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A primary complaint about this TV show is that it wasn't like the comic
book. Whether or not the TV show was like the comic book is irrelevant. The
Hulk performed physical feats in the comic that would have been impossible
to duplicate when this series was running, and comic books are so simplistic
and often violent, they never would have allowed it on prime time
That said, the Incredible Hulk was a good TV show with strong acting by Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno that was, mostly, harmless fun for the whole family. The Hulk represented a kind of "Elephant Man" character, who certainly looks scary, but is genuinely kind and gentle and wants to help people in trouble (sort of a one man A-Team). I don't remember him ever seriously hurting anyone, and most of the physical parts involved him bending gun barrels so they couldn't be fired or turning cars over on their roofs. With the kind of strength the Hulk had, he could have torn people in half, but he settled for bending steel piping around them and leaving them helpless for the police to take to jail. He was gentle with animals and young people as well as old.
The story is a very sad one: Bixby, playing scientist David Banner, is stuck in a life on the run from an obsessed reporter who wants to become famous by photographing the Hulk. Banner and the Hulk represent the ultimate misunderstood hero/antihero: someone who is a better person than most of us are, yet is persecuted because of other people's misunderstandings.
Harmless fun for the whole family, and some good lessons for youngsters about kindness and not judging others for their appearance.
I grew up watching this show very faithfully every Friday night during its run on CBS from 1978 to 1982. It may have been altered from the comic book, but I couldn't care less. This was my favorite show. Bill Bixby, God rest his soul, was so terrific as Dr. David Banner I can't imagine another actor playing that part. Lou Ferrigno was almost the closest thing we would have to a real, breathing Hulk on this Earth. You'd think it was the real deal if you watched enough episodes of this classic. And Jack Colvin, another treasured loss to mourn since his passing in 2005, was so perfect in his role of hyperactive nosy tabloid reporter Jack McGee. He never caught the Hulk or even found out the truth that Banner was still alive at all during the series run. One of a number of disappointments in my life watching this show. Another one was that Banner never got his cure that he so hungered for. He came close sometimes, but never did. And Hulk never did a chance to speak any during the show. It would've been so cool to hear the big green dude say a few words. Instead he would roar and often cry. What a shame. This show fares tons better than the 2003 Ang Lee movie, which would have been better probably if Bill Bixby had not died and maybe did a nice cameo. It did have a short scene with Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee as security guards which was okay, but too darn short. I think that the show also fared better than the three reunion movies that later aired on NBC in 1988, 1989, and 1990. They promised some more, but they never came to be due to Bill Bilxby's needless and tragic cancer death in 1993. In closing, all I can say is that this show will always rock. And The Hulk is still the man. Love him.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK series was much like the series KUNG FU -- a sympathetic humanitarian and seemingly meek outcast rights wrongs using his very special abilities. However, THE INCREDIBLE HULK ran for 5 years with only three regular cast members. I am not sure if any other long running TV drama ever had a smaller cast.
Interestingly, Bill Bixby's COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER co-star Brandon Cruz appeared in the first season of the HULK in the episode "747."
Bixby oozed charm and charisma, and made believable the idea that he could so easily win trust and find employment in a new town each and every week.
The music was exceptional. Among the best Hollywood TV has ever produced.
I have such nostalgic memories of this growing up. I look back on it now and
I think the series itself holds up really well. A few things I would like to
When David went back to himself after a change.....his clothes were always evenly ripped and cut....as if someone had cut them with scissors!!!
David Banner could have been one of the most talented guys on the planet. The amount of different jobs and trades he had were endless!!!
Where did he get those endless supplies of brown chords, checked shirts and beige coloured jackets???
He was the most gentle, helpful and polite guy ever and wherever he went, people could not wait to pick on him. They sort of saw him as a know all!!!
He pulled more women than 007!!!
Where did he get those fake surnames......Becker, Beamon, Beddiger, Beckham, Bannon, Bander.....etc????
All of this said...what a brilliant show it was and I am proud to have grown up with it. I loved the suspense when he changed and I also felt really sorry for Dave when he was alone, walking to a new town at the end with the famous tearjerking piano music in the background!!!
