The Incredible Hulk (TV series)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Doctor David Banner: physician, scientist; searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have.
Then an accidental overdose of gamma radation alters his body chemistry.
And now, when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs.
The Creature is driven by rage, and pursued by an investigative reporter.
Banner: "Mister McGee, don't make me angry. You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry."
The Creature is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. David Banner is believed to be dead; and he must let the world think that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him...

1970s-vintage Live Action Adaptation of the classic Marvel Comics character, laced thoroughly with intentional Adaptation Distillation. It starred Bill Bixby as Banner and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as his violent super-powered alter-ego.

The series was followed by three Made for TV Movies. The first was a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for a Thor series, the second was a Poorly Disguised Pilot for a Daredevil series (neither of which got made), and the last ended with the Hulk being Killed Off for Real, though this was not originally the intention, as the Hulk was going to be resurrected in a fourth film. However Bill Bixby's unfortunate and untimely death put a permanent end to any further stories in this series.

Oddly, despite the many radical changes made to the concept - ranging from the character's first name (depending upon who you talk to, either the producers didn't want an "alliterative comic-booky name", or they thought the first name "Bruce" sounded stereotypically gay) all the way up to his enemies and locale - it managed to embrace and faithfully support the core idea of the original comic book. It remains one of three superhero adaptations from the 1970s that is remembered fondly to this date, the others being Wonder Woman and Superman.

The Incredible Hulk (TV series) is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in The Incredible Hulk (TV series) include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: The show, while adding original elements and removing some themes from the comics, pretty much introduced a lot of people to the character, and the comics are probably more popular than ever. Most of the film adaptations of the character took cues from the TV Show (including the 2008 Continuity Reboot.)
  • Adventure Towns
  • Anti-Hero: Type III or IV
  • Area 51: Prometheus.
  • Bandaged Face
  • Bench Breaker: From time to time, David gets tied to a chair and then Hulks out, breaking the chair more or less automatically.
  • Big No: The Hulk's first words.
  • Butt Monkey: David, of course. Some people go their whole lives without getting into a violent confrontation. He can't walk ten feet down the street.
  • Canon Foreigner: Jack McGee, the reporter pursuing the Hulk.
  • Canon Immigrant: The entire premise. Bruce Jones' long, successful run basically is the show (with some espionage thrown in, but that only adds to the low-key, mundane vibe).
  • Clip Show: "The Mystery Man Pts. 1 and 2." Though there is some fairly significant plot development: McGee learns that the Hulk transforms into a normal man (though one whose identity he doesn't yet know).
    • Stop The Presses counts as one as well, as it details the whys and wherefores behind Jack's continuing obsession with capturing the Hulk, and actually made him seem somewhat more humanized, as we see him desperately trying to convince the paper's new boss that he has to continue his crusade to bring the creature in. Both to put an end to the creature, and hopefully to cure the man behind the monster, whom he's come to see as an individual who is as much a victim of the creature as the people he believes the Hulk murdered— despite not realizing that one of the people he believes was killed by the Hulk IS the Hulk.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: A non-film example. You can count on one hand the amount of times the name "Hulk" is used.
    • Almost Literally. David goes throughout almost the entire series never using the name beyond one or two episodes tops. Presumably, the only reason he even uses it is because the paper Jack McGee works for has more or less popularized the name. Most of the time he refers to the Hulk as "The Creature" while McGee and everyone else who knows of the creature are known to call it The Hulk, though they also sometimes call it The Creature as well.
  • Criminal Doppelganger: An episode had David Banner cross paths with a criminal who looked exactly like him (Bill Bixby with a mustache). Despite trying to frame Banner, the criminal was caught by police and attempted to weasel out of it by saying, "There's a guy who looks exactly like me." The police dismissed the idea as inane.
  • Cursed with Awesome: As much as his hulk condition has made David's life a complete shambles as a fugitive, the only reason he survives his adventures, or recovers from paralysis, is by transforming into the Hulk in times of need.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Renee in "Haunted," whose twin sister drowned when they were children; she pretended to be the dead sister because everyone liked her more.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker
  • Downer Ending: The Hulk falls out of a plane and transforms back into David, who dies. All of his years of searching for a cure were in vain, the only way he could be free from his condition was to die.
  • Dumb Muscle
  • Ending Theme: "The Lonely Man," perhaps the only one that is more famous than the opening theme.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through: Averted due to a mindboggling case of Obfuscating Stupidity. One would tend to think that two mutated giants duking it out on the middle of a crowded area would cause people to clear out in a hurry. Not so much.
  • Evil Counterpart: "The First"
  • Gone Horribly Wrong
  • Handicapped Badass: Li Sung of "Another Path" and "The Disciple."
  • Healing Factor: While not as dramatic in as the original comic, the Hulk can recover from nearly any injury and with incredible speed. This is most obvious in the episode where Banner was paralyzed and then transforms; you see the Hulk flop around unable to understand why he can't stand while his healing power obviously goes into overdrive repairing his severed spine to enable the Hulk to walk within seconds.
    • And yet, the Hulk (not Banner) was unable to survive falling out of a helicopter. This made due the fact that the helicopter exploded in mid-flight.
      • Dr. Banner had been partway through the process of curing himself, so the Hulk no longer had the sheer durability or the level of healing factor needed to survive the impact.
      • Ironically, had Bixby not died, a fourth made for TV movie would have seen Banner resurrected, and with the ability to control his Hulk power, according to The Other Wiki. Apparently dying didn't exactly cure him. It just would have made it so that Banner could control himself when he transformed....that and actually talk, something the Hulk really didn't do outside of the two part episode Prometheus when Banner was trapped halfway between human and Hulk.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Hey, it's Sherlock Holmes as playboy James Joslin! (Jeremy Brett in episode "Of Guilt, Models, and Murder".)
  • Hot-Blooded
  • I Love Nuclear Power
  • Inspector Javert: Jack McGee
  • Intrepid Reporter: Jack McGee is a complicated example. McGee may be chasing a tabloid-like tale of a giant green monster (and gets mocked for it by his colleagues), but he's keen on reporting the truth. On occasion he reports on other breaking news and scandals that deserve coverage. Furthermore, when a hunter offers to kill the Hulk, McGee is the most adamant against that for the sake of the human containing the creature. Other episodes show his fellow journalists in less-than-flattering lights.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Of the Hulking Out variety (but of course!)
  • Live Action Adaptation
  • The Lonely Piano: The ending piece, literally entitled The Lonely Man.
  • Marvel Universe.
  • Mobstacle Course: David must run one in "Rainbow's End." Of course, they can get pretty frustrating...
  • Most Dangerous Game: One classic episode had Banner trapped on an island with a wealthy retired hunter who becomes delighted when he first sees the transformation:

