Domain (2002)

Season 13, Episode 14 (#283); English

Can be purchased for viewing on youtube:

This three-part episode of The Simpsons features perhaps the best known of all animated treatments of Homer’s Odyssey. Entitled “D’oh, Brother Where Art Thou?”, this seven-minute retelling begins with the ruse of the Trojan Horse and the sack of Troy. Of course, Homer Simpson takes on the role of the hero and the show’s well-known cast of characters are placed in roles that suit their personalities (e.g., Patty and Selma as the Sirens; Disco Stu as a suitor). As expected, the humor is clever and satirical, with jokes that are mainly intelligible to an adult audience, such as the band Styx’s song “Lady” playing as Homer/Odysseus travels through the Underworld, exclaiming “This truly is Hell!” The humor is also suggestive at times: the suitor “Discus Stu,” for example, appears to proposition Bart/Telemachus in a nod to the ancient Greek practice of pederasty. 


Styx (2007)

no dialog; 9 min; creator: Aike Arndt

A comic and clever story about crossing the River Styx and the challenges that Charon encounters as does the work of ferrying souls. Featuring a cute dog!

A German student-created animation project that was nominated for the 2008 German Shortfilm Award.

The Modern Cyclops [Der moderne Zyklop] (2002)

Germany; 11 min; director/writer: Daniel Nocke; Studio FILM BILDER

From the Studio FILM BILDER site: “Is the present-day Cyclops a dangerous monster or a sensitive artist? A group of German tourists express a variety of opinions. Mr. and Mrs. Petersen decide to find out for themselves, and experience a few surprises.”

Awards: Silver Prize in Animation, Expo Film and Video Shorts, New York, 2003 First Prize of the Jury, Film Festival Landshut, 2003 Second prize for short film, exground, Wiesbaden, 2003 Best animated film of the national competition, Filmfest Dresden, 2002 Third prize, Cinema Concetta, Ruesselsheim, 2002 Best short film, Filmfest Schwerin, 2002 First prize, category 5-10 min, Krok Festival, Moscow / St. Petersburg, 2015 Special Jury Mention, Countryside Animafest Cyprus, 2015 Special Mention, Animafest Zagreb, Croatia, 2015 Special Mention, Monstra, Lisboa, Portugal, 2015 “Short Tiger”, Filmförderungsanstalt Berlin, 2015

Spartacus (2005)

1 season / 13 half-hour episodes; Italy; also titled Spartacus, the Legionary

produced by Mondo TV Spa; directed by Orlando Corradi

A low-budget TV series for children (ages 8-12) dedicated to telling the story of the famous Thracian gladiator-turned-freedom fighter and the slave revolt he led in 73 BCE. Much of the violence has been minimized for its younger audience.

From Mondo TV: “Our story promptly begins with the unfair trial of a young Roman legionnaire called Spartacus and his sentence to gladiatorial slavery. The years pass as Spartacus witnesses first hand the injustices and oppressions that the slaves and peasants must suffer. Thus, in 73 A.D., having chosen the right moment after reuniting a group of some 70,000 rebels, Spartacus marches against Rome in the name of freedom.

Only a legion commanded by Longinus Crassus (among which we find the young Julius Caesar as well) can put down his army of rebels. Along the Appian way at least 6,000 rebels are crucified as a warning not to disobey Rome* . Two of Spartacus’s lieutenants, Gallus and Egizius, will manage to save themselves and integrate into Roman society, in which they will in the end become two hardened defenders.”

*note: this is not depicted in the show


Persephone: A Story from Greece (2001)

Stop motion; 13 min.; Director: Sergey Olifirenko

From Season 2 of the Animated Tales of the World, an animated series that aired on HBO Family in 2001 and it contained several stories from around the world including Australia, Russia, England and Africa. The series had won two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2001 including Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation and Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for Peter Macon.

Oedipus (2004)

8 min.; stop-motion animation with a cast of fruits and vegetables!

Written, produced and directed by Jason Wishnow

World premiere at Sundance, winner of the Audience Award at the Seattle International Film Festival

You can also watch a behind the scenes video of the making of the film and a video of the storyboards used to produce the film here:

Thanks to Serena Witzke for sharing this with me.

Jason and the Heroes of Mt. Olympus [Jason et les héros de l’Olympe] (2001-2002)

One season of 26 episodes (22 min. each in length); French TV series produced by Night Storms Productions and Saban Entertainment.

From Wikipedia: “Jason is a twelve-year-old with fantasies of becoming a hero just like those in the mythological battles of the antiquity…His dreams become a reality when he climbs to the top of Mt. Olympus and fulfills an ancient prophecy. Jason is the “chosen one”: Jupiter, King of the Immortals, gives him the Belt of Orion which allows him to exist on Mt. Olympus and gives him control of the universe. The evil Dracchus seeks the all-powerful amulet and it is up to Jason to keep the belt and save Mt. Olympus!”


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