This year, comic book inspired TV show, The Incredible Hulk turns 41 years old. The hugely popular series – often cited as one of the best comic-to-TV adaptations ever produced – first hit screens in 1977 and introduced the world to the exploits of Marvel Comics’ jolly green giant.
Over the course of five seasons, 82 episodes of The Incredible Hulk were produced, charting the story of Dr. David Banner (Bill Bixby) and his attempts to cure himself of his monstrous alter-ego, the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno). Although quite a few of the 82 episodes were a little formulaic (to say the least), the show boasted many episodes which were pure TV gold.
Below is a list of the best episodes of The Incredible Hulk. For newbies and long-time fans alike, these are the go-to stories, always worth a watch.
The best episodes of The Incredible Hulk:
- The Incredible Hulk (aka The Pilot) – In this double-length opener, audiences are introduced to David Banner and the Hulk, as well as long-term foe, Jack McGee. The story sees Banner begin his transformation into the Hulk, before he is forced to go on the run for a crime he did not commit. This feature-length pilot is not only one of the best episodes of the show’s entire run, it is also one of the best TV pilots ever produced. (Season 1 Episode 1)
- 747 – While continuing his search for a cure to his transformation, Banner boards a Boeing 747 in an attempt to travel across country. En-route, he stumbles across a mid-air heist which results in disastrous consequences for all aboard. Faced with impending doom, Banner is forced to take control of the plane, bringing it into landing while trying to hold off a transformation into the Hulk. (Season 1 Episode 7)
- Married – Another double-length episode, this time as the opener of the show’s second season. Having failed to find a cure, Banner travels to Hawaii to enlist the help of Dr. Carolyn Fields – a psychologist who might be able to keep the Hulk at bay. As love blossoms between Banner and Fields things look positive, until tragedy strikes. Married is one of the saddest episodes of The Incredible Hulk, but also one of the best. (Season 2 Episode 1)
- A Child in Need – Working as a groundskeeper at a local school, Banner befriends a student, who is showing signs that all is not right at home. Concerned that the boy might be being abused by his father, Banner (with the aid of the Hulk) steps in to help out. A Child in Need is a captivating hour of television, which sheds light on domestic abuse (Season 2 Episode 5)
- Mystery Man – In Mystery Man, Banner is involved in an accident which leaves him an amnesiac. With his face wrapped in bandages and unaware of who he is, Banner thinks nothing of spending time with reporter, Jack McGee – that is until his memory starts to return and he realises the true danger of his situation. (Season 2 Episode 15 & 16)
- The Snare – Stranded on an island, after accepting a trip on a private plane, Banner finds himself an unwitting participant in a hunt – only thing is, he is the prey. Utilising his wits, his survival skills and a little bit of assistance from the Hulk, Banner finds himself locked in battle with a terrifying opponent, with death an inevitable outcome of the game. (Season 3 Episode 9)
- Prometheus – After being exposed to a radioactive meteorite, Banner finds himself stuck in mid-transformation. Unable to revert back to himself, Banner is caught in a tricky predicament – made worse when government scientists take a special interest in this unusual creature. (Season 4 Episode 1 & 2)
- Dark Side – Another transformation problem, only this time it’s caused by Banner himself. While testing yet another potential cure to his Hulk metamorphosis, Banner unleashes a darker, more primitive Hulk who poses a threat to everyone around him. (Season 4 Episode 4)
- The First – And finally, yet another two-parter, this time focusing on the existence of second Hulk. While Hulk No.2 might look a little rough around the edges (hey, this was TV on a budget), The First is another solid story packed with action and emotion, as Banner gets ever closer to finding a cure. (Season 4 Episode 12 & 13)