"I saw that beast you turned into David, unbelievable! What was it, how do you do it? It was magnificent, David, magnificent! Make it come back? You hear me, David! Make it come back!"

  • Mr. Vice Guy: In this case, Wrath.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sometimes David felt it best to hide his education. Not everyone was fooled.
  • Oh Crap: The usual reaction by the Mooks in each episode when they are beating up on Banner and suddenly a giant green monster appears with a tremendous roar.
  • Opening Narration (the article's header quotation)
  • Partial Transformation: In "Prometheus", where Dr. Banner gets stuck halfway between himself and the Hulk.
  • Pet the Dog: The "savage" Hulk almost always gets a moment where he proves he's just a big softy at heart.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot (the TV movies The Incredible Hulk Returns and Trial of the Incredible Hulk were obvious pilots for undeveloped TV series for Thor and Daredevil respectively)
    • The episode "The Disciple" was potentially a pilot for a series about the martial artist private detective played by Rick Springfield. It never got off the ground.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: In one episode, David had a job as a trainer/medic at a pro wrestling arena. The wrestlers got along with each other well enough, but inside the ring it was all real.
  • Punishment Box: in the episode "The Slam." David gets put in one. Strangely enough, he doesn't Hulk Out. Another prisoner in the box next door tells him how to survive: find a rock to suck on, put your head in the least exposed place possible, and don't move around.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Hilariously used when David was trying to report to the police, and the operator had him go through several operations to reach the police. Of course this happened:

Operator: "Please deposit 25 cents for the first three minutes".
David (looking through his change): "I don't have 25 cents!!"

    • Bad enough when he hulks out in anger as a result.
  • Rashomon Style: In "Of Guilt, Models and Murder," David comes out of a Hulk episode next to a dead body, and subsequently hears several different accounts of how the woman was killed.
  • Recycled in Space: Many of the people who look back on the show today are quick to point out, favorably, that the show was basically Kung Fu with superpowers!
  • Roar Before Beating
  • Simple Score of Sadness: The closing theme, "The Lonely Man".
  • Split Personality: Not necessarily. The Hulk is still David Banner, just regressed to an animalistic state. Which is why the Hulk refuses to kill people, and protects and responds to people who are important to David.
  • Stern Chase
  • Sue Donym: Dr. Banner always, ALWAYS uses his real first name and a last name starting with the letter 'B'.
  • Superhero
  • Themed Aliases: David Banner always used a last name that started with a B. David Banner to David Bradley, etc. The only time he didn't use that was when he ran in to his Identical Stranger, a mobster named Mike Cassidy, and he tried to use that to get out of a scrape. Banner uses the Mike Cassidy alias when he comes face-to-face with his personal Inspector Javert, Jack McGee, who up until the moment he sees him thinks Banner is dead. Banner uses one of his usual aliases when running into the mobsters looking for Cassidy, but they don't believe him.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: Intrepid Reporter Jack McGee at one point has a tranq gun to use on the Hulk. Sure enough, the Hulk shows up and McGee shoots him, to seemingly no effect even though he uses several darts. After the Hulk grabs & destroys the gun and runs off, he starts being affected.
    • It manages to avert Instant Sedation. McGee accidentally shoots himself, but he's able to chase the Hulk for a little while before he falls unconscious.
  • Unstoppable Rage
  • Walking the Earth
  • Wolverine Publicity: The Hulk also appeared in pilots for Spinoffs based on Daredevil and Thor in an obvious effort to boost their popularity. Neither show ended up being produced.
  • Wrench Wench: Irene in "Ricky."
  • Wrongly Accused