"The Incredible Hulk" (1977-1982); A look back at Marvel's first hit TV adaptation... (2023)

anger control.

As a 10-year-old boy in 1977, I remember watching the gritty, serious TV movie pilot of The Incredible Hulk, written, produced, and directed by Kenneth Johnson ("The Bionic Woman", "V", "Alien Nation"🇧🇷 Unlike the primary-color "Hulk" comics I read at the local drug store, the pilot for the TV movie was a horror movie in tone and execution. Bill Bixby played the role of Dr. David Banner with an intensity that really convinced him; This oneit was notbecame a children's show on Saturday mornings - that wasadultStuff. While the titular creature, played by professional bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, was admittedly goofy at times, he was lit by shadows and flames that made him look more like a walking nightmare than a Marvel superhero. He's gone the Hulk's Tarzan English ("Hulk Smash!"), replaced by low-frequency subhuman growls and roars emitted by Addams Family co-star Ted Cassidy ("Lurch") and later actor Charles Napier after Cassidy's untimely death at the age of 45 in 1979. The late Cassidy also provided the series' iconic opening voiceover:

"DR. David Banner: Physician, scientist; seeking a way to tap into the hidden strengths of all humans. Then an accidental overdose of gamma rays alters his body chemistry. And now, when David Banner becomes angry or indignant, An astonishing metamorphosis occurs... The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter. The creature is wanted for a murder he did not commit. David Banner is presumed dead and he must make the world believe he isIt isdead until he finds a way to control the rabid spirit that dwells within him."

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As the series progressed, it sometimes lazily reverted to its standard formula, in which David Banner wandered around town and embarked on local drama before going out a few times and then leaving. Occasionally, there have been episodes that pushed the boundaries of that formula and produced exceptional, award-winning television. The series would run for five seasons, with the fifth season getting the ax after just seven episodes. This early cancellation would later inspire three significantly inferior television movie sequels, none of which were written or produced by Johnson.

For this exploration, I'll be looking at some highlights from each season. I'd also love to hear your favorite memories from the series in the comments thread for this column.Let's dive!


Season 1 personal favorites.

The pilot aired on November 4, 1977, followed by the second TV movie, Death in the Family, which aired a few weeks later on November 27. With the pilot serving as the origin story, Death in the Family fell to establishing the series' format in "Runaway" style, even if it wasn't an example of the series at its best. The 10-episode first season stumbles more often than it succeeds once the show finds its footing.

Here they areeuFavorites...

"The pilot."

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With its horror/sci-fi tone, the pilot, written and directed by Kenneth Johnson, is a melancholy and effective TV drama that kicks off the series well.gravity🇧🇷 Dr David Banner is a grieving widower still recovering from a car accident that killed his wife (Lara Parker) 11 months ago. one accident he survived. In collaboration with his friend and colleague Dr. Elaina Marks (Susan Sullivan, wife of Kenneth Johnson), David desperately tries to understand why some people seem to have enormous surges of power when they need it - like a young woman lifting a car to save her trapped son, or an old man who heavy steel door gets in. . After concluding that these people share a common DNA marker, he tests himself and discovers that he has a matching marker.largerpercentage of markers; however, he failed to save his wife from the burning car crash. Almost by accident, David discovers that the Sun's high gamma activity may have inadvertently activated these genetic abnormalities - allowing these people to have his.Crazypower surges. Using himself as a guinea pig, he accidentally overdosed on gamma rays in the research center's radiology lab (a poorly labeled dial is to blame🇧🇷 Feeling no immediate repercussions, he returns home frustrated...

Observation:David's methodology is hopelessly unscientific (because he misinterprets correlation as definitive proof), not to mention his utter lack of objectivity which renders him useless as an impartial researcher, but the movie needs to be filmed, so shut up and eat your popcorn , right?

