The Incredible Hulk (1996 TV series): Wikis

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The Incredible Hulk (1996 TV series)
22 1996 The Incredible Hulk Season 1 Title.jpg
Format Animated
Created by Stan Lee
Developed by UPN Studios
Starring Neal McDonough
Lou Ferrigno
Luke Perry
Genie Francis
Cree Summer
Narrated by Richie Johnson
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 21 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Stan Lee
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Marvel Productions in association with Saban Entertainment
Distributor Saban Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel UPN
Original run September 8, 1996 – November 23, 1997
Chronology
Preceded by The Incredible Hulk (1982 animated TV series)

The Incredible Hulk is an American animated television series starring the Marvel Comics character the Hulk. It ran two seasons, for 21 episodes, on the television network UPN from 1996 to 1997. Lou Ferrigno, who portrayed the Hulk on the 1970s live-action TV series, returned to provide the Hulk's voice.

The series continued the concept of a shared Marvel Animated Universe with numerous episodes featuring characters from other Marvel cartoons of the period. In the second season, the show's format, after UPN decided that Season 1 was too dark, was changed, and to give "female viewers a chance",[1] the network ordered that She-Hulk be made a regular co-star. As a result, the series was officially renamed The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. The second season also featured the Grey Hulk.

Contents

Series overview

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Season 1

The first season begins with Dr. Robert Bruce Banner already established as the Hulk and on the run,[2] captured by the military after another attempt at ridding himself of the beast within goes awry. He eventually escapes, and falls into the hands of The Leader (voiced by Matt Frewer), but the intervention of mutated cave dwelling gamma creatures, Banner's loyal friend Rick Jones, and the love of his life Betty Ross, is enough to liberate The Hulk and he becomes a fugitive again, with a more aggressive General Ross, Betty's father, continuing his pursuit.

Traveling across the nation and beyond, even venturing into the coldest depths of Canada, Banner meets kindred spirits also battling similar problems, fights beings of pure energy, and must endure an alliance with the Gargoyle to provide the antidote to a viral epidemic that nearly takes Betty's life and countless others. Not even his family is safe from the terror his hidden powers bring, as his best friend and cousin Jennifer Walters is critically injured by Doctor Doom, forcing Banner to give her a blood transfusion that transforms her into the She-Hulk.

Over the course of the season running sub-plots gradually unfold, centering mostly around several of the supporting cast, the season slowly covers the following:

  • Betty's attempts to construct a Gamma Neutrient Bath that will separate Banner from the Hulk with the aid of Doc Samson.
  • The Leader's fragile association with The Gargoyle slowly breaking down, shattering completely before eventually reforming before the finale.
  • The Leader succeeding in bringing to life obedient mutant Gamma Warriors.
  • General Ross' tempered alliance with Agent Gabriel Jones of S.H.I.E.L.D., a ruthless covert operative whose orders were to destroy the creature completely upon capture.

These plot threads converge in the three-part season finale "Darkness and Light", where Betty's gamble pays off and the Hulk and Banner are separated. The Hulk emerges virtually mindless and unrestrained. Banner feels responsible and confronts the creature in an armored battle suit. The Leader finally gains the power of the Hulk, but the strength drives him mad, forcing him to abandon the power and restore it to the creature.

General Ross, betrayed by Agent Jones during the finale, breaks down. Though hospitalized and in critical condition, Ross interrupts Banner's wedding ceremony and threatens to kill Banner, who suffers a cardiac arrest, the separation from the Hulk finally taking its toll. This leads Banner's friends into concluding that he and the Hulk must be merged again, or both will perish.

Ross flees, but later returns in an attempt to sabotage the re-merge experiment. He is interrupted by Rick, whom he hurls into the vat containing Banner and the Hulk. The experiment malfunctions, and the vat erupts; from it emerges a gamma-powered, hulk-like Jones, who escapes into the night, as the grieving but healthy Banner transforms into the Grey Hulk.

Season 2

The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk begins where the first season concluded, with the Grey Hulk on a rampage in the mountains, pursued by the still angry Ross. An altercation between the two results in an avalanche that puts Ross in a coma, and knocks out Banner. When Banner comes to, he is arrested and placed on trial, whilst Rick Jones, almost an afterthought, continues his own reign of terror.

Banner calls in his cousin Jennifer, the She-Hulk, to help him out in court. After defending the entire court house from an attack by the Leader and successfully locating and restoring Rick to normalcy, both Banner and Jennifer travel together, lying low.

Aside from a small continuation of the premiere episode, the season featured very little ongoing arcs, the only ones of note were the following:

  • General Ross hospitalized.
  • The Gargoyle displaying strong affections for She-Hulk.
  • Betty Ross playing no active role anymore (except in Bruce's memories).
  • Banner become more quick-witted and serene.

The remainder of the season saw Banner and Jennifer either team-up with characters such as Doctor Strange, battle Doctor Doom once more, or participate in a fight during Jennifer's high school reunion party. The Grey Hulk's mob persona of "Mr. Fixit" surfaced for a brief appearance.

The series concluded on a heavily rushed and happier note than the previous one, with Ross emerging from his coma and deciding to end his hostility towards Bruce, but little else was resolved, including Banner's inner conflicts with his green and grey Hulk transformations.

This season won an Emmy award for "best audio editing" for the work on the episode "The Lost Village."

Season 1 vs. Season 2

The first season was exceptionally dark in storytelling, with endings either bittersweet or downbeat. The demonic, supernatural motorcyclist Ghost Rider appeared in the episode "Innocent Blood," still a relatively popular character on comic-book stands at the time.

A lighter tone was introduced during the second season, reportedly at the request of the network UPN.[2] Rick Jones and Doc Samson gradually vanished, as did the Gamma cave dwellers. Betty Ross even became less of an important character. The Leader, the series' most prominent adversary, made his final appearance alongside the Gargoyle during "Fashion Warriors", in which Betty and Jennifer Walters lead a group of female scientists clad in bathing suits to battle The Leader's Gamma Mutant Warriors. The second season is regarded by many fans as inferior to the first season; following these changes the series popularity dropped and was eventually cancelled.

Following the series' cancellation, the character returned to animation in the Ultimate Avengers series of direct-to-DVD movies, and both Hulk and She-Hulk guest-starred in episodes of Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes.

Episode list

Reruns and DVD releases

The show was briefly aired on ABC Family following the release of the live-action movie in 2003, as well as a DVD release. The show also aired on Toon Disney as a part of their prime time block, Jetix. The show also became the last program to air on Toon Disney.

The series currently airs on Disney XD.

In 2008, this series was released on Region 2 DVD in the UK in by Liberation Entertainment as part of a release schedule of Marvel animated series.[3] Currentily only two volumes which contain the entire first season were released. Since then the rights then went to Lace International, following Liberation Entertainment's closure. At the present time there are no plans to release Season 2 yet.

It is currently owned and distributed by The Walt Disney Company, which acquired all Fox Kids-related properties from News Corporation and Saban International in 2001.

Cast

Main cast

Guest cast

Audio

Footnotes

External links


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