The Good

In one shot you can have the entire series run of one of the more ambitious shows from the 1980s.

The Bad

I am a big fan of gimmicks and even this was a bit gimmicky for me.

The Greatest American Hero: The Complete Series gives fans all the episodes of this somewhat under-appreciated show from the 1980s. Ralph Hinkley (William Katt) is a high school teacher who finds himself bestowed with superpowers, and then must readjust his life to deal with them. Due to his newly acquired heroic abilities, he teams up with Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) and his girlfriend Pam (Connie Selleca) to fight crime in 1980s Reagan America.

What made The Greatest American Hero such an endearing show, was the fact that Hinkley was just a normal guy who was dealing with a power that was granted to him. Who doesn't want the ability to fly? Or, the ability to be able to save the day? The only problem is how do you deal with that? Do you take on every bad situation that comes your way, or do you pick and choose and let bad things happen that could have been prevented?

This set is filled to the brim with all the episodes from it's 1981 to 1983 run. I know that it doesn't seem that long but I have a feeling that the release of The Greatest American Hero: The Complete Series is more than timely with today's need for a savior.

Features

Collectible Cape and Show Guide Book

I wasn't really sure how to take this stuff mainly because I think it's a bit too gimmicky. That being said, I think if I was a rabid fan of the show I would get this inside joke. However, the more I think about it, I do realize how cool it is for the creators of this DVD to include the kind of extras that speak more to the diehard fans than just the casual observers like myself.

Interviews

An assortment of interviews featuring Katt, Selleca, Culp, Stephen J. Cannell, and one of my favorite actors, Michael Pare. We hear a bevy of stories from how the actors got their roles in this show, to the events that transpired to give Cannell his creator position. As I am a big fan of TV moguls, I mainly watched this because of time reasons. Cannell discusses his relationship with the studio (it seemed like they were making two different shows), how he's not a "superhero guy," and how William Katt comforted him after his son died. Very good stuff here.

The Greatest American Heroine

This is the pilot episode for a spin-off show of the The Greatest American Hero that has not been available up until now. After reading the description and watching a few minutes of this, you'll certainly see why.

Video

Full Screen. These shows looked good although the effects left a bit to be desired. Interestingly, they talk about this in the featurettes and they seem to think it looked alright. Oh well, maybe I expect too much nowadays. The shows are simply shot so that there isn't much about them that stands out. Still, it looks like they have been well composed in their DVD compression.

Audio

Dolby Digital Stereo. The audio on these discs was pretty good. I didn't have to turn up the sound on my set that high at all. Also, it's sort of hard not to fall in love with this show all over again when you hear the theme song. Like the look of the DVDs image quality, there isn't much to say except that everything looks about as good as one could hope.

Package

Black collectible tin packaging is what houses all the content here. Comprised of 13 discs everything fits very nicely into this tin, which is sure to be the kind of thing that grabs the attention of fans and collectors alike. The contents are so neatly packed away that almost it is a shame that you have to rifle through them in order to enjoy what is in here. There is a decent amount of artwork both on the front and inside of this tin, but at the same time, they have again given thought to what the true fans will think is cool in regards to this layout.

Final Word

I was a fan of this show when I was younger, even if the subtleties of The Greatest American Hero play a lot better to me now. This is a really well written show and I think it further bolsters the oeuvre of creator Stephen J. Cannell. There is something about these characters that make each of them stand out. Cannell is very good at putting a bunch of different archetypes on the screen but never making what we are seeing feel jumbled or disjointed. We know who we are supposed to care about and as a result, we end up caring about everyone regardless of how big or small their roles are.

The Greatest American Hero: The Complete Series is a another timepiece from a safe period that is no longer around. However, once you hear the opening strains of the show's memorable theme, you will for a short time get to live back in the past.

The Greatest American Hero was released .