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When his Toyota breaks down in the rain, an increasingly irritated David tries to change the tire himself. When he cuts his hand with a tire lever, his whole world changes. Joe Harnell's eerie choral music becomes downright terrifying ("Requiem" by Nuancen von Gyorgi Ligeti) as David's eyes turn white, his skin turns green, and his clothes rip against hiscrescendoBody. This is the first of many "Hulk-Outs" we'll see throughout the show (usually two per episode), and it's far from itthe scariest🇧🇷 The newly minted "Hulk" (Lou Ferrigno) angrily wrecks the car and the next morning goes to a campsite where he is shot by a hunter after saving the man's daughter from drowning. Later, after calming down, the "creature" returns to David Banner. Disoriented, David then seeks Elaina's help. After work, the two use their institute's laboratory and try their best to recreate the conditions of David's transformation. The missing ingredient iswhat, which David later feels when he has another nightmare about his wife's death - the destruction of a heavy steel chamber intended to contain "the creature". A sci-fi twist on “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Already intrigued by David's research into superpowers and intrigued by the researcher's recently wrecked car, tabloid reporter Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) senses a story...

Observation:In keeping with The Fugitive series format, Jack McGee acts as a seedy alternative to Barry Morse's Lieutenant. Gerard", who kills the fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble (David Jansen) hunted for four seasons of this series (1963-1967). The Fugitive, of course, became an Oscar-winning film in 1993, starring Harrison Ford as Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard.The 2008 film The Incredible Hulk (itself a soft reboot/sequel to 2003's The Hulk) also used the on-the-lam format of the TV series.

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David and Elaina's research at the Institute continues as the tenacious McGee (who was refused an interview) sneaks into a closet in the facility and accidentally causes a fire. Fire soon engulfs the place and David desperately tries to save Elaina's life, but fails. McGee escapes the scene just before he explodes in a ball of fire, trapping Elaina Marks' fire and death to the mysterious green "creature" he calls "the Hulk". Realizing that his newfound genetic mutation makes him a wanted man, David fakes his own death while secretly searching for a cure...

The composer of the cue series, Joe Harnell's iconic end credits theme "Lonely Man"...

Observation:David Banner's headstone lists his middle name as "Bruce"; a concession to the comics reluctantly made by Johnson, who also wanted to deviate from the source material by making the Hulk red instead of green, arguing that red was the true color of rage. Johnson was defeated in this case. In his earliest comic book appearances, the Hulk was actually gray, but later changed to his more familiar green.

"Terror na Times Square".

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David „Blake“ (one of the many aliases he uses throughout the series) finds a temporary job at an arcade in Manhattan (Does anyone remember the...?🇧🇷 The landlord is shaken by the local mob boss for protection money. David soon rushes to the rescue, the mute and primal creature still upholding David's decency and morals. It is not an exceptional episode for its story or characters, but for the rare (and no doubt expensive) Filming in the famous Times Square in New York. That was in the grossest,sea ​​creatureDays before Times Square becomes a second Disneyland.


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"747", shows a stressed David Banner being forced to land a jet (with archival footage from the films "Airport") with the encouragement of a young passenger, played by Brandon Cruz - Cruz was Bixby's young colleague in his previous series, The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969–1972). The novel's cast has been used from time to time, with Bixby occasionally reuniting with former castmates from her previous shows. Despite the tired premise (Even "Laverne & Shirley" had an episode "Landing the Plane"), still works - even if it's not the right thing to do when a man prone to blackouts from rabies lands a planeotheridea at all.

Season 2 personal favorites.

The Incredible Hulk has fully come into its own in its second season and the series is realizing its full potential. Stories about the Hulk's fight for social justice were no longer random, as they became the show's raison d'être. The show has evolved from its action-adventure-quest format to an Emmy-winning (andto win) dramatic series. In my opinion, the show reached its creative peak in season two.

"Married", Parts 1 and 2.

