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The Greatest American Hero

3 Seasons

Season 1
4.1 out of 5 stars (244) IMDb 7.4/10

The Greatest American Hero Season 1

Starring:
William Katt, Robert Culp

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Season 1

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1. The Hit Car

A mobster that Ralph and Bill put in jail is out on parole, and is seeking revenge (he knows about the suit, but everyone thinks he's crazy). He has his girlfriend pretend to be willing to be an informant against him, but only if Bill takes her in to court.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 49 minutes Release date: March 25, 1981
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2. Here's Looking At You, Kid

Hinkley's plans to spend time with Pam's parents who are visiting from Minnesota are thwarted when he is called upon to defend his country's national security.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 48 minutes Release date: April 1, 1981
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3. Saturday Night on Sunset Blvd

Maxwell and Hinkley discover that they are in the midst of international affairs that could gravely affect the world.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 49 minutes Release date: April 8, 1981
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4. Reseda Rose

Hinkley and Maxwell discover a direct link between an important spy network in charge of stealing secret weapons documents and the disappearance of one of his student's parents.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 49 minutes Release date: April 15, 1981
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5. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Maxwell enlists Hinkley's help when he finds out that his war-time hero turned L.A. cop is planning to break the law in a big way.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 49 minutes Release date: April 29, 1981
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6. Fire Man

When one of Ralph's students is suspected of arson, Ralph enlists the help of Pam and Maxwell to prove the boy's innocence.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 50 minutes Release date: May 6, 1981
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7. The Best Desk Scenario

Ralph revs up his unpredictable super powers, racing to Pam's rescue when her promotion to junior law partner becomes a death sentence after the bright young attorney discovers her boss is entangled in an underworld bribery scheme.

TV-PG CC Runtime: 49 minutes Release date: May 13, 1981
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Bonus: Pilot

A pair of strangers, liberal high-school teacher Ralph Hinkley and right-wing FBI agent Bill Maxwell, have a close encounter in the Southern California desert one night with "little green men", who give our heroes a red superhero suit.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes Release date: March 17, 1981

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Although it's now fashionable to watch a superhero struggle with his or her abilities in movies and TV, it wasn't always the case. William Katt played Ralph Hinkley an ordinary guy who is left a gift from aliens from outer space-a suit that gives its wearer the ability to fly, super strength, invisibility and much more. Suddenly, he had all these super powers but lost the owner's manual to tell him how to use it correctly. Ralph ends up flying into walls and generally having as many mishaps as a superhero could possibly have. Befriended by FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) Hinkley partners with him and decides to fight for good. These first eight episodes (including the two hour pilot ) made up the first season of the series. The two hour pilot soars with nice comedic touches by Katt, Connie Selleca and the perfect straight man in Culp. In fact, Culp plays it so seriously that it comes off almost as a parody of a government agent.

With an exceptionally good transfer, "The Greatest American Hero" looks almost as if it was invulnerable to the ravages of time. The transfers look very nice with solid blacks and color reproduction. Considering the show is twenty five years old, there are few of the flaws that one might expect. The image is occasionally soft but and has some minor analog imperfections (such as dust, dirt particularly during the effects shots) on the whole, Anchor Bay has done a meticulous job in transferring this series to DVD. The sound while limited by the technology of the time (it was broadcast in mono) has good presence with the dialogue very clear. Some minor background hiss crops up from time to time. Although the box says this is in stereo it sounds like mono to me.

We get a pilot for a spin off entitled "The Greatest American Heroine".
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Format: DVD
Schoolteacher Ralph Hinkley (William Katt) is taking his class on a field trip to the desert when their bus breaks down. Hiking back to get help, he finds FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp). His car also mysteriously dies just as a flying saucer appears. Not to worry, they come in peace. In fact, they want to help create peace on earth by giving Ralph a suit that will give him super powers. Teaming up with Bill, he sets out to right the wrongs of the world. Rounding out the trio is Pam Davidson (Connie Sellecca), Ralph's girlfriend. Just one little problem. Ralph lost the instruction book so has no idea how to control his powers.

Okay, I admit it. It sounds cheesy and stupid. But, if you'll buy the premise, it works and it works well. The show is entertaining and sticks to it's premise well. You do also have to get beyond the special effects. Many of them, especially Ralph flying, look bad by today's standards. But if you'll remember it was a TV show from 1981, you'll do just fine.

Collected here, we have the 8 episodes that were the first season, including the two-hour series premier. During the episodes, not only does Ralph struggle with his new powers, but also with how to deal with them in his life. And he truly struggles, most noticeably in "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys."

And there is also lots of humor. Great one-liners and slapstick as Ralph tries to figure things out. I especially appreciate his constantly struggle changing out of his street clothes into his suit. I can identify with that. But the humor also comes from the characters. Ralph is idealistic and Bill is cynical. Bill also has little use for Pam, even when she provides a vital piece of information. The three leads have great chemistry and pull things off admirably.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you don't know much about this particular series, it is not completely surprising. This series had some rough starts and a rough run overall. The show is about a school teacher named Ralph Hinkley who inherits a super-suit from aliens. With help from Bill Maxwell, an FBI agent, and his girlfriend Pam Davidson, he is able to use his suit to "capture the bad guys" with amazing abilities.

The show was intended to be a kind of comic book comedy. Ralph loses the instruction manual when he first receives the suit so he has to figure out how to use it as he goes along. Of course, the flying ability was originally one of the most "comical" of his powers.

The nice thing about the show was that it is family oriented. There is little to no foul language (Sometimes Ralph and Bill say "Damn", but that's about the strongest word in the series) and silly violence when Ralph throws the crooks around.

You never know what kind of powers Ralph will inherit from the suit, so anything could happen as the writers went along and continued to think up new ideas on what Ralph could do.

There were two big problems about the show. The first was that it became a major target for DC comics Warner Bros to sue over the similarity to Superman. That was an ongoing battle worthy of a comic book story in itself. The other problem was a tragic coincidence. Right when the show was beginning, that was when President Reagan had an attempted assasination by a real life man named "Hinkley". So the producer decided to briefly change Ralph's last name to HANLEY. But after a while it went back to HINKLEY. Ralph had some kind of temporary identity crisis.

Robert Culp is hilarious as Bill Maxwell and really is the best character on the show.
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