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DVD Review HTF DVD REVIEW: The Incredible Hulk - The Complete Series (1 Viewer)

The 1960's

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Thank you Frankie and I hear you. Most of my collection was acquired over 25 years ago before the prices went through the roof. They were costly back then but nothing like present day. I was a vintage dealer for 38 years and whenever I purchased collections I'd put aside the cream of the crop for myself. Hope you get that 1971 ‘Cuda 440 someday!
 
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ScottRE

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Definitely agree with you, HubbaBubbaKid. There is no way TIH would have been as good or well-received if it had been a straight super-hero show featuring Hulk fighting super-villains/monsters/robots every week. I agree they wouldn't have had the money to do this anyway. But - even if they wanted to try, the limited special effects of the era & the limited budget of a network TV series would have definitely hindered the look of the show. Also agree that, as the years went by - the series would have aged poorly due to this.

Sure, sci-fi shows of that time like Battlestar Galactica had decent effects - but, series like this were hugely expensive & didn't always last long due to the prohibitive budget (BG got cancelled after only 1 season).

So, it's certain that TIH wouldn't have lasted for five seasons under those circumstances. And, while the kid in me would have strongly preferred a show more similar to the Marvel comic, the adult in me completely realizes that the more realistic approach the writers/producers of the show took was best.

I do remember some late '80's TIH TV movies that were more super-hero oriented (IIRC Thor was in one of them). But - due to the limited effects of the time - I wasn't impressed.

Yes, I clearly remember "The Lonely Man" theme song of the show, which typically played near the end?! of the episodes, when David Banner was walking away - alone - down the road/highway. I agree this set the tone for the show perfectly. (IIRC, the soundtrack in the 2008 TIH film featured a snippet of this). I just heard this for the first time in years, and it was very nostalgic. Here's an extended version of this great theme:


Whether or not Johnson wants to (or can publicly) admit it, The Incredible Hulk had a lot more in common with The Fugitive than Les Miserables. The template was followed too exactly. Maybe he was told under penalty of lawsuit to never admit it. It would be the only “inspiration” he didn’t cop to in his shows. He never claimed any great originality, just that he put his own real-world spin on established concepts. I loved most of his shows and The Incredible Hulk was my favorite as a kid. When my dad told me about The Fugitive, he said “it’s the same as your show just without the green guy.” And he was 100% correct.

The Incredible Hulk was one of the most expensive shows on at the time. CBS kept trying to knock the Hulk Outs to one per episode, but Johnson stuck to his formula. The two-parters were granted larger budgets and usually the Hulk Outs only went to three rather than four. So that must have helped. So there was no chance on Earth this series would emulate the comics. Every show that tried was either a joke or just awful. TIH was as good as it was thanks to the tried and true formula it adopted. I found the series first, which got me into comics. I was put off by the comic book Hulk. He wouldn’t shut up and Banner was barely a character. But over time, I grew to love the entire Marvel universe.

This series was very special to me. I was obsessed with it and adored the two part episodes. Remember when those were special events? "OMG this is a two parter!" Banner would get married, lose his memory and spend two weeks with McGee, get captured by the government or meet an older version of a man who was a Hulk like creature. None of them were just padding. They were important things which happened to Banner. Man, seeing him stuck mid-transformation was such a treat.

Joe Harnell's music, not just the theme but the underscore, was a major factor in making the series great. He honed his TV scoring on The Bionic Woman but polished it to a fine sheen for The Incredible Hulk (his score for V is a masterpiece).

Yes, Battlestar Galactica had decent effects: like about 10 minutes of them which were use and reused for the entire run of the series. Even the three hour premiere exhausted the battle forage by the 2/3 mark. Still love the series, but these shows looked great but couldn’t support themselves. Even TIH used a lot of Universal movie footage and stuff from the tour.
 

LeeBob

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When I started watching The Fugitive for the very first time recently, I was immediately strongly reminded of a TV show I used to sporadically watch as a kid, The Incredible Hulk (1977-1982). The storyline of David Bruce Banner drifting from town to town because of his terrible "secret" (and also needing to escape his past), and his relentless pursuit by reporter Jack McGee - was obviously directly inspired by The Fugitive.
When I began watching the Incredible Hulk, I was not familiar with The Fugitive. I thought the show was a homage to a 1974-75 Saturday morning show called "Run Joe Run." Joe was a German Shepard, falsely accused of a crime who was on the run and helped those he encountered in each weeks episode. Little did I know at the time that RJR was a rip-off of the Fugitive.
 

The Drifter

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Glad that others have fond memories of TIH. I really like The Fugitive "connection", and find that it gives TIH series a poignancy it may otherwise not have had. As I posted earlier, it's this story structure that is making me want to re-visit the show as an adult.

Conversely, if this was a poorly-made super-hero series with cheap effects, I would probably not want to see this again.

In thinking back on the show, I recently remembered that I had seen more of this than I initially thought. Though I didn't watch much of the series when it was originally broadcast in the evenings (first-run), I do remember that I saw numerous episodes when it was being re-run on week-day mornings one summer.