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probably theotherseries episode (it's definitely my favorite), which deservedly won an Emmy for Mariette Hartley's sensitive performance as Dr. Carolyn Fields won; a researcher using the power of meditative focus to control the spread of deadly diseases. David flies to Hawaii to see her (SoCal did), and she quickly gains his trust... enough for him to tell her his dark secret. Carolyn announces to David that she is discontinuing her practice due to her own death (but intentionally vague) condition that makes them prone to grand mal seizures. As the two doctors quickly fall in love, they decide to spend their remaining time tending to each other's condition. They are getting married soon and for a few fleeting moments we see David happier than ever (or become) throughout the series.

Observation:Actors Bill Bixby and Mariette Hartley had incredible chemistry together. One can easily see and believe that they are a real couple. The two starred together in several Polaroid commercials, as well as the short-lived comedy Goodnight Beantown (1983-4). Mariette Hartley was probably the show's most memorable guest star, and her Emmy was no fluke.

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Using her imagery therapy combined with hypnosis, Carolyn tries to help David visualize his inner Hulk in increasingly difficult cages and traps - but also the mentalphotothe creature always escapes somehow... its raw power is too great. The ever-stubborn Jack McGee naturally flies to Hawaii when one of the locals spots the creature fleeing on a beach after a failed hypnosis session. As Carolyn's condition worsens, her behavior becomes increasingly erratic and David is forced to chase her during a violent tropical storm. She dies in his, or rather thathelmetsWeapons. Pursued by McGee, David must suffer alone...

Observation:This episode always hits me with an iron fist; I have some experience dealing with seizures (even for someone I love), so maybe you can understand why...


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"Ricky" tackles the sensitive subject of intellectual disability in the best way possible for 1978 television. Some younger viewers may not understand that the term "mentally disabled"it was nota bow in those days; It was a commonly used medical term. That said, the title character (Mickey Jones) is a happy young man working with a Demolition Derby crew that David has found temporary employment with. The team's rivals try to sabotage the competition by tricking gullible Ricky into driving the team car. Chaos ensues when a panicked Ricky is trapped and trapped in a wrecked and burning car (a recurring motif in this show🇧🇷 Ricky is, of course, rescued by Hulk, who he befriended with soft drinks. "Ricky" is outdated in its depiction of intellectual disability (like "Rain Man" and its portrayal of autism), but his heart was in the right place and he deserves credit for trying. This wouldn't be the first or last time the series tackled a hot topic.

"A child in need."

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A Child in Need is one of those recent episodes that is so real it feels like it could be happening right now down the street. The subject of this episode is child abuse, and several television movies were made about the subject in the 1970s („Sybil“, „Mary Jane Harper cried last night“, „When She Was Bad“), and this episode fits perfectly. David works as a janitor at an elementary school and befriends a boy named Mark (David Dimster), who arrives at school with unexplained cuts and bruises all over his body. David immediately suspects child abuse, but is outraged when no one supports his pleas on the boy's behalf. Future Oscar winner Sally Kirkland plays Mark's terrified and submissive mother. The Hulk eventually confronts his abusive father (Sandy McPeak) in the school gym, forcing his father to revive him.tertrauma like an abused child. Often, the abused become the perpetrators themselves. This episode was made before legislation was passed specifically directing teachers to come forwardanysuspected child abuse. "A Child in Need" can be profoundly difficult to watch, as anyone who has lived in an abusive home can attest. Challenging, disturbing and verycourageous.

"Other way."

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Guest star Mako plays a blind, aging, jazz-loving martial artist/philosopher named Li Sung (with some old makeup🇧🇷 Sung befriends David after the two share a near-fatal ride aboard a freezer truck. Li discovers David's secret and offers to teach him the mind control disciplines he has learned throughout his life. The two form something like oneObi Wan-Lukerelationship when they drive together to Chinatown in San Francisco. Sung discovers that a former student of his has misused his teachings (a Darth Vader Obi-Wan thing), and the two eventually clash with the timely help of the Incredible Hulk. Li is written in many ways as the clichéd Eastern sage, though Mako's winning performance imbues him with so much personal charm that it's easy to miss. The character was so popular that he returned a few episodes later in the disappointing sequel The Disciple; one step below Li's first (andother) Looks.

