The Greatest American Hero: Season 1, Episode 1

The Greatest American Hero (18 Mar. 1981)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 69 users  
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The Pilot episode of the series. School teacher Ralph Hinkley meets FBI agent Bill Maxwell on a field trip to the desert, where they are met by a UFO that gives them a mission and a red ... See full summary »



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Title: The Greatest American Hero (18 Mar 1981)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Taft
Nelson Corey
Ned Wilson ...
Col. Shackleford
John Mackie
Edward Bell ...
Don Cervantes ...
Robby Weaver ...
Brandon Williams ...
Brother Michael


The Pilot episode of the series. School teacher Ralph Hinkley meets FBI agent Bill Maxwell on a field trip to the desert, where they are met by a UFO that gives them a mission and a red costume with amazing powers. The new team must then use those powers to thwart a conspiracy. Written by Preston Halcomb

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

18 March 1981 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both Bill's and Ralph's cars have disappearing/reappearing rear-view mirrors. It's most obvious during the first UFO encounter and later when Ralph is trying to get past a traffic jam on his way to court. See more »


Bill Maxwell: [to Pam] You cannot step off a roller coaster, honey, just because it's going too fast.
Ralph Hinkley: He's right. We're in this, we have to do something.
Bill Maxwell: Whoa. Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not our very first point of agreement, on anything?
Ralph Hinkley: I believe it is, Bill.
Bill Maxwell: Well, a ray of sunshine. Shall we dance?
See more »


References All in the Family (1971) See more »


Rocket Man
Written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Performed by Joey Scarbury
See more »

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User Reviews

Ralph Receives A Superpower Suit
25 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The pilot episode entitled "The Greatest American Hero" which obviously is the same as the show's title introduces us to the characters.We get to meet Ralph Hinkley,who happens to be a school teacher, and Bill Maxwell as an FBI agent.Both differ in political views and convictions with Ralph being a liberal and Bill being a conservative.

One day,both were approached by aliens who gave them a suit that would grant superpowers that would be used for the common good.And anyone who watches this show would know what happens next as Ralph quickly loses the instruction manual.The two then have to use the powers the suit gives Ralph to thwart a conspiracy for a Presidential assassination plot.This led to a mess as Ralph does not know how to use his new- found powers.

The pilot and the episodes that follow provides us an original and refreshing way to look at superheroes.Obviously,William Katt portrays Ralph extremely well that the viewer will definitely empathize for what he goes through.I give credit to him into how he plays his character straight in way that he makes the viewer laugh in way that he is not trying to.The same could be said among the other members of the cast.That is why this show could hold up at many years that it has been shown on TV.

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