Greg Cox wrote:
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed Reeves and THE INCREDIBLE HULK tv show, but I always wished they weren't so mundane in comparison to the original comics, which were my first exposure to the characters.
Call me crazy, but watching Bill Bixby help some teenage runaway was not nearly as fun as reading the Hulk's latest battle with the Wendigo or the Leader's army of rubber androids!
But it interests me that, when there are so many fans out there who scream bloody murder about any adaptation that diverges from the original in the slightest degree (and thereby misunderstand the meaning of the word "adapt"), the Bixby Hulk
is nonetheless regarded as a superior comics-based show and is frequently referenced and homaged, even though it's the farthest thing from a faithful adaptation you could possibly get while still counting as an adaptation at all. (Well, second-farthest. The recent Human Target
series -- or as its critics called it, Human (Standing Next to the) Target
-- was the farthest.)
Well, on its own terms, the Hulk TV show was done well. Kenneth Johnson knew what kind of Hulk show he wanted to make (one without the Bi-Beast or Thunderbolt Ross) and executed it well. And, in his defense, back then costumed super-villains, diabolical deathtraps, killer robots, and so on were still pretty firmly linked in the public imagination with the campy Adam West approach. Hollywood hadn't quite figured out how to strike the right balance between, say, the BATMAN approach ("ZAP! BANG! POW!") and THE INCREDIBLE HULK approach ("Let's do the Fugitive with a big green monster.")
And it worked for the Hulk, but maybe not so much for Spider-Man or Captain America.