„Mystery Man“ Teil 1 & 2.

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David is critically injured in a car accident, leaving the amnesiac "John Doe" with his face bandaged. Jack McGee believes that "John" may have witnessed an encounter with the Hulk. The two charter a plane together, which crashes in the desert, allowing the two to survive together. During this double part, theignorantOpponents develop an unusual friendship that makes you wonder how they coped with different circumstances. As the two dodge a wildfire and a pack of hungry wolves, David experiences flashes of restored memories and begins to realize he is Jack McGee.to pursuehis. As John Doe, David spends most of the two episodes with his face completely bandaged - a blank human canvas now receptive to a man who used to be instinctual.get away🇧🇷 David's Hulk-outs speed his recovery, and once his memory is fully restored, he breaks free of McGee once more.

Season 3 personal favorites.

The show's third season continued the second's quality offerings, though not in the same way.number🇧🇷 Still, the season had some solid outings, including a reunion with My Favorite Martian co-star Ray Walston from Bixby, a return to David's family in the rural Midwest, a standalone episode for curious reporter Jack McGee. and an encounter with a psychic in one. episode full ofreal lifetragic omen.

"My favorite wizard."

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Davithief(as in "Carnival Criers") now works as an assistant to an old wizard (Ray Walston) who has lost his touch while trying increasingly desperate and dangerous tricks. In other words, a Merlin story. The story is so-so, but the stunt cast of Ray Walston, Bixby's former My Favorite Martian (1963-1966) co-star, makes it possible. The episode's name is, of course, a reference to the title of its previous series.

Note: There is a significant issue I have with David's logic in this story; would a man who faked his own death really want to show up?on the stagelike magic? What if someone in the audience took a picture of him? I suppose you can chalk it up to the innocence of the late 1970s; a time when not everyone carried a phone/camera/computer/tracker in their pocket...

"Return home."

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Homecoming offers the deepest look into David's past since the pilot and Married. David returns home for Thanksgiving to be with his father (John Marley) and sister Helen (Star Trek's Diana Muldaur). The Banners are in danger of losing their farmland in rural Colorado to an agricultural disease. Working with his smart sister as a scientist, David relives painful memories (via flashbacks) the deaths of his emotionally distant mother and father. Old wounds are partially healed as David saves the day, but is once again forced to flee. At least his family knows that David is alive and well for now.

Observation:The backstory of David's issues with his own father lends some weight to his earlier empathy for the young and abused Mark in season two's "A Child in Need".

"Test positive."

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A rare episode focuses solely on Jack McGee, as the faux tabloid reporter meets with a new editor named Patricia (Caroline Smith), who is desperate to change The National Register's image; his first decree—there are no more stories about the Hulk.Jack takes this as a terrible blow, as the Hulk has become his white whale. The smart reporter challenges her and follows a lead in Indiana alone. This episode, along with the two-part Mystery Man, offers our best look into the mind of David Banner's wily nemesis, and the late Jack Colvin makes the most of the opportunity.

Observation:Bill Bixby was unable to appear in the episode after divorcing his ex-wife Brenda Benet. David's fleeting shots were scored with a body double.

"O Psychic."

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Bill Bixby's soon-to-be ex-wife Brenda Benet effectively starred as a medium named Annie who realizes mild-mannered grocer David is "The Incredible Hulk". David feels guilty after evidence leads him to accidentally kill a young boy during one of his outbursts. Things only get worse when Annie has a vision of Jack McGee's murder, which forces David to save his longtime enemy's life.


