Conan: The Adventurer
Lets be fair, I wasn't expecting very much from this show, but it doesn't start out too badly. It opens with the evil king, Hissah Zul, having a nightmare of his death, and upon waking goes and asks his handy talking skull (hey, he's an evil mastermind, he's got to have a talking skull!) about it. The skull sets him on the path to kill Conan (who obviously, has no interest in killing Mr Zul at this point) and so he calls in his pet sorcerer, Yara (who comes with attendant comedy relief) and his evil Djinn... sorry, General Goroth (played by Andrew Divoff).
Conan, meanwhile, is having his meal stolen by a young woman who he's destined to fall in love with. Obviously, he's talked back to her village, has a meal, and goes off to seduce Tamira, just in time for the evil Djinn to attack the village looking for a Cimmerian with a big sword. Fortunately for the plot, Conan doesn't have the sword yet, but when the evil Djinn comes back in force and destroys the village, Yara steals Tamira and Conan away.
Conan finds himself forced to fight in an arena to the death against a guy with an extremely fake looking axe (Vulkar). Fortunately for him, they've agreed ahead of time to kill the guards conveniently standing around the edge of the arena, free the other prisoners, and then rescue Tamira. This all goes perfectly to plan until Yara flees with the girl in a puff of smoke
Now hunting for Yara, Conan gets the help from his comedy relief, Otli. But instead of sticking to the correct path, Conan gets sidetracked by a hidden temple where he gets the aforementioned big sword, and has to fight a four armed mummy type creature (okay, it's a pretty poor animatronic beast... where's the really bad CGI when you need it?). Winning the sword, it talks to him, telling him it's his god Crom, and he's got to go and do stuff.
Conan, now with the sword, resumes his journey to kill Yara and free Tamira. Unfortunately he's ambushed by a virgin queen... or a queen of thieves at least (Karella). Fortunately, she seems more interested in sleeping with the stupid brute rather than stealing from him, so Conan spends the night before going on his way.
Finally reaching Yara's home, he sneaks in the bedroom window and finds Tamira, but she's apparently being held prisoner by an invisible wall. Then Yara shows up to send Conan to get the Heart of the Elephant, and makes Tamira even more 2 dimensional by trapping her in a mirror to persuade him.
Conan sets out for the stone, and once he finds the right dungeon, he meets the queen of thieves again, who seems to only be allowed to speak in sexual innuendo when the dumb brute is around. Deciding to team up only lasts until they find a shiny gold door from which no-one returns, at which point Conan gets left to his own devices.
Bring on the naff looking CGI spider. Which, despite scratching Conan only once, manages to jump on his sword. Fortunately, when Conan goes into the next room, continuity catches up with him and he's been seriously scratched up. In the next room is a big talking elephant (apparently his wife was the spider, and he wants to die). The animatronic elephant wants his heart cut out and poured on the magic stone before it's given to Yara.
The evil Djinn turns up at Yara's castle, wanting the girl. He finds her in the town square and stabs her when she won't reveal Conan's location. Conan gives Yara the stone, then tries to kill him, but the stone does that when Conan gives Yara the elephant's last message. Then he goes outside and watches Tamira dies.
Fortunately, while burying her, the gladiator with the fake axe, and his mute companion (Zzeben) turn up with a ready made army (the survivors of the village from the first part), and a scene later they team up with the queen of thieves to go after Hissah Zul. Cue extremely poorly coreagraphed fight with the evil Djinn and his men (the queen of thieves really needs a better weapon than a whip). The evil Djinn and Conan stand in the middle of the river and trade blows, before the dumb brute finally drowns him.
After a talk with his skull, Hissah Zul moves his castle, leaving the dumb brute standing in the woods wondering what to do now. The queen of thieves steals a kiss and then goes off to help her men, but the guy with the fake axe, his mute friend, and the comedy relief agree to go with him.
