Just like Iron Man and Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk animated series was canceled after two seasons when studio meddling created an inconsistent tone. The 13 episode first season, which ran from September 1996 to February 1997 on UPN as part of a Saturday morning slate on the network in conjunction with Marvel, was enjoyed by many for its darker tone and adherence to existing comic book storylines.
UPN, however, had concerns about the content and made the creators alter course to make the eight-episode The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk second season, from September 1997 to November 1997. Whereas home media releases of the show were scant, fans will be able to watch The Incredible Hulk online, streaming in full on Disney+. Featuring Lou Ferrigno, Mark Hamill and Luke Perry among many others, The Incredible Hulk animated series is one of the