Observation:This episode is absolutely devastating in its foreboding and foreboding. There is a scene where Annie talks to a suicidal David to stop him from "executing" the Hulk, who David believes is responsible for the death of a young boy. In February 1981, a year after "Psychic" aired, Bixby and Benet lost their own 6-year-old son, Christopher, when the boy died (he had an undiagnosed illness) while on a ski trip to Mammoth, California. Christopher's death sent the divorced actors into a deep depression. Brenda Benet lost her battle with it when she tragically took her own life in April 1982, just over a year after her son's death. If readers are faced with similar struggles or thoughts of self-harm, CALL the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Season 4 personal favorites.

The fourth season bounced back from the less impactful offerings of the third with an engrossing blend of action-adventure and personal drama. It also pushed new personal boundaries for the character of David Banner, who was pitted against an earlier Hulk prototype, his own inner demons, and even (in the meantime) paralysis after a car accident.

Prometheus Parts 1 and 2.

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In this duo, David befriends a blind inmate, played by Laurie Prange (who also starred in the second pilot of the series, Death in the Family), and the two investigate a fallen meteorite that is emitting unusual radiation. Somehow, the lightning causes David's Hulk-out to stop mid-transformation - leaving him a hybrid of David and Hulk, with most of David's arguments, but amplified with Hulk's strength. David and the woman are kidnapped by agents of a top-secret government project called Prometheus, who mistakenly believe that the Hulk is an alien scout launched by the meteorite. Jack McGee somehow also gets access to the shenanigans. The suspenseful premise is weighed down in the second half by the excessive use of stock footage padding and lengthy countdowns. It's not one of the best two parts of the series, but the first half is certainly the most enjoyable hour.

Observation:Watchable mostly for the novelty of a partially transformed Hulk, with Bixby portraying the half-transformed creature in close-ups, while the uncredited Rick Drasin's body was used for wide-angle shots.

"Dark side."

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David lives with a dysfunctional couple (William Lucking, Rosemary Forsyth) and their teenage daughter Laurie (Philece Sampler). After testing a powerful new serum that David hopes will control his Hulk-outs, something goes wrong; the injection triggers a primalpsychoticside of David's personality. David soon falls in love with the young Laurie, who has had a crush on this "mysterious" older man since her teens. This episode is unexpectedly twisted and borderlinepervertput. One of the original premises of the 1962 comic was that Bruce Banner would use an atomic variant in The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” should be, and this episode takes it a step further.nodr Jekyll - just two versions of the same evil being; a human and asuperhuman🇧🇷 Bill Bixby is truly menacing as the crazy version of the unflappable David. One of Bixby's funniest performances on the show, and that's saying aa lot of.

"King of the Beach."

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The King of the Beach story feels straight out of the archive of Baywatch episodes; A hearing-impaired bodybuilder named Carl Molino wants to win a local competition and become a self-made man instead of being a dead-end cook on a greasy spoon by the seaside. David encourages him to try, but competitors try to stop the ambitious young man (which is clearly based on Ferrigno himself if you read his biography🇧🇷 The hook of this episode is this series co-star Lou Ferrignoin the endlands a speaking role on her own show—whichgreen fat. As with many of this season's most memorable outings, most of the watchability is based on some novelty, but it's still a guilty pleasure. It is worth watching the last bodybuilding competition whereLou trifft Lou,while Carl faces the Hulk (a clever split screen where the Hulk is raised above Carl's eye line to make him appear taller than the actor playing him🇧🇷 Cheesy fun.

"The First", Parts 1 and 2.

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Next to "Married" is "The First".secondBest story in the series. David follows in the research footsteps of a Dr. Clive, who David suspects has a condition similar to his. Once in town, he meets Elizabeth (Lola Albright), the late doctor's ex-fiancée, and the late Dr. Clive, an arthritic and illiterate senior named Dell Frye (Harry Townes). Frye knows where the doctor kept his research notes and agrees to help David, but Dell also has a secret...It iswas the guinea pig of Dr. Clive's experiments; he was theFirst"Hulk. But unlike David, FryeenjoyBeing able to transform into a monster (Dick Durok) when provoked. The townspeople are stunned when they mention their local monster, and even Elizabeth wants to put the bad memories behind her, but Dell is in love with her and tries to win her heart. When his advances are gently rebuffed, Frye is enraged and seeks battles to unleash his dark power. Meanwhile, using Clive's notes and his own research, David synthesized a cure using the lab's solar collector. Dell's Hulk unfortunatelydestroyedcures her and wreaks havoc in the lab, sending David sobbing once more to stop the amoral "First"...

