DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Incredible Hulk - The Complete Fourth Season
The Incredible Hulk - The Complete Fourth Season
Universal // Unrated // June 3, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted July 2, 2008 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
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 and second seasons with this third boxed set containing all eighteen episodes from the fourth season of the show.. just in time for the new movie in theaters now (the third seasons has also arrived in stores, sharing a street date with this fourth one)!

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), who by this point in the series has become pretty obsessive in his quest to break the big story and blow Banner's secret wide open. You see, early in the series the Hulk was fingered as being responsible for murder when in reality, he was trying to save the victim. That said, who would believe that a violent green monster wasn't responsible? As such, Banner lives his life on the run and roams from town to town taking odd jobs to get by.

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).

The third season was an interesting one in that it managed to pack in a lot of character development for Banner in it without scrimping on the action and the insanity that makes the series so enjoyable. This fourth season isn't quite as strong and it starts to rely a little too heavily on gimmicks for its own good. Regardless, here's a chronological run down of the eighteen episodes that make up the complete fourth season:

Prometheus (Parts 1 & 2): This two part season premiere is an interesting one that puts David in a bit of a pickle. He hulks out to try and save a foxy blind lady from certain death, but gets stuck in the transformation process! If that weren't bad enough, he gets captured by the feds who want to use him as a guinea pig in some rather unorthodox experiments. Meanwhile, a strange meteor flies to earth, the Hulk throws rocks at an army helicopter, McGee shows up, and the foxy blind chick falls into a raging river!

Free Fall: A nasty politician wants David out of the way, permanent like, because he knows too much about his ties to crime. As such, he sabotages Banner's plane the poor guy winds up falling out of the skies with a broken parachute over a forest on fire! There's only one way he'll be able to survive this one, and that's to get angry! Some quirky carnival footage pads this one out and it's pretty cool to see the Hulk freak out and trash an airport.

Dark Side: David's experimenting on himself in hopes that he'll be able to find a cure and get rid of the Hulk once and for all. Sadly, it all goes horribly wrong and he winds up reverting to a crazed, sinister version of himself. This would be fine if he were alone in the desert or something but as luck would have it, he's currently boarding with a nice country family who are now all in very grave danger. The highlight of this episode? Watching the Hulk run amuck in a burlesque club where he bursts through a brick wall and makes trouble for the cops. He also barges in on a butcher and tosses some frozen meat around after unsuccessfully trying to eat it.

Deep Shock: David's pitching in at an electrical generating plant (named the Tres Lobos Power Plant) but soon finds himself the victim of an on the job accident! Once he's electrocuted, he finds he has psychic abilities that allow him to see into the future. The doctor's figure there's something unique about his body chemistry but wait until they find out what it is! And wait until that jerk of a power plant boss who doesn't care that his employees get hurt on the job gets a taste of what the Hulk has to offer. Meanwhile, Jack McGee tries to bribe the guards into letting him on site to investigate.

Bring Me The Head Of The Hulk: Someone has paid a mercenary one million dollars to guarantee the death of the Hulk. David, working at a laboratory where he and a foxy female doctor kinda-sorta fall for one another, offers himself up to save innocent lives but this maniac wants to kill the Hulk, not Banner, so he forces him to transform so that he can shoot him with a bazooka! There's only one person who can help this time around, but to tell you who it is would be spoiling it.

Fast Lane: David decides to drive a car across the country with a foxy blonde friend to earn some money but he doesn't know that this car is actually a conduit for a whole lot of money (a million and a half dollars, to be exact) that belongs to the mob! As such, the car is a lot hotter than he realizes but once some rival gangs start chasing after him to get the cash, he figures out what's going on and he's none too happy about it, culminating in a pretty nifty scene where the Hulk trashes a junkyard.

Goodbye, Eddie Cain: David gets setup and appears to be the man behind a complex blackmail scheme, at least that's what a slimy private detective would have us all believe. Banner soon proves his innocence, however, and he and the dick join up to bring the real criminal to justice once and for all, with a little help from everyone's favorite green-skinned goliath of course. Oh, and there's a subplot with a hot blonde chick and the Hulk throws cannons at people and trashes a Trans-Am.

King Of The Beach: This is an interesting episode as it allows Lou Ferrigno (in his first speaking role) to play a restaurant worker/amateur muscle man who enters a 'King of the Beach' bodybuilding competition. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that some of his fellow competitors are scumbags and aren't above hurting anyone who threatens their chances at winning the title.

Wax Museum: David takes a job at a wax museum full of creepy exhibits and wax statues. It's all going just swimmingly until one of the naïve owner's sneaky relatives decides he wants a piece of the action and sets him up. McGee shows up and questions a woman who is frightened of the Hulk and who witnessed Banner transform, and the Hulk shows up and trashes a bunch of weird, poorly made, wax heads.

East Winds: In one of the more ridiculous episodes of the season, David takes a new apartment only to get setup by a gang of Chinese guys who send him a mail order bride. The reason? His apartment is actually the intended hiding place of a pretty serious amount of gold worth an even more serious chunk of cash and they want it. Banner won't marry the girl, even if she is kinda hot, but the Hulk has no problem trashing the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant and throwing a bath rub through a wall.

The First (Parts 1 & 2): Banner hears an urban legend about a man-monster all too similar to his own Hulk and when he hears of a scientist who cured this creature he decides to make it his mission to find the doctor and seek out his help with his own predicament. Banner gets his wish and he finds the creature he was looking for but all is not as it seems and soon the Hulk is the only one who can save Banner from death. Of course, McGee shows up just in time for the monster brawl to witness lots of tearing pants and exploding laboratory equipment in one of the stand out episodes of the season.

