The Incredible Hulk: Season 3
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Primetime Emmy Award Nominee Bill Bixby and the iconic Lou Ferrigno return as The Incredible Hulk in Season Three of the action-packed, unforgettable series! Rejoin heroic scientist David Banner (Bixby) as he continues his quest to find a cure that will stop his transformations into the enraged Hulk (Ferrigno). This 5-disc set includes all 23 exciting episodes and all-new bonus content featuring show creator Kenneth Johnson. Joining The Hulk on his mysterious journeys are impressive guest stars, including Fred Ward (Tremors) and Robert Davi (Profiler). Don't make him angry—take home Season Three today!
The Incredible Hulk's third season (1979-1980) continued to cultivate the intriguing mix of melancholy drama and room-wrecking action that initially attracted its audience, while exploring new ways to tell the story of David Banner (Bill Bixby) and his quest to tame the monster (Lou Ferrigno) inside him. Most of the episodes follow the Fugitive-like framework of the previous seasons, with Banner becoming entangled in dramas both big and small on his lonely journey; over the course of the third season, he rescues a glam rock singer (Mackenzie Phillips) in the season opener "Metamorphosis", gets blackmailed by mobsters in "Nine Hours," and winds up on a chain gang in "The Slam" (actor Charles Napier, who provided the growls for the Hulk in later seasons, is among the episode's guest stars). But the creators also stepped away from the formula for several episodes, including "Proof Positive," which gives a back story to dogged reporter Jack McGee and a terrific showcase for actor Jack Colvin; "Homecoming" also fleshes out Banner's history by introducing his family in a Thanksgiving setting, which is naturally disrupted by the arrival of the Hulk. The season is not without its false notes ("Behind the Wheel" has Banner turning into the Hulk while attempting to deliver a baby), but for the most part, it's one of the show's most solid seasons, anchored as always by Bixby's enormously empathetic performance. The five-DVD set includes all 23 episodes of The Incredible Hulk's third season, as well as an informative featurette, "Remembering The Incredible Hulk: An American Classic." The 18-minute extra includes interviews with series creator Kenneth Johnson and several of the show's writers and producers, who discuss the challenges of keeping the show fresh in its third season, as well as the personal tragedies incurred by Bixby during its production. A brief promotion for the Incredible Hulk theatrical release, which includes clips from the movie and a chat with star Edward Norton, rounds out the extras. --Paul Gaita
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"Mystery Man" which were stretched to feature length. Here the episode "Homecoming" could easily have been a two-parter. David finds his way back home and makes up with his sister and father, whom he had always blamed for the death of his mother. It's a great episode which only fault is that it's too short.
Some great highlights here include "The Snare" and "The Psychic" which are two outstanding episodes. "The Snare" lifts it's plot from the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" which has been filmed several times. A recluse hunter on a remote island invites David to spend the night and before you know it David is fighting for his life for the hunter has become bored with hunting animals. "The Psychic" is very emotional with some incredibly sad overtones. Bixby's former wife Brenda Benet plays the psychic, who can see what David becomes and she also forsees Jack McGee's imminent death. Those who know something about Bixby's life will know that Benet committed suicide excactly one year after the death of their son Christopher. "The Psychic" aired shortly after Benet and Bixby had gone through a tough divorce. Both give exceptional performances here.
Some episodes which are considered lulls I actually found very entertaining. "Blind Rage" was a thrilling episode where David becomes blind, "The Slam" was an entertaining episode where David gets arrested and sent to a work camp. That episode also stars Robert Davi and Charles Napier. Softer episodes such as "Long Road Home" and "Falling Angels", which are considered not good, well I found them very entertaining.
"Broken Image", "Death Mask" and "Equinox" are also outstanding episodes. "Broken Image" is the one where Banner and McGee meet face to face, "Death Mask" is where Banner is suspected of multiple murders and "Equinox" is the one where McGee corners Banner in a costume party. They're all great. It's also great to see a whole episode devoted entirely to Jack McGee in "Proof Positive" and the late Jack Colvin excels there, as always.