I also remember that I had the Hulk "Mego" action figure during this time.

And, there was also an interesting "Hulk Rage Cage" toy that was in stores when the show was on; the Hulk had a white shirt. I never had this, but do remember an episode featuring the Hulk in a steel cage in the desert; this was definitely a dream sequence David Banner was having. I don't know which came first; the Rage Cage toy - or the episode.


 
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HubbaBubbaKid

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another show that debuted after the hulk during this time period w/ the fugitive template was Lucan w/Kevin Brodie. its based on L’Enfaunt Sauvage by Francois Truffaut and other stories/legends of feral children raised by animals. it morphs into a Fugitive type show after the pilot movie. i‘d never heard of it much less seen it until i got the Warner Archive set and i recommend it if you like the fugitive setup and the style of the late 70’s.
 

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Other shows in the same vein as The Fugitive:

The Phoenix - came and went in a few weeks and was kinda weird, but I remember enjoying it.
Starman - what a great show. I really wish this hung on a little longer.
The Immortal - I did a detailed write up of my feelings on this gem. Probably the most blatant of the "Fugitive" copycats, at least plotwise, even going so far as to rewrite a few episodes.
Hot Pursuit - Ken Johnson's return to the format. I don't remember it.
Logan's Run - I loved the series even though it kinda stinks
Planet of the Apes - I loved the series even though it kinda stinks

Shows with the format in the mix a little but not the main thrust of the series.

The A-Team: it shows up in a few episodes here and there, to my recollection. Mostly it's about these guys being hired to not be hit by bullets.
Galactica 1980 - sweet muscular Jesus....

The Incredible Hulk, though, was the most popular that had the guy on the run searching for the end of his plight while being perused by a guy who mistakenly believes the title character murdered someone. There's no way Ken Johnson didn't think of The Fugitive. Veljean stole bread, he wasn't accused of murdering the priest on the way out.
 
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The Drifter

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Though it's taken me a while, I finally started watching TIH series on the DVD sets. I've seen the first two "TV movies" on the first disk of S01 - The Pilot, and "A Death in the Family". This is my first time watching the show since the early '80's.

"A Death in the Family" is especially well-done.
It involves David "Bruce" Banner helping a seemingly disabled/sick woman whose step-mother & family doctor are intentionally poisoning her & trying to make her dependent on them - in order to eventually kill her, so they can inherit her $. Banner is hired on as a farm-hand, and quickly realizes what is going on. He eventually convinces the initially reluctant woman that her "family" is out to harm her, and - as The Hulk - gets her away from their clutches..

This TV movie featured four great "Hulk-outs", including one where he beat up some thugs/bullies & almost completely destroyed a wooden cabin in the process; and another where he fought a large bear. A humorous scene here was when he completely lifted the bear up & threw it across a lake, like a rag doll - LOL.

The story-line somewhat reminded me of "The Homecoming", one of the best episodes in S01 of The Fugitive. Since TIH's basic story-line is similar to TF's in many ways - this obviously wasn't coincidental.

Excellent show, and it has definitely aged well. As I said in previous posts, it was a good decision by the writers/producers to have the series/Hulk character more rooted in "reality" instead of trying to make it too superhero-ish - which definitely would not have worked due to the special effects/budget limitations of the time.

Some other obvious differences between the TV show and the comic book mythology:

-In the Pilot, Dr. David "Bruce" Banner was trying to figure out how to tap into human's "hidden reserves" of strength - specifically that mysterious ability which enabled some people to save others in moments of extreme danger, etc. This is because he was wracked with guilt over unsuccessfully being able to save his wife from a car accident the year before. In doing this research, he intentionally irradiates himself with gamma radiation - therefore causing the Hulk transformation to occur when he's angry.

This is similar (but still distinctly different) - from the comic book story-line, in which Dr. Banner accidentally got irradiated with gamma radiation when trying to save an innocent bystander (Rick Jones) during a gamma test in the desert.

-The Hulk in the show can be hurt (and supposedly killed) by gunfire & other ways. However, if he is hurt/shot while The Hulk, when he turns back to Banner the wound is already in the process of rapidly healing.

Conversely, in the comic The Hulk's green skin was completely bullet-proof.

Technical review:

So far, the DVD PQ is decent, though somewhat "soft" in some scenes. It could stand some improvement. I would definitely be all for the series & post-series TV movies being put on Region 1 Blu-ray. I'm sure it would look great in HD.

-
 
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Bryan^H

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Awesome. I have the Blu-Ray set, and pretty impressed with the quality. Love this show. It never would have worked without Bill Bixby...or Lou Ferigno for that matter.
 

ScottRE

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So far, the DVD PQ is decent, though somewhat "soft" in some scenes. It could stand some improvement. I would definitely be all for the series & post-series TV movies being put on Region 1 Blu-ray. I'm sure it would look great in HD.

-
This is one of my all-time favorite series and I would love a US blu ray release of it. Regarding the softness, John McPherson's cinematography did lean toward the diffused side. You can see it in V as well. It really added a degree of reality to it and felt something like Jeffrey Unsworth's work in Superman. I'm wondering if that's what you're seeing...
 