The big golden sword leads the team to the foot of some mountains that are apparently home to evil beastmen and a witch that lures men to their doom. Unfortunately a fight with waaaaay too many guys in black forces them to escape by climbing.
Ohhhh dear. In searching for a way through the mountains, Conan finds a beautiful woman in a cloud of smoke. You know this isn't going to go well! And it doesn't when he's attacked from behind by a bunch of beastmen (and really easily captured). Meanwhile, back at camp, Zzeben proves his unmentioned psychic ancestry by declaring Conan has been captured, and he and Vulkar leave Otli behind to look for him.
Conan gets thrown into prison and forced to work with the other "manlings" mining ore (conveniently, for Hissah Zul). Also conveniently, the young woman from earlier has taken a fancy to him, and springs him from prison. After a brief talk with the other prisoners (through the prison door), Conan gets to fight a big CGI monster with a stone knife his only weapon (which the monster promptly breaks).
Fortunately for Conan, Otli has found his sword, sneaked into the mines (when the beastmen conveniently left the door open), found Conan and thrown him the sword. While he kills the CGI monster, the other prisoners rise up and beat up the beastmen with rocks and pickaxes. Fortunately for the lead beastman, there's nothing to fear (except a magical battering ram and a horde of angry prisoners).
The big dumb brute and his band of merry men are lured to the coast for the teeming fish, but it's a hoax. There aren't any. Hissah Zul has eliminated them all with a monster with one eye (huh... sounds like a cyclops to me, but I'm willing to be surprised). They're lured to a village to see the wizard Actel, but the fisherman disappears, and the wizard is in league with Hissah Zul (after the Queen has disappeared).
The innocent young woman they meet who works for Actel is subsequently chained to a rock on the coast to be sacrificed to the latest poorly animated CGI monster. Conan, rubbing his two brain cells together, realises the guards are Hissah Zul's and not Queen Vita's (as Actel has claimed) and frees the girl.
Queen Vita is trapped in a cave full of dry ice. She entrusted her kingdom to Actel (who appears to have thoroughly f'd things up), so she's obviously got poor judgement. She then leaves the cave with Conan, knowing it will cost her life. Cue pointless fight on the beach, where Hissah Zul's army of men run away when their leader gets himself killed (even though they only face three men). Actel summons the CGI monster, and Conan feeds him to it, and then there's much running around because Vita is dying.
The big guy with the axe has decided to go back home, so we have to pick up another merry man. Fortunately, Bayu shows up within the first couple of minutes, shortly before Hissah Zul's men attack the gypsy caravan they're at. Then a guy helps them escape to Ahl Sohn-Bar.
Shortly after arriving, they have to save Mena Suvari (it's probably Dawn Radenbaugh, who appears not to have been in anything at all memorable, so I tend to prefer my guess) from a big jellyfish creature in the river, and then Hissah Zul's men surround the village.
Cue lots of internecine shenanigans as one of the villagers tries to deal Conan for the village. Zzeben and Bayu prove up to their henchmenlike role, by being captured by the villagers. After Conan talks his way out of this (yeah, how stupid are these villagers?!), they try to use the blond to distract the guards, which goes perfectly to plan, until the jellyfish thing turns up again. Strangely, while they defeat the jellyfish, the army run away.
Our merry band encounter a whole bunch of skeletons in a pile with a rock with a red snake painted on it. Then a swordsman rides up, and after sparring with Conan for a moment, turns out to be his friend Savann. Savann is after the Cult of the Blue Stone, who raided his village and took his woman.
You know, the makeup and wardrobe people on this show must have had fun - loincloth, check; boots, check; bracers, check; headband, check; big sword, check; baby oil, check! And then lots of rubbing and making shiny. Of course, they have to draw Zebban's sideburns on.
Bayu is this is clearly the character they based Andromeda's Tyr Anasazi on - the world's first Nietzchean, millennia before Nietzche lived! Ah, crossing a rickety bridge, Savann cuts the rope leaving Conan stranded on one side, while all his friends get captured on the other.