Respects to the late Bill Bixby. RIP.
I did a review for the original pilot episode of this drama and I put down
my thoughts about the Hulk and Banner as characters and how the themes in
the original movie gave us things to think about. The series was the
The Hulk was a good family show. The late Bill Bixby did a wonderful job as Dr. Banner. Throughout the entire series I felt myself feeling really sorry for Banner like he was a close friend. Banner was a character who the audience could empathize with. He was a good man who travelled across the United States trying to avoid conflict for he knew that when he became the Hulk he was uncontrollable. He was pursued by ambitious reporter Jack McGee who wanted to capture the Hulk in order to become a star reporter.
Throughout the series Banner would encounter various characters who were having trouble in their lives. He would do his best to help but it would always fall to the Hulk to save the day. In a way I think this series was telling us that reason and diplomacy will only take us so far and that in the end it's down to strength to save the day.
Lou Ferrigno did a good job as the Hulk. There was an important lesson in this series;never judge anyone by what they look like. The Hulk was a good guy who always saved the day but as far as the likes of McGee were concerned the Hulk was a bad guy. In fact, McGee believed that the Hulk had killed Elaina Marks and David Banner in the original movie. So Banner did his best to avoid McGee for confrontation with him would reveal his secret.
The Hulk was in fact a good role model. He had the strength to do real damage to anyone or anything but he never killed throughout the series. On occasion he even saved the lives of bad guys who were trying to kill him. But still he was judged as a monster to be destroyed.
Philosophical thinking aside, the Hulk was a great action show. The Hulk did some amazing things throughout such as surviving a fall from a plane or tangling with a huge grizzly bear. He could not be hurt apart from the odd bullet he took.
The entire series was great. My personal favourite episodes were "The Hulk Breaks Las Vegas", "The Beast Within", "The Psychic", "The Snare" and "747."
Despite the success of The Adventures Of Superman(1952-1958), superheros at the time were thought of being silly and campy, and basically being like a Saturday morning cartoon. Their were a few mild success's with Batman(1966-1968),and Wonder Woman(1976-1979), and their was Spider-Man(1977-1979) Which was luckier then Captain America and Dr. Strange which both didn't even see a season. That is were The Incredible Hulk comes in, but you are asking yourself why did this show succeed, where so many others have failed. Simply the show took itself seriously, David Banner was cursed after an experiment goes awry, now whenever he gets mad, he becomes a 7 foot green monster, with incredible strength, and he is on the run hoping to find cure for his transformation, and not be captured by Jack McGee, the reporter who is obsessed with capturing him. The late Bill Bixby was great has David Banner, no good actor could have pulled it off the way he did. and Lou Ferrigno was also good has the angry but sensitive monster. And Jack Colvin is terrific has the noisy reporter Jack McGee. Just remember this show brought back the superhero genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'The Incredible Hulk' television series was the inspiration for a
long-running joke in the U.K. It went as follows: "why does the Hulk
always sound so angry? You would too if your body grew to three times
its normal size and yet your trousers stayed the same.". Everyone from
Ken Dodd to Eddie Large used it in their act at one time or other. I
only mention it because it gives you an idea how popular this series
was in the late '70's/early '80's.
Loosely based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, 'T.I.H.' told the story of Dr.David Banner ( Bill Bixby ), a brilliant scientist who got an accidental overdose of gamma radiation during an experiment, and then when stressed out turned into the Hulk - a grotesque, powerful monster with skin the colour of vomit and a tendency towards mindless destruction. This being a family show, of course, he wasn't too violent, and dealt with the bad guys usually by picking them up and hurling them into rivers. He also got through a lot of shirts during the course of the series.
Banner was thought to have perished when his lab blew up, but a nosey reporter by the name of 'McGee' ( Jack Colvin ) was keen to get at the truth and so dogged him every step of the way, a sort of 'Lieutenant Gerard' to Banner's 'Richard Kimble'.
