Six years after the original Universal series ended New World Television (who were one of Marvel’s owners before Disney) relaunched the show with a made for television movie ‘The Incredible Hulk Returns’. Both Bill Bixby and the legend that is Lou Ferrigno returned along with a fairly decent budget as well.
The Incredible Hulk Returns
Still on the run from the authorities but living a peaceful life David Banner hasn’t hulked out for a couple of years but all that changes when he runs into Thor. Yes, the mighty Thor we all know and love as recent immortalised by Chris Hemsworth. This Thor however sports a questionable wardrobe and has no one near the powers that Odin’s son should have. He does however have a sense of humour and refers to The Hulk as the ‘green troll’. Sadly this was the last time we saw Jack McGee the nosy reporter played by Jack Colvin so maybe eventually he realised he didn’t like Banner when he was angry.
The Trial of The Incredible Hulk
With ‘Returns’ a big ratings success, a year later we got another TV movie with David being charged for a crime he didn’t commit hence it’s title. Enter defence attorney Matt Murdock aka Daredevil played by Street Hawk himself Rex Smith who defends Banner. You can also throw into the mix the great John Rhys-Davies as Wilton Fisk and the first ever Stan Lee ‘Marvel film’ cameo where he is a juror.
The Death of The Incredible Hulk
The final TV movie gives away the ending in its title but it’s a fun little movie involving shifty Euro-villians and Banner’s quest to finally find himself a cure. Sadly that would be the last we’d see of Bill Bixby as Banner as he sadly passed away three years later. Lou Ferrigno has continued to be The Hulk in some animated shows and had a nice little cameo with Stan Lee in Ang Lee’s version of the tale.
Of course the films are dated but this was my version of ‘The Hulk’ as I grew up with Kenneth Johnson’s TV show in the seventies so I have a real affection for it. They’re a lot of fun but don’t expect Marvel Studios style budgets. A very enjoyable blast from the past with possibly one of television’s greatest ever theme tunes.
- Starring Bill Bixby Lou Ferrigno Jack Colvin Rex Smith Eric Kramer
- Directors Nicholas Corea Bill Bixby