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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Second Season
The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Second Season
Universal // Unrated // July 17, 2007
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted July 30, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

The Incredible Hulk, based on the Marvel Comics creation of the same name created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s, debuted on CBS in a made for TV movie in 1977 before becoming a full fledged weekly series in 1978. The show ran for five seasons before it was cancelled in 1982. Despite the fact that it wasn't all that long lived a series, the show definitely developed a cult following over the years and as such, Universal has followed up their 2006 release of the complete first season with a second boxed set containing all twenty-three episodes from the second season of the show..

So what is the show all about? Well, most of us know the story of the Hulk, but for those who don't let it suffice to say that it's the story of a scientist named David Banner (Bill Bixby) who was inadvertently exposed to high levels of gamma radiation while researching the strength that lies within us all. Whenever David gets angry, he 'hulks out' and turns into a giant green skinned monster (played by Lou Ferrigno in a role that Arnold Schwarzenegger was famously turned down for) of incredible strength and very short temperment who tends to smash first and ask questions later. It's sort of like Dr. Jekyll And Mister Hyde with a little bit of Frankenstein thrown in periodically in that sometimes the Hulk is a fearsome creature, other times he is quite sympathetic in his childlike simplicity. As if turning into a giant green monster weren't bad enough for poor Banner, he's being followed from town to town by a tabloid reporter named Jack McGee (Jack Colvin).

Many of us who grew up in the late seventies and early eighties while the show was on the air were completely freaked out by the show. Whenever Banner turned into the Hulk his eyes would turn white and then slowly he'd glow and his muscles would bulge and eventually he'd be the giant green monster that the series was named after. The Hulk's make up was pretty odd too, in an unsettling sort of way, with the giant bushy eyebrows and the forehead appendages that made Ferrigno look like a cro-magnon man. Needless to say, it scared the crap out of a lot of kids at the time, but many of those same kids and plenty of people from an older demographic tuned in each week to see what kind of mess Banner would end up in, how he'd try to help the situation, and how he'd make friends only to have to get back on his way to avoid detection by the cops or by McGee before the end credits hit the screen. It was a pretty good premise for a show that, despite having aged to the point of camp these days, still proves to be genuinely good entertainment in spite of its shortcoming (obviously low budget effects, the fact that the Hulk's make up smears off sometimes, little things like that).

Here's a run down of the episodes that make up the second season p>

Married (Part One): The first season kicks off with a two part episode in which Banner heads off to Hawaii to hide out for awhile. When he's there he meets a foxy psychiatrist named Dr. Carolyn Fields (Mariette Hartley) and soon they fall in love. Eventually, however, Banner finds out that there's more to this lady than meets the eye.

Married (Part Two): After Banner and Carolyn tie the knot and pledge their eternal love to one another, a typhoon sweeps into the area and puts the entire island on emergency alert. Things do not end well for Banner and then only get worse when the Hulk shows up.

The Antowuk Horror: Banner finds himself needing a job when he moves to a small resort town that is a shadow of its formerly successful self. He takes a position at a hardware store but he gets into an argument with the owner and Hulks out! Harlan, the owner, decides that a monster could be just what the town needs to bring the tourists back and get business booming once again.

Ricky: David moves on and takes a part time job at a race track in New Mexico. There he befriends Ricky, the mentally handicapped brother of one of the drivers. Banner's friendship is tested, however, when he loses his temper and gets angry. And you know what happens when Banner gets angry...

Rainbow's End: Banner, always the man of science, gets word that a new vitamin has been developed that can help unruly horses calm down and make them tame. He decides to take a gig at a horse ranch in hopes of scoring some of these vitamins for himself thinking that they might be able to help him control his Hulk-side.

A Child In Need: Banner finds work as a gardener at an inner city school where he makes friends with a young boy who shows up for school one day with some rather suspicious looking bruises. He talks to the school nurse who says this has happened before and so David decides to make sure that the boy isn't being abused at home.

Another Path: David Banner is still desperate to control the beast that lives within him and as such he's willing to try anything even if the odds are slim. As such, when he meets up with a Chinese philosopher who specializes in nerve control techniques he starts to hope that maybe this man can help him.

Alice In Disco Land: In one of the most amazing episodes of the entire series, Banner takes a job at a disco where he meets Alice, a teenage girl with a drinking problem who is being taken advantage of by some local thugs. Banner moves in to help and finds he doesn't have what it takes, but he's pretty sure that the Hulk does.

Killer Instinct: One of the many bizarre jobs that Banner finds himself working is as a gopher for a football team. Here he befriends a tempermental football player with anger management issues who introduces him to the team doctor, Byron Stewart, who specializes in such things. Banner hopes this man can help but all is not as it seems.

Stop The Presses: A photographer for a lowbrow tabloid snaps a photograph of Banner. In order to stop the world from finding out that he's still alive, Banner has to race against time to stop the picture from being printed in the next issue of the magazine. Pat Morita shows up in this episode.

Escape From Los Santos: When Mrs. Mallard's husband dies under mysterious circumstances a pair of crooked police officers try to pin the blame on the poor woman. Thankfully David Banner wanders into her life and he and his big green friend get to setting things right for her.