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Observation:Author Andrew Schneider ("The Sopranos," "Alien Nation") was clearly a huge fan of 1931's "Frankenstein," as its main characters were named after characters and actors from that film; "Elizabeth" is named after Dr. Named Frankenstein's fiancé, while the unseen "Dr. Clive" is named after Colin Clive, the actor who created Dr. Clive. Frankenstein starred in Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein (1935). "Dell Frye" is named after actor Dwight Frye, who played Frankenstein's clumsy assistant Fritz (the one who abandons the "good brain"); Actor Frye also played the insane Renfield in 1931's "Dracula". Universal Studios also produced The Incredible Hulk TV series and the first two Hulk movies in 2003 and 2008, prior to Marvel Studios' merger with Disney.

"The harder they fall."

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"The Harder They Fall" is another episode that hits home with me. David is injured when he is hit by a car at a crosswalk and is paralyzed from the waist down. Bitter and depressed David (Doctors are the worst patients) is greeted by gregarious Paul Corton (Denny Miller), an upbeat, outgoing former athlete who is also paralyzed. Paul awaits news of a business loan that will give him hope for the future. When David realizes that he cannot do this alone, he finally turns to Paul and the two become friends. Paul and David ride their wheelchairs to a local bar, where they are teased by local bullies. During a bar fight, David's wheelchair is thrown down the stairs and he escapes. After his transformation, a clumsy and playful Hulk tries toto hityour numb legs to work. Even without full use of his large body, the Hulk still terrorizes the locals, and Jack McGee is right there. After that first outing of the Hulk, David starts to showimprovement- Apparently, the creature's crazy metabolism triggered a healing process in David's body that slowly reversed his condition. As David's mood improves, Pauls plummets; your loan application is rejected. In a race against time, David tries to stop Paul from doing something stupid when McGee arrives at the rehabilitation center. Sensitively and intelligently written by Kenneth Johnson, the series revisits the issue of paralysis and the stigma faced by the disabled that Paul faces when his business loan is turned down.

Observation:The reason this episode is so personal to me is because I went through something very similar after a motorcycle accident in 1994 that left me in the hospital for over two months. I fractured both my legs, my hip and my right arm in several places. Although I wasn't paralyzed per se, I couldn't feel my legs for several weeks due to temporary spinal trauma. My own rehabilitation process was very similar to David's and I felt a strong empathy with Bill Bixby's flawless performance. All I can say is that Johnson really did his homework here...

Season 5: Crushed Hulk.

Season five, which was canceled after just seven episodes, ended with a whimper, not a bang. In the early 1980s, the series faltered in the ratings when the beaten formula began to lose viewers. Even I had become a casual viewer by this point, so it was no surprise that this once-great Emmy winning streak was winding down, despite some spectacular appearances in previous years.

"A small problem."

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While I don't have any highlights or favorites from the last seven episodes of the prematurely canceled fifth season, the final episode was a typically mediocre entry in the show; David wanders through an abandoned town that has been evacuated due to a poisonous gas leak. Now he has to deal with looters. This was clearly not what producer Kenneth Johnson or anyone else on the production team had in mind for a final episode. After five years, the once-mighty Emmy Award-winning Incredible Hulk ended with a groan.

For themore time, anyway...

TV Movie Sequels.

