The Incredible Hulk was a classic superhero TV series from the 1970s starring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. IMDb ranks the best episodes of the series.
The Incredible Hulk was a classic superhero TV series from the 1970s, starring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk himself. Created by Kenneth Johnson, the mastermind behind other classic series such as V and The Bionic Woman, this series strayed away from comic-book style action and supervillains and focused more on Banner struggling with his curse and helping those he meets throughout his travels as he searches for a cure.
A fugitive on the run, David got himself into many situations relevant today, including issues such as suicide and child abuse. It was a show the whole family could enjoy, and the drama and lessons learned throughout the show’s run were just as interesting as seeing Ferrigno smash through walls or lift up cars. Here are some of IMDB’s best-rated episodes from this series.
“A Child In Need” (Season 2, Episode 5) – 8.3/10
This episode involves David’s determination to help a young boy being abused by his father. It is a serious subject matter still relevant today, and this episode depicts how a child suffering from abuse can grow up and become an abuser themselves.
The symbolism between lashing out in anger as an abuser and David’s struggle to control his own anger is apparent, and the series handles the subject in an interesting and effective manner. The tone of this episode is in keeping with many other episodes in the series, and it is a great episode for children and parents to watch together.
“Mystery Man: Part 2” (Season 2, Episode 16) – 8.3/10
This conclusion to the epic two-parter involves David slowly gaining memories back after being involved in a car accident. This episode is special because it relies on conversations between David and Jack McGee, the main antagonist of the series, which rarely occurs because McGee believes David Banner is dead.
This episode is also a milestone in the series because this is where McGee realizes that a man turns into the Hulk. From then on in the series, he is not only after the Hulk, but the man who turns into the creature himself.
“Homecoming” (Season 3, Episode 8) – 8.4/10
Because David is on the run, he always needs to come up with a different last name in each episode. In this episode, however, he can finally be David Banner.
This Thanksgiving episode involves David visiting his sister and father. It has insight into David’s upbringing, including how the death of his mother led to him having an unhealthy relationship with his father. David’s life was always a mystery, and this episode allows viewers to get to know the kind of person he was before the Hulk took over his life.
“Interview With The Hulk” (Season 4, Episode 15) – 8.4/10
This is another episode that allows David Banner to be himself. This episode, which aired much later in the series, is basically a recap of all the major events and storylines in the series. David finally gets the chance to explain his thoughts and feelings on everything that happened to him and how they affected his life.
David went through so much tragedy throughout the series, and this episode feels like therapy for the character and allows audiences who have not seen a lot of the show to catch up and understand the character’s struggles.
“The Psychic” (Season 3, Episode 18) – 8.7/10
This tragic episode involves a psychic struggling with suicidal thoughts since she cannot save everyone who dies in her predictions. After David is convinced the Hulk killed a teenager, he struggles with suicidal thoughts himself. This special episode marks an appearance by Brenda Benet as the psychic. She was married to Bill Bixby, and they filmed this episode during the time they were going through a divorce. This episode was a way for the two of them to tell their son that they could get along even though they were going through a divorce.
This is an especially dark episode because Benet herself committed suicide not long after their son died tragically. Because of their real-life history, the chemistry between Bixby and Benet is evident, and they both give top-notch performances.
“Prometheus: Part 2” (Season 4, Episode 2) – 8.8/10
The epic conclusion to this two-part season premiere involves the Hulk being captured by the government as they believe he is an alien. The episode is very well-shot, and production values are high in this conclusion. Time and care went into crafting a fun, exciting premiere for fans of the series, and it is definitely considered one of the best.
As exciting as it is to watch David tackle serious issues like abuse and anger management, it is nice to see an episode that is more in keeping with storylines that could be used in a comic book.
“Prometheus: Part 1 (Season 4, Episode 1) – 8.9/10
Part one of the season 4 premiere involves David befriending a blind woman soon before a meteor hits close to their location. The effects of the meteor cause David to be stuck in mid-transformation. It is interesting to see how someone half-human and half-creature behaves in the second half of this episode, and it ends on a very interesting and epic cliffhanger.
Viewers really feel for David in this episode. He went through so much on the show already, and this experience adds to his hopelessness, making a very compelling opener to a great season.
“The Snare” (Season 3, Episode 9) – 8.9/10
This is a fun, unique episode that was clearly influenced by the classic story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. David becomes the guest of a strange hunter on a private island. The hunter is a little sick of hunting animals and prefers the hunt of humans instead. Upon finding out that David turns into a monstrous creature, the hunter is determined to make the Hulk his latest victim.
This episode was made for pure entertainment, and the cat and mouse chase scenes make it exciting and entertaining from beginning to end.
“The First: Part 1” (Season 4, Episode 12) – 8.9/10
David turns into a terrifying green creature whenever he turns angry, but is he the only one? This episode answers that question with a story filled with suspense, a creepy atmosphere, and wonderful performances by everyone involved. Watching David interact with someone who has been through similar experiences is compelling and interesting, and the dynamic between the two is fun to watch.
Dell Frye, played by Harry Townes, is a great conflicted character in this story. David wants to be rid of the creature, while Frye wants strength and power again. It leads to a great cliffhanger ending, and the look of Frye’s alter-ego is quite terrifying for TV of that era.
“The First: Part 2” (Season 4, Episode 13) – 9.1/10
This conclusion involves Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk battling an evil Hulk. The TV series was always grounded more in reality, so it is exciting to see the Hulk battling a villain with a similar level of strength.
The performances are great, it is suspenseful, and the ending to this two-parter is satisfying. Plus, it is tragic to see David get so close to finally finding a cure only for it to be destroyed, leading to the epic showdown between good vs. evil. The episode has drama, great acting, an interesting story, and it is a highlight of the whole series.