The guest stars in the Third Season are much better than in the previous two seasons. There's much more consistency in the acting department here with supporting actors and that's one of the things that particularly plagued the Second Season. Bradford Dillman was a great villain in "The Snare", Paul Koslo is especially appealing in "The Long Road Home", Robert Hogan is marvellous as the scam artist in the mediocre episode "The Lottery", Brenda Benet is superb in "The Psychic", Gerald McRaney is very good and creepy in "Death Mask", Marc Alaimo showed some strong acting in "Nine Hours" and John Marley was fantastic is Banner's father in "Homecoming". An episode always goes down better with good performances from it's guest stars and there's no shortage of that here.
Not many episodes were dull but if I had to name someone I'd go with "Babalao" and "Sideshow". Those were below average.
Overall, this is a strong season of The Incredible Hulk. Bill Bixby doesn't falter once as David Banner, Jack Colvin is excellent as Jack McGee and Lou Ferrigno is up to the task again.
1. Metamorphosis: A reasonable social statement about the sensationalistic side of heavy metal rock n roll which unfairly portrays its management as vampires and vultures with no care for its effects upon the youth, while missing the whole point of such music to begin with; as a way for the youth to relieve pressure on weekends without turning to actual criminal activities. The episode unfairly stereotypes the rock n roll industry, insults the intelligence of the people within it, and blames them for the violent actions made by the ignorant youth that listen to it. I'm thoroughly sick of propagandists blaming substances and mediums for the abuse and misuse of ignorant consumers. When some people don't know how to appreciate freedom like civilized adults, then that means everyone should have their freedom taken away, right? * *
2. Blind Rage: Very noteworthy case of careless toxic waste disposal by a military base which leads to blindness and death of innocent bystanders. Much more to worry about here than a few drunken kids brawling at a rock n roll concert. Banner sneaks a peak at the formula for the toxin and points the base doctor in the right direction for a cure, just before he goes blind himself and turns into the Hulk. The Hulk, of course, manages to save his eyesight, after battling a tank and a unit of soldiers on a booby-trapped obstacle course. * * *
3. Brain Child: A teenage genius sneaks away from the government goons guarding her to go looking for her mother who abandoned her years earlier. She hooks up with Banner and the goons fake a story to the local law that she was kidnapped so that they'll work harder to locate her and get her back. Unfortunately, Banner is pegged as the kidnapper, but he manages to help the girl find her mother in spite of the chase. * * *
4. The Slam: Of course, no series like this is complete without the case of the corrupt southern prison-camp way out in the rural boondocks. Prisoners do long sentences for misdemeanors and simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they're used as slave-laborers while the prison collects the payment for services rendered. Banner is arrested for picking an apple from a tree. * *
5. My Favorite Magician: Ray Walston, who played Uncle Martin in My Favorite Martian during the early 60s, which also had Bill Bixby as the nephew, plays an over-the-hill average magician and hooks up with Banner while doing a show and seeking to help his female ex-assistant, who is being preyed upon by a fake Romeo who plans on stealing her wealthy estate for the mob he works for.
