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The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Third Season

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1979-80

How strong is Hulk? So strong that "The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Third Season" holds up well after nearly 30 years. The CBS series' influence on the current film is evident, with its focus on David Banner's (Bill Bixby) tortured feelings as much as the action and adventure. Hulk is no superhero; he's a monster.

This five-disc set contains 23 episodes, each of which features Banner encountering a new set of guest stars on his lonely journey to cure himself of the curse that turns him into Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) when he's angered.

Standouts include "The Snare," a two-man update on "The Most Dangerous Game"; "My Favorite Magician," which re-teams Bixby with his old "My Favorite Martian" co-star, Ray Walston; the heist-driven "Captive Night"; and most notably, "The Psychic," which features Bixby's soon-to-be ex-wife, Brenda Benet, in the title role.

This is particularly poignant and tragic because, as a bonus documentary points out, the episode was constructed to show their 5-year-old son that his parents could get along, even if they weren't married. A year later, the boy died and a grief-stricken Benet killed herself, eerily mirroring the show's plot.

That doc offers plenty more insight into creator/producer Kenneth Johnson's approach to the season, the meddling of Universal suits with the budget, and Bixby's dedication to the character. There's also a promo featurette for the new movie, but it's the series that holds real resonance.

"?Rod Lott

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