"The Ruby Fruit Forest" sees our merry adventurers stumble on Hissa Zul's source of rubies... it seems they really do grow on trees. Of course, this is an Otli focused episode (with Tyr Anasazi getting a fair bit of screen time as well), when he's mistaken as the god of a primitive tribe guarding the rubies.
"The Three Virgins" sees Otli blown by a mysterious wind in to the middle of a fight. It seems the fight was over three women (the titular virgins) hiding in a cart, from which the horses have been stolen. They want to be taken to the city of thieves where a magical amulet needs to be retrieved for their Goddess.
Conan and crew pull the cart to the city, where the big guy gets in to a fight in a bar, before following Otli's suggestions of following the secret passages under the city gallows into the fortress where the amulet lies. Of course, Karella is there (having stolen their horses earlier and now getting away with the amulet), and there's a sorcerer who wants Conan to get the amulet back - holding his friends and the virgins hostage in stone form as leverage... although Conan does manage to get two horses and Zzeben to help him out... why is the sorcerer's face covered in clay?
So, off after Karella, and the big brute from the bar (and the fight at the start) turns up again with their horses, and a pair of women. When freeing his horses, Conan gets dragged into a fight with the brute by the elder of the women... but he does get a shortcut to get ahead of Karella out of the deal.
The shortcut gives us our next surprise... a big blind mud monster, who's actually Hissa Zul's brother. He was blinded and killed, and had his spirit trapped in the mud monster by his brother, and the amulet that Conan is chasing will finally free him.
So, catch up with Karella, get the amulet, get captured by the brute, Mog, again; have Zzeben lead Mog in to the mud monster's lair; return to the sorceror with the amulet; free his friends; have a fight with the sorceror; have a conversation with the Virgins' Goddess; and then return the amulet to the mud monster to free him. So they gain an ally against Hissa Zul in the shape of his brother's spirit (and presumably the Goddess who was in love with him), and then we end with Tyr Anasazi joking with Otli.
"Amazon Woman" sees much to-ing and fro-ing over an amazon who can turn in to a fierce armoured warrior, and the child she's trying to protect. Of course, she falls for and sleeps with Conan, but that means she loses her ability to transform because she's pregnant. And then they invent his Amazon child Aurora, who, although dying when her mother does, will mysteriously meet Conan again at the end of his quest... okay, this show has clearly lost it!
"Shadows Of Death" sees Conan and Karella hook back up, this time when Conan is forced to murder an army's general and then the band flee to a mysterious Island of Shadows. There's a hidden temple with a whole bunch of stone men whose gold medallions Karella wants to steal. Unfortunately, stealing the medallion brings the statues back to life, and the godly guardian of the island isn't particularly happy about that as they sacrificed his daughter back in the day...
"Homecoming" sees Bayu return to his home village, where he runs in to his daughter, and has to persuade his sister not to marry a crazy warlord guy to stop him destroying the village.
"Imposter" sees a sorceror creating a duplicate of Conan to fool a bunch of villagers and make then hate the real Conan. Our merry band of heroes have to kill the duplicate multiple times before he finally stays dead, but they can use Conan's blank expression to fool the bad guys in to thinking he's the duplicate - who says being a big dumb brute with a vacant expression doesn't come in handy some times!
"The Crystal Arrow" sees a guest appearance by Justina Vail when Conan has to transport a special arrow to the people behind the Misty Gates. But who has stolen the arrow - Zotana (Vail) or Karella?
"Antidote" sees the penultimate episode of Conan run out of money (perhaps they're saving it all for a fantastic finale?) and resort to the staple of all shows once a season when they're budget stretches an episode too short - the clip show - in this case, framed by Conan getting poisoned and Zzeben, Karella, and Tyr Anasazi having to run in sequence to get the necessary root to cure him. Each one remembers their encounters with the lumbering brute while they go...