At the risk of sounding like the guy who reads Playboy for the articles, I’ve been thinking about this introduction to the 1995 TV classic Hercules: The Legendary Journeys:
This is the story of a time long ago — a time of myth and legend,
When the ancient gods were petty and cruel, and they plagued mankind with suffering.
Only one man dared to challenge their power: Hercules.
Hercules possessed a strength the world had never seen;
a strength surpassed only by the power of his heart.
He journeyed the earth, battling the minions of his wicked stepmother Hera,
the all-powerful Queen of the Gods.
But wherever there was evil, wherever an innocent would suffer,
there would be… Hercules!
Camp aside, isn’t that nicely literate? Less than 20 years ago, words like “surpassed” and “minions” still worked in popular culture.
So did mythology references, as characters like Hades, Hephaestus, and Nemesis were regularly trotted out with no explanation of who they were. (You were apparently supposed to either know, or be able to get it from the context.)
That time seems as long ago as ancient Greece.