After the series' brief cancellation at the start of season five, a trio of TV sequels followed: The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Incredible Hulk Trial (1989), and Death of the Incredible Hulk (1989). 1991). It was writer/director Kenneth Johnson, who worked hard to ground his series in everyday realism.Noinvited back to these projects (He produced another fascinating science fiction series,„Alien Nation“, based on the 1988 film🇧🇷 Without his input, the TV movie sequels went in the direction originally envisioned by network and Marvel creator Stan Lee, with greater emphasis on outrageously goofy characters and a less realistic approach to the material. The first TV movie, unimaginatively called The Incredible Hulk Returns, saw the Hulk team up with a mild-mannered scientist whose discovery of a certain Norse hammer allows him to transform into it.Thor(Erich Kramer). This was an element of Marvel Comics that the more grounded Johnson would haveOh noallowed in your series, and rightly so; The end result felt more like something out of Baywatch Nights than Johnson's Emmy-winning series. Yes, Disney Marvel Movies Can Convince Thornow, but in 1988 he looked positivehorrible.

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"The Trial of the Incredible Hulk" featured the introduction of Matt Murdock (Rex Smith), better known as Marvel's "Daredevil," the blind superhero who uses sonar-like hearing to stop villains out of court. Directed by Star Bixby (who also had a lucrative career as a television director), "Trial..." was slightly less goofy than its predecessor, but still lacked the down-to-earth realism of Johnson's series. The merciful "Death of the Incredible Hulk" finally came in 1991 after he fell out of a plane following a battle with the forces of comic book villain "Kingpin" (John Rhys-Davies). That last lackluster made-for-TV movie was little more than a Knight Rider episode without the car. Unfortunately, there would be no more options to redeem the old series. Bill Bixby, whose personal life was marked by a terrible tragedy, died two years later, in 1993, aged 59, after a long battle with cancer.

Meeting the men behind the Hulk.

Stan Lee (1922-2018), along with Jack Kirby (1917-1994), was one of the men who first introduced the Atomic Age character of "The Hulk" into Marvel lore in 1962. I read the Marvel Hulk comics in the mid-1970s, off and on, before science fiction and space operas (and girls) began to overwhelm my curiosity. I've always enjoyed the Hulk's colorful adventures in comic book panels, mostly because it's every kid's desire to rage against the bullies in their lives and defend themselves. Superheroes, like Greco-Roman gods, are modern fables and fantasies with lessons and morals for all generations. Unlike DC's grittier heroes (and heroines), Marvel's heroes have always been a little messier... like many teenagers feel when they hit puberty. Spider-Man was just a contradictory high school kid, the Fantastic Four was a dysfunctional family, and Bruce Banner/Hulk was Jekyll & Hyde. Stan Lee understood this basic human need for larger-than-life mythology very well and delivered it calmly and mawkishly.

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I was privileged to meet Stan Lee briefly at WonderCon in Anaheim in 2014. I was in amuchlong line (about three hours) for a four-second meet and greet, and I was fine with that as there was still a long line of fans behind me, all waiting for their autographs. Prior to that encounter, I saw him at several other conventions, including San Diego Comic Con, where his arrival was usually announced by a tight circle of bodyguards shouting,"Make room for Stan Lee!"as they created a human hurricane eye through the crowded halls, with Lee at its tranquil center. There isheads of statewho do not have this protection. On the other hand, many heads of state are long forgotten at the end of their terms. Stan Lee has spent a lifetime creating characters and mythologies that will live on to entertain readers and audiences for generations. I consider myself lucky to have briefly shared airspace with the man.

