For one thing, he’s no longer “the Barbarian,” but “the Adventurer.” For another, he asks for help. And kindly! He’s even … how to put this nicely? … kind of a wussy.
But to catch any fervor there may be over this month’s big-screen, 3-D “Conan” remake, Shout! Factory has released the first 13 episodes on DVD in a two-disc set. True “Conan” fans — the ones who may cringe in horror when their hero exclaims, “Back after these commercial messages!” — may not dig its dumbed-down, “Masters of the Universe”-style take on the sword-and-sorcery genre’s classic pulp character, but their easy-to-please kids sure will.
To this end, Conan’s half-hour adventures come complete with helpers, none of whom are as memorable as, say, Howard’s Red Sonja. There’s Needle, the magical baby phoenix; Zula, who harbors the Dr. Dolittle-esque power to communicate with animals; and Jezmine, a circus acrobat who keeps throwing stars on her metal bracelets!
While colorful and involving snakes, the episodes are awfully repetitive. Their story? It’s spelled out in the show’s theme song, which is partially screamed, clunky in structure, reminds one of Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge” and, thus, really quite something to hear. A sample:
Conan! The mightiest warrior ever!
His quest: to undo the spell of living stone cast upon his family!
By driving the evil serpent men back into another dimension and vanquishing their leader!
The cruel wizard, Wrath-Amon!
You get the picture, by Crom: one filled with crudely drawn cheese, but cheese with muscles. —Rod Lott