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The Incredible Hulk: The Complete First Season - science fiction television series DVD / action and adventure TV DVD review
THE INCREDIBLE HULK: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 5 stars
Featuring: Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin, Michael Santiago, Gerald McRaney
Directors: Alan J. Levi, Kenneth Johnson   Studio: Universal Studios
DVD release: 18 July 2006   Runtime: 692 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: Box set, Dolby, DVD, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
Features: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), Subtitles (Spanish), Audio commentary (entire cast), Best of Season 1 featuring cast intros, Sneak peek Season 3 sketches

*The Beast Within* - THE INCREDIBLE HULK Season OneWithout question, one of the best television adaptations of a comic book ever was The Incredible Hulk. It starred the late Bill Bixby as Dr. David Bruce Banner, a man who struggled with the loss of his wife after a horrific car accident in which he was unable to free her. The good doctor is haunted by this incident and conducts a study where he hears story after story of average citizens under extraordinary situations being suddenly possessed of superhuman strength to get themselves (and loved ones) out of danger.

After these interview sessions, Banner is overwhelmed with determination: he must find out why they had the this power and he didn't. He postulates it has something to do with sun spots that correlate on the precise day these events happened to those people. To test his hypothesis, Banner subjects himself to an extreme overdose of gamma radiation; much to his chagrin, nothing is immediately noticeable.

That is, until he drives home. It's a torrential downpour and he has a flat tire. Banner gets out of the car, goes to the trunk and gets the jack, but when it slips off the nut and he hurts his hand, the experiment shows its color - and that color would be green.Yes, the mild-mannered doctor transforms into a seven-foot green-hued hulk portrayed by Lou Ferrigno.

This 4-disc set includes both pilot episodes (which were shown as 2-part "Movies of the Week" in 1977) and the full 10 episodes from its initial 1978 run:
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • A Death in the Family (Parts I & II)
  • The Final Round
  • The Beast Within
  • Of Guilt, Models, and Murder
  • Terror in Times Square
  • 747
  • Hulk Breaks Las Vegas
  • Never Give a Trucker an Even Break
  • Life and Death
  • Earthquakes Happen
  • The Waterfront Story
The fourth disc contains a preview of Season Two, showing the episodes "Ricky" and "A Child in Need." Also, there is a commentary track by writer/director/producer Kenneth Johnson.

The highlights start off with the pilot episode. The opening montage, with its sweeping shots and emotional string music, not only sets up Banner's whole backstory but does so with pathos. It's set up to be a serious drama (mostly) with the only fantastical element being the Hulk. Because Bill Bixby brought such gravitas to the role of Banner, there is a strong foundation for things to be as realistic as they can when it comes to that portion of the show, making it not only incredible but credible.

Of course, I can't forget to mention Jack Colvin as Jack McGhee, the newspaper reporter who goes on stake his whole career on tracking down the Hulk. Funny thing was, he was on Banner's case even before there was a Hulk; McGhee wanted an interview with Banner on his testing but was bluntly refused. The pain-in-the-neck Mcghee would serve as an integral part of the show, creating conflict and interesting scenarios as, at times, McGhee is closer to Banner than he thinks.

The stand-out episodes are the pilot episode, "The Terror in Times Square" (gives you a glimpse of old New York), and "747," where Banner is forced to land a plane and has to resist the metmorphosis for as long as he can - and he does stay in mid-transformation for longer than usual but ultimately goes full hulk. But there is good variation throughout the season. In "Never Give a Trucker an Even Break," there is less emphasis on Banner seeking out a cure. Instead, it's filled with lots and lots of action through stunt driving and creative camera work. Overall, this is a great package and well worth the investment.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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