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San Diego Comic Con also gave me the opportunity to meet Lou Ferrigno and writer/producer/director Kenneth Johnson. I met Ferrigno at my first Comic Con in 2004, and he was still very close to his Hulk physique at the time (see the photo above🇧🇷 He autographed a copy of his paperback biography My Incredible Life as the Hulk (2003) and a photo for my sister. We didn't really talk because the loud noise in the screening room made it difficult for the hearing-impaired actor to understand anyone (As far as I know, he has been a cochlear implant recipient ever since.🇧🇷 I took my autographs and said thank you. In 2006, I had a more personal encounter with Kenneth Johnson; Watch his enthusiastic panel about his work on The Incredible Hulk (Announcement of its DVD release) and then speak to him in person both after the panel and at a book signing the following day. He appreciated my twisted sense of humor when I mentioned how he used to torment my niece with fake "lizard skin" inspired by his TV miniseries„V“(1983). We even exchanged email addresses. Johnson is a very down-to-earth guy, despite a list of TV credits that includes The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, V, Alien Nation and so many others. Basically, man createdmost of the television landscapeI liked it as a child. He is also the author of "V: The Second Generation" and "The Darwin Variant". Kenny Johnson would meet andIt is, one of my favorite memories from Comic-Con.

A more human Hulk.

One of the things I loved about The Incredible Hulk TV series as a kid was that the Hulk Out scenes were usually the icing on the dramatic cake - extrapunctuationinto an already compelling character drama. There were few visual effects of note, other than the first raw visuals that featured a green glow on Banner's face during the transformation/regression. Most of the transformations were accomplished almost entirely through white contact lenses, close-ups of torn clothing, and careful editing, as well as the mysterious,disturbingSong. The stories felt like they could happen in my own backyard. David Banner and his Hulk alter-ego didn't stop supervillains and save the universe every week; They rescued the homeless, struggling business people, women and children at risk of abuse, etc. Instead of fighting world-eating megalomaniacs on alien planets, TV's Hulk helped save a car wash from a drug dealer. The adventures wereMenschScalable and relatable... something that is lacking in Marvel's current crop of issues.

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Kenneth Johnson's seedy, low-budget series didn't have the benefits of today's visual effects to expand the scope of its storytelling. This forced the series to be more inventive. Yes, sometimes episodes are based on archival footage, usually from other Universal films (Never Give a Trucker an Even Break used tons of footage from the 1971 duel), but then the visuals existedsupport, supportthe human drama, not muchcrythis. Today's Marvel movies are filled with many good A-list actors (Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie usw.), but the actors spend most of their time hanging from wire frames in front of green screens. The newer movies only allow a few precious moments to delve deep into the characters before firing CGI lasers at an army of CGI robots. As I enjoy the spectacle, emotion andEnergyfrom the current Marvel live-action universe, I also miss the days when the Hulk was just a bodybuilder dressed in green - this Hulk seemed to be so much more somehowrealI. Mark Ruffalo is an Oscar-caliber actor, but his Banner/Hulk is mostly played for laughs. I really miss the seething intensity of Bill Bixby, who always played straight – these situations felt real to him and often felt real.mich🇧🇷 Actor Ed Norton admirably tried to bring back some of Bixby's intensity for The Incredible Hulk (2008) (He even referenced the television series in several on-screen jokes.), but sadly he was replaced by 2012's The Avengers.

In short, The Incredible Hulk TV series transformed the primary color panels and storyline of the comics into an earthy palette based on everyday reality. What the TV series lacked in visual effects, it made up for in its raw state.Ernst.

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All 5 seasons of The Incredible Hulk are available on DVD from Amazon.com. The series is also available to stream on Tubi.com and download on Amazon Prime. Dear readers, I wish you and all your loved ones good health and strength in the current corona pandemic. The current number of COVID-related deaths in the United States is over602.000at the time this book was written. Several vaccines are now available and vaccination is widespread (Furious!), which isthe death rate in the US has dropped dramatically(although the new Delta variant is cause for concern🇧🇷 If there is some skepticism about vaccination, it may take a little longer before final herd immunity is achieved. Even if you are vaccinated, it may still be possible to get the coronavirus, although your chances of getting it are slim to none. So if you haven't already,Please get vaccinated as soon as possible.and let's immunize our way out of the COVID pandemic.

"The Incredible Hulk" (1977-1982); A look back at Marvel's first hit TV adaptation... (28)


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