The Drifter

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Recently finished TIH S01. It was a short season; the DVD set only included the two TWO movies (The Pilot & "A Death in the Family, which I believe had initially been two episodes) and 10 stand-alone episodes. Excellent season! Some of the more notable individual episodes:

-"Final Round": Banner forms a friendship with aspiring boxer Henry "Rocky" Welsh (Martin Kove from Karate Kid I-II; Cobra Kai) after Henry saves him from a group of thugs. Henry gets Banner a job working at the gym where he trains. And, Banner quickly realizes that Henry is working for criminals in order to get a chance to fight in local boxing match - and tries to stop him from getting in any deeper with them.
Great scene when the Hulk "interrupts" the boxing match in front of a huge audience.

-"747" - one of the best episodes in the series; I remember seeing this on regular TV back in the day. Banner is flying to Chicago to meet with a doctor there, and the plane is hijacked. The pilots are incapacitated, and Banner ends up having to successfully land the plane -
even though his Hulk transformation happens in the middle of doing so.

-"Earthquakes Happen" - Banner pretends to be someone else in order to get access to a nuclear power plan that is studying gamma radiation. While there, an earthquake occurs - trapping Banner and others in the plant, and putting everyone in the area at risk due to the possibility of a melt-down.

The above two episodes were obviously in line with a lot of the "disaster" movies that were popular in the 1970's, i.e. Airport, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, etc.
 
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The Drifter

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General observations about the show:

-There are generally two "Hulk-outs" in each full-length episode, and more in the TV movies. The green eyes (contact lenses?!) that indicate that Banner is going to "turn" are iconic and memorable. The Hulk transformation is very cool as well, even by today's special effects standards.

-It's 'convenient' that whenever Banner changes into the Hulk, he always does this when he's in the shadows/behind something/in a dark corner/down a series of steps, etc. so that no one actually 'sees' this happen; and, no one ever connects the two together....
other than in the pilot, when his friend Elaina (who soon after dies in the lab accident) realized that Banner had become the Hulk.

-While Banner's first name was "Bruce" in the comic book, they modified this in the series so that his first name is "David".... though "David Bruce Banner" is his full name - according to his "mock" gravestone".

-Though Banner always has an endless supply of purple pants in the comic book (I guess the Hulk's green skin went well with purple), I liked the more realistic approach the show took of showing Banner is different clothing, which is obviously ripped up (except for the pants) when the Hulk transformation occurs. Though, I believe one S01 episode did feature purple pants.

-The Hulk never seems to seriously injure his assailants (or rather Banner's assailants). He usually just incapacitates them by throwing them around a room so that they crash into something; sometimes he'll throw them through a window, into water, etc. If they are seriously injured/wounded, this is rarely made obvious. I suspect this was probably due to network TV restrictions on violence ATT.

-I'm surprised that, while Jack McGee follows Banner/The Hulk all over the country & even sees him on at least one occasion in S01 (during the boxing match episode), he stupidly never carries a camera with him to take any pictures of The Hulk. I know this was in the era before digital cameras, I-phones, etc. but you would think he would carry a camera around on the off-chance he would see the Hulk so he could take a picture for his paper.

This is one of my all-time favorite series and I would love a US blu ray release of it. Regarding the softness, John McPherson's cinematography did lean toward the diffused side. You can see it in V as well. It really added a degree of reality to it and felt something like Jeffrey Unsworth's work in Superman. I'm wondering if that's what you're seeing...

Yes, this makes sense.
 
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moviebuff75

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The original title of the second pilot was RETURN OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK. The end credits had different screen credit for Marvel....just like the first pilot.
 

ScottRE

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The original title of the second pilot was RETURN OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK. The end credits had different screen credit for Marvel....just like the first pilot.
That's cool and I agree, I would love to see that restored on a US Blu Ray release. I saw the pilot when it first ran as a kid, but don't remember seeing the follow up TV movie until syndication. My memories are spotty for a bit until the second season, when I became obsessed with the series. I had Cub Scout meetings on Fridays from 7:30 - 8:30 and always missed the first half of an episode. I had my sister audio tape them for me, so I would at least know what happened at the start. But I didn't see full episodes that year until the summer or if a meeting was cancelled. They were at my own home, so I got to run right upstairs and watch.

The two part episodes were generally my favorites. I think I posted somewhere (maybe in this thread - I'm too lazy to go look) that the Hulk two-parters weren't filler episodes or padding. They were genuine events and something big always happened. Generally, though, they didn't double up the Hulk Outs to 4. They only gave us one extra. But, in episodes like Mystery Man, we had flashbacks of Hulk action, or Prometheus, we had the Banner/Hulk mix for most of it or The First with Frye's creature.
 

High C

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I'd add The Invaders, another show currently being talked about on the board, as also being based on The Fugitive template. David Vincent also was on the run, was trying to prove something that nobody believed, and it also was a Quinn Martin-produced show with many actors from his unofficial stock company and writers/producers he often used as well.
 

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