The Harder They Fall: Banner gets into a pretty crappy car accident and finds himself paralyzed from the waist down. Poor guy. When he witnesses a bank robbery, he has no choice but to hulk out and save the day, whether he wants to or not. This one is pretty generic but it is interesting to see what happens to the Hulk once Banner's injury renders his legs useless.

Interview With The Hulk: McGee gets scooped by another reporter who wants to reveal the secret of the Hulk and now Banner finds himself being chased by two snooping pests at the same time. Banner tells this cat his story and soon enough a cameraman shows up, but at the same time the Hulk appears and trashes an apartment building.

Half Nelson: David becomes buddies with a midget wrestler (seriously - he has all these cool lines like 'I'm commando trained, size don't mean nuttin'!) but unfortunately this guy is a compulsive liar. He tells the wrong story to the wrong crowd and soon winds up in trouble with the local mobsters. With Banner unable to do anything, only the Hulk can help... in the ring! McGee shows up in time for the match and tries to warn people but no one will listen to him.

Danny: Banner gets involved with a man and a woman who have some problems of their own. The couple and a child are being threatened by the ex-husband's parents and they don't know what to do about it! Banner decides to step up and try to help but no sooner than that he discovers that a gang of thieves are involved, meaning it's time to hulk out and show all these fools who the boss is. Witness the Hulk knock over a water tower in front of a gun wielding maniac while saving a baby!

Patterns: The season finale finds a weird garment factory owner telling people that David Banner is his business partner - his reasoning? He owes some money to some loan sharks (he borrowed it to finance his daughter's show!) and he's figuring he can maybe shift some of the blame David's way and save his own skin. Needless to say, David gets angry and the Hulk shows up to make everything right again... sort of... will he make it before the mobsters torch the joint and kill his daughter? Will the Hulk trash a nightclub and knock those mobsters around? Is the Pope Catholic?

The fourth episode is an interesting one, just as it's a rather ridiculous one at the same time. The casting of Ferrigno in an episode as someone other than the Hulk is an interesting choice but it's really a gimmick as is having the Hulk square off against another man-monster. The writers throw in a few other outrageous twists and attention grabbers - midget wrestlers, mail order brides and a foil for McGee for example - and these prove to be a lot of fun but the character development that made the first three seasons of the series work so well is by this point, obviously on the decline. That said, this as popcorn fodder even these episodes are still really enjoyable. You can't expect much depth to a series like this for too long and as with a lot of similar shows, once ideas start running low the writers do tend to start throwing in everything but the kitchen sink just to keep the series alive. Some episodes show that tendency in this fourth season, but the novelty of the Hulk showing up and beating the snot out of the bad guys carries the material well enough that we can still overlook that.

The series remains a lot of fun and while there's no denying the camp appeal of a series like this, there's still something nostalgically magical about seeing Bixby turn into a green Ferrigno and trash the bad guys while grunting and groaning and basically just spazzing out. The acting is hammy and the plots are only a hair away from soap opera material but what matters is that this series is still enjoyable and entertaining as can be. The Incredible Hulk is pure junk food TV. It might not be healthy for you but it sure tastes great!

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:

The first disc contains an audio commentary on the two Prometheus episode courtesy of creator/producer Kenneth Johnson (who also served as writer and director on this particular two-part episode). This is a fairly interesting commentary and Johnson makes some great points, noting that the characters and relationships drive the action in the series and as such, the show had a large female fan base when it was on television years ago. He points out some interesting scene specific information and notes various shots (he's impressed with a lot of the helicopters in this episode) and he also discusses the locations used and how they used trick photography to make certain sets look considerably larger than they really were.

The rest of the extras are on disc four, starting with Creating An Iconic Character: The Hulk (9:49), which is an interview with Kenneth Johnson who mentions how their first choice for the Hulk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recommended Lou Ferrigno who got the part after Richard Kiel's tests didn't turn out. Karen Harris joins in and talks about the casting as does producer Robert Steinhauer and this winds up being a fairly interesting selection of behind the scenes stories about the importance of casting the right person to play the right part. Also included on this disc is Inside An Episode: Prometheus (which is simply a behind the scenes still gallery pertaining to that episode) and the same preview of the current Incredible Hulk movie that was found on the season three collection.

Each disc contains a 'play all' option or the option to watch an individual episode and the episodes themselves are broken up into chapters. The packaging features a neat lenticular cover and inside the keepcase (for a limited time) for disc one is a free pass to see The Incredible Hulk in theaters.

Final Thoughts:

The fourth season of The Incredible Hulk reaches new heights of goofiness but it's hard not to have a blast with this set, especially if you get all nostalgic for the series as many of us do. The audio and video quality is quite nice and the commentary over the two-part pilot episode makes for a great supplement. By this point in the series, you either like it or you don't and newbies would be advised to start with the first season. That said, established fans know they want this and Universal has done a nice job with the set. 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.

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Cruising
2. Alice, Sweet Alice
3. Day of the Outlaw
4. Night of the Creeps (Collector's Edition)
5. The Andromeda Strain (Collector's Edition)
6. Swing Time
7. The Wild Heart / Gone to Earth
8. Léon Morin, Priest
9. Cold Pursuit (4K Ultra HD)
10. South Park: The Complete Twenty-Second Season


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use