Each week, Banner turned up in a different location, got a job ( altering his surname so that it still began with 'B' ), became involved with a local problem, which he then solved by 'Hulking out'. Perhaps the show should have been retitled 'The Incredible Social Worker'.
The Hulk, as a rule, only made two appearances per episode, with Bixby's 'Banner' carrying the show. The actor was familiar to viewers thanks to 'My Favourite Martian' and 'The Magician'. I always felt that he was an underrated performer who sadly never got the parts he deserved. I'm sure he could not have been too pleased when the script for the 'Hulk' pilot landed on his doormat, but to his credit, he brought a quiet dignity to the role, much as Richard Basehart did with 'Admiral Nelson' in 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'. Jack Colvin ( another underrated actor ) was equally excellent as 'McGee'. One of the best episodes - 'Proof Positive' - had McGee ( Banner did not appear that week ) explaining his motivations for hunting the creature. Muscle-man Lou Ferrigno proved the perfect embodiment of the Hulk. Much better than any C.G.I. rubbish.
Critics in the U.K. reacted with disbelief when 'T.I.H.' first appeared. Margaret Forwood of 'The Sun' said that it was 'even sillier than the Man From Atlantis', while another likened the Hulk to the 'Jolly Green Giant'.
The public ignored the complaints and made the show a hit that ran for five years. I personally found it a refreshing change of pace after the high campery of superhero shows such as 'Batman' and 'Wonder Woman'.
A trio of Hulk T.V. movies cropped up at the end of the '80's, but they were not much good. The first two featured ludicrous versions of two other Marvel characters - 'The Mighty Thor' and 'Daredevil'.
More recently, we have had Ang Lee's 'Hulk' ( 2003 ) and now a new one starring Edward Norton. But for me Dr.Banner will always be wearing flares and keeping an eye out for that guy from 'The National Register'.
I remember watching this series growing up, and feeling so bad for poor
David Banner, who was played to perfection by the late Bill Bixby;
without him, this series would not have worked, and would likely be
forgotten. He was able to convey the melancholy plight of this man
remarkably well, and was aided immeasurably by Joe Harnell's haunting
and poignant piano theme "The Lonely Man", which suited his performance
perfectly. The sight of David walking away alone on another road,
duffel bag over his shoulder, as he hitchhikes or walks into the next
episode is so powerful it can make the viewer cry, yet Bixby portrayed
David with dignity and respect to balance out the pathos.
It should be mentioned that Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno was highly effective in his performance and huge body made him perfect casting. Creator Kenneth Johnson was inspired to present this premise seriously, and ground the plots and action in reality. The contribution of these men should not be overlooked! A great pity this series was canceled without proper closure, but it is available on DVD, so can be viewed and appreciated by all.
The famous "Lonely Man" theme from "The Incredible Hulk" is one of the
saddest things I've ever listened to. Seeing Bill Bixby hitchhike away from
another town the Hulk smashed was always dramatic.
Okay, sure this show is like "The Fugitive", but I don't see Richard Kimble turning into a green monster every week. Bill Bixby turns in the performance of a lifetime, and even Jack McGee (the reporter who's after him) is shown in a few episodes to be a decent guy at heart.
Every week, David Banner would search desperately for a cure, and every week he'd help some person in need (similar to other traveling angel shows like "Quantum Leap" and "The Pretender"). Lou Ferrigno is a great Hulk.
I faithfully watched this show as a kid and I've come to appreciate it
more as an adult.
Bill Bixby plays the role of David/Bruce Banner perfectly. As a kid I always wanted to be like him and as an adult I really admire his acting.
The only real complaint I have is the action. The Hulk is far from super human in most scenes (he mostly grows and throws chairs, which just about anybody could do). And they use the worst trick in the 70's TV play book; slow motion. The Six Million Dollar Man started it, and The Incredible Hulk copied it, having the Hulk do everything in slow motion. It's less than impressive and actually makes the action scenes less interesting than the conflicts that David/Bruce gets into.
But the plots were well written, and the show had a lot of lasting drama that has remained with me years later. Great show.
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