6. Jake: Banner works with a rodeo and gets mixed up with brothers who own a rig and are being bullied by modern-day cattle-rustlers. One of them is sick with a serious illness but insists on working and ignoring his health, while Banner tries to convince him to see a doctor. *
7. Behind the Wheel: A big city cab company owner suckers Banner into driving for her without telling him that a loan-shark and a gang are sabotaging the business, forcing her to turn it over to them because she cannot pay back the loan and is in debt over her head. Of course, illegal drugs are involved also. * * *
8. Homecoming: Banner visits his sister and father at the farm where he grew up, mixes it up with lots of emotional flashbacks, and tries to save the farm from a genetically-engineered bug that threatens to destroy the staple crops. A corporate tycoon is behind the engineering with plans to force the local farmers to sell so that he can build a city. * * * *
9. The Snare: A thoroughly spoiled-brat independently wealthy hunter lures Banner to a private island where he hunts game for sport, and decides to hunt Banner for sport also. Of course, after Banner turns into the Hulk, the man is overwhelmed with the thrill of his life-time, and determined to force Banner to change again for his amusement under humiliation and torture. * * *
10. Babalao: New Orleans Mardi Gras season is the setting and hoodoo con-artists using scare-tactics and fear to prey upon the local working-class poor is the theme. I dunno how much lower anyone can get than this. The people in this have next to nothing to begin with; why do they waste their time shaking the pennies from their pockets? Banner works with the local goody-two-shoes doctor who runs a clinic while the hoodoo con-artists try to run her out of business. *
11. Captive Night: Banner works in a city department store over-night doing inventory with a sales-girl and one security-guard when an ex-employee sneaks in the back with his big-brother ex-con to rob the safe. Things don't go so well for the cons when they mix up with the 3 night-workers and then discover that the old safe has been replaced by a large upgraded safe with a time-lock. * * *
12. Broken Image: Banner is mistaken for a thief in hiding who looks just like him and the law chases him into the hands of the guys he stole the money from. The Hulk gets him out, but the real thief latches on a plan to use Banner to help him disappear. * * * *
13. Proof Positive: A day in the life of Jack McGee, star reporter and hunter of the Hulk. While the publisher is on a honeymoon in the south seas, his college-brat daughter takes over and tries to reform the paper to fit her tastes. Lots of friction ensues when she insists upon dropping the Hulk story and exposes it as an obsession with McGee. * * * *
14. Sideshow: Banner goes to work for a group of female carnival dancers and helps one who is being harrassed and terrorized by a god-fearing old man who blames her for the loss of his son. * *
15. Long Run Home: Banner gets a ride from a motorcyclist who is heading away from a gang to a farm but the gang is involved in gun-running over the borders and they think he snitched on them after the ATF breaks up a business deal. * * *
16. Falling Angels: Banner runs into some young female orphans, gets a job working with their orphanage, and learns they are being taught to steal for the guy that oversees the place. * *
17. The Lottery: Banner befriends a guy who runs a newstand in the big city, hangs out with him at his place for a few days, and wins big in the local lottery. Banner can't collect the money, convinces his friend to collect it for him, and the guy disappears with the money. Banner locates him in the top suite of a high-rise hotel running a con as a Latin-American General selling offshore oil-well rights to a couple of small-time oil tycoons. * * * *
18. The Psychic: Banner gets blamed, as the Hulk, for the life-threatening injury of a teenager and a psychic who touches him and discovers his secret calls Jack McGee to turn him in for the reward. Later, when she sees Banner in the hospital waiting-room, she sees something else about him and changes her mind. The two become friends but then the boy dies and Banner is broken up inside, until she tells him that Jack McGee is going to be killed and they both go to his rescue. * * *
19. A Rock and a Hard Place: Banner stays at the house of an old woman with mysterious criminal roots from way-back around prohibition in the early 20th century, not realizing that she still has criminal plans. After she uses him to deliver dynamite without him knowing it and he's caught by the feds, the feds use him to spy on her. I dunno where they come up with this stuff. *
20. Deathmask: While working at the library of a college in a rural college-town, a series of murders of young blonde female college students occurs and Banner is mistaken for the killer. The chief of police holds him in a secure room at the police-station and interrogates him, trying to get him to confess. But the interrogation goes on for 2 days and nights and eventually, the police chief (played by Gerald McRaney) starts to talk to him about philosophical, social, and psychological subjects, while recognizing that Banner possesses a college-level intellect and gives him respect and understanding. Excellent psychopathological case-study by Gerald McRaney, definitely one of his best performances. * * * *
21. Equinox: Banner gets trapped on an island at the estate of a wealthy spoiled-brat heiress during her Equinox Party and Jack McGee sneaks onto the island and into the party to look for him. Meanwhile, someone tries to kill the spoiled-brat, and of course, Banner is blamed. * *
22. Nine Hours: A young boy in a city ghetto gets kidnapped by mobsters to use in exchange for Banner's help getting into the hospital he works at night to kill an old mob-boss who plans on turning state-evidence to the feds. * * *
23. On the Line: Banner is drafted to work with forest-service fire-fighters and learns that someone is setting the fires intentionally. Jack McGee gets a job on the line after learning the Hulk was seen in the area. * *
* One star = Poor, * * Two stars = Okay, * * * Three stars = Good, * * * * Four stars = Very Good.