Wild Fire: Banner thinks things might be looking up when he takes a job on an off-shore oil rig. Away from the pressures of the world and more or less left to himself he figures the chances of the Hulk emerging are slim until the rig becomes a target for some dastardly terrorists.

A Solitary Place: Banner decides to head into Mexico and hide out for a while but he's soon pulled into the world of a doctor on the run. When Banner talks to him, he finds out that a woman under his care passed away and that her father intends to avenge her death and take care of the doctor permanently.

Like A Brother: Banner takes a job at a car wash in a predominantly black neighborhood. He makes friends with one of the employees and soon finds out that this guy is being pushed around by a local dope dealer. Ernie Hudson shows up in this episode!

The Haunted: David befriends a foxy lady who needs help moving back to her childhood home which has been left to her. What David doesn't realize is that the house appears to be haunted by the restless spirit of the woman's late, lamented twin sister.

Mystery Man (Part One): David's bad luck turns out to be kind of helpful when a car accident he's in puts him in the hospital where his face is bandaged although unfortunately he's lost his memory. The reason this is handy? He has to get on a flight with none other than Jack McGee, who is unable to recognize Banner. Unfortunately, crashes are the order of the day and the plane goes down with both men onboard...

Mystery Man (Part Two): ...thankfully both men miraculously survive the plane crash and when they emerge from the wreckage they find themselves stranded way up in the mountains. A forest fire breaks out and threatens both men, and soon David's memory starts to come back a piece at a time. Once it does, you just know it won't be long before the Hulk emerges.

The Disciple: David returns visit the Chinese philosopher he befriended a few episodes back in Another Path hoping to pick up where they left off and cure himself of the curse that is the Hulk. Unfortunately the man is in very poor health and in the process of training a cop dealing with the loss of his father in the enlightened art of healing. Stacey Keach and Rick Springfield guest star!

No Escape: Banner gets busted by the man for vagrancy and he's thrown in the back of a police van with a crazy guy who thinks Banner is actually Ernest Hemmingway. They get into a scrap and Banner Hulks out and bounds off to freedom, but the crazy guy also gets away meaning that once Banner calms down he has to use his wits to bring the lunatic in. Hulk co-creator Jack Kirby has a fun cameo as a police sketch artist in this episode.

Kindered Spirits: Kim Cattrell plays Dr. Gabriel White whose team discovers some ancient remains which indicate that there may have been a Hulk thirty-thousand years ago. Banner joins up with the doctor and her expedition in hopes that what they uncover can help cure him of his condition once and for all.

The Confession: Jack McGee brings on a young, aspiring investigative reporter to help him with his ongoing series of articles about the Hulk. Things are going swimmingly until this new recruit is privy to a confession where a shy, quiet man confesses that he is in fact the Hulk. Markie Post guest stars in this episode.

The Quiet Room:Banner takes a job at a local hospital where he is employed as an orderly. Things are going okay for him until he finds out that one of the doctors in residence there is conducting unauthorized experiments on his patients. Banner tries to rat him out but the doctor has him diagnosed as insane and locked up. There's only one way he can get out of this mess, he'll have to get angry!

Vendetta Road: The season finale finds Banner hooking up with a couple named Ray and Cassie Floyd who enjoy roaming the countryside and blowing up local gas stations! It turns out that Ray's dad was killed by the company that owns the stations and so this is being down as an act of vengeance. Banner can't let them keep blowing things up though, so it's time once again to Hulk-out and save the day.

The DVD

Video:

The series was made for TV so it makes perfect sense that it was shot and shown fullframe, which is exactly how Universal presents it on DVD in this set. Surprisingly, considering the age of the material, these episodes look very good. There are some stock footage inserts used in various episodes that definitely exhibit more grain and print damage than the rest of the footage does, but thankfully the actual footage shot for the show is in very nice shape. Some film grain is present, and periodically you'll note some specks and possibly a bit of dirt here and there, but color reproduction is stronger than what you usually see on seventies television and there's a surprisingly good level of both foreground and background detail. Mpeg compression artifacts are never an issue and while there is some mild aliasing and some mild edge enhancement from time to time that you'll detect if you want to look for it, overall The Incredible Hulk arrives here in very nice shape.

Sound:

The series was recorded in an English language mono presentation and that's what we get in this set, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono across the board. Quality is fine, no problems with hiss or distortion and the levels are properly balanced throughout. The limitations of the source material show up from time to time in that the range is really limited but that isn't really a fault so much as an observation and a limitation of the technology at the time. There are no problems with the audio in this set, it's all completely satisfactory. No alternate language dubs or subtitles options are present though there are English closed captions present.

Extras:

Supplements start off with producer Kenneth Johnson's on camera video introduction in which he strolls down memory lane telling a few stories about the production and its cast. He lets loose with some interesting trivia both here and in his interesting commentary track which appears on the Married episode.

Final Thoughts:

While a few more supplements would have been a very welcome addition to this set, at least the content holds up well and even if it hasn't aged all the gracefully the series is still plenty of good, campy fun. The episodes look and sound pretty decent and the commentary track is a nice touch. The Incredible Hulk - The Complete Second Season comes recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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