Greg Cox wrote:
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 that's just the point -- so many fans assume that quality equals fidelity to the source, but it doesn't. Johnson's TIH is proof that there's no correlation between the two, that you can diverge almost completely from the source and still do something good. Yet it's surprising that despite the popularity of TIH, the attitude that fidelity is necessary persists.
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.")
did set an influential precedent, and Wonder Woman
was in a similar vein. I guess they were closer to the source because DC comics up through the late '60s really had been pretty much like that (and it's not uncommon for mass-media adaptations to lag a decade or two behind the state of the art of the things they're adapting). But Marvel comics in the '60s had been a very different animal -- still with a lot of wacky and bizarre elements, but with lots of intelligence and sophistication and mature characterization too. And that wasn't something TV viewers or networks would've been able to reconcile with their image of comics. So I guess the only way they saw to do a comics-based drama, something non-campy, was to divorce it from the comics as much as possible.
Although Johnson wasn't trying to do The Fugitive
. Rather, he and Roy Huggins were independently doing Les Miserables
-- though Johnson crossed it with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde