The Good

While the effects are "better" today, it was this show that made me excited about the movie I feel Ang Lee ruined.

The Bad

I really would have enjoyed a behind the scenes featurette on this show.

The Incredible Hulk: The Complete First Season sees the origins of David Banner becoming his inner self as The Hulk. With only ten actual episodes of the show in this first season (the show itself ran for 5), we also get the pilot episode as well as The Incredible Hulk: Death in the Family movie. What is interesting about this show is how Banner ends up getting involved in people's lives, and how he's able to use his Hulk-like ability to achieve certain ends when it appears that justice is going to elude some people who deserve it. Another interesting aspect is how Banner was always trying to understand his condition a little better.

While today it seems like networks would opt for a younger guy who might appeal to girls more, Bill Bixby as David Banner abetted by producer Kenneth Johnson really made The Incredible Hulk something more than just a comic book adaptation.

Features

Commentary

Kenneth Johnson provides the commentary track here for "The Incredible Hulk," which according to the box cover art is actually "The Pilot." This audio track is laden with Johnson's classic ability to give lots of facts, production information and keep up with the action on the screen all at the same time. Referring to Bill Bixby as "Bix, I was impressed that Johnson wasn't afraid to come in and try and give this comic book character the depth that he did (he even changed his name from Bruce to David!). He talks about being classically trained and how "Bix" didn't want to do the show at first, but he agreed as long as Johnson would stay on as the producer. While I'm glad that he didn't change the Hulk's color (as he discussed doing), I am glad that he made this show and provided such a strong and informative commentary here.

Pilot Episode

Called the "Pilot" episode on the front cover and titled The Incredible Hulk: Death In the Family, we get to see the Hulk in action as he battles a greedy ranching family, a bear and his own demons. I thought that this "Pilot" fell out a bit from what this show was, simply because I feel that the show worked at a measured pace. It isn't that the actors or anyone is doing anything bad here, it's just differed enough from the show that it was something I noticed.

Video

Full Frame - 1.33:1. These shows don't look as dated as you might think. Sure, one can tell that Bill Bixby is obviously not the Hulk and how they get him there is a bit of camera trickery, however I don't think that the shortcomings of special effects at the time are really on display here. This show seemed to focus heavily on the characters and in doing so brought viewers more into the story. There is a clearness to the images on these DVDs that I am thankful the discs and their compression specs have preserved.

Audio

Language: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Subtitled in English. The audio on The Incredible Hulk: The Complete First Season didn't really jump out at me. There is a deliberateness to how these shows play that really grabbed my attention. While the audio seems to be used more to underscore each scene (as opposed to get us more psychologically into David Banner's mind), I found that it all came together just right to tell these stories.

Package

The cover that holds the cases which house these DVDs is pretty incredible. It's one of those pictures where we see David Banner, he starts turning into the Hulk and then he becomes the (all in one image!). Sadly, we seem to lose the middle portion of what this cover is trying to convey. The back offers up some random images from the show, a description of what The Incredible Hulk: The Complete First Season is about, a Bonus Features listing and some technical specs. All four discs are housed inside four cases which each have a cover that is a variation of the front cover box art. The back offers up one shot of all these images as well as indexes and descriptions of each episode.

Final Word

I was a big fan of this show when I was younger. Even though I don't remember too much about it as I was only five when it began airing, I remember this show being very well made. In fact they did a very good job of not making the Hulk dominant on the screen, so that when we did see him it made us that much more interested in just what this character was going to do. It was with this mindset that I went into Ang Lee's Hulk movie but sadly I came out very disappointed. I just felt that the film was a hybrid between what Lee wanted, what the studio wanted and what the fans wanted. As a result, like so many other movies, it didn't feel like anything.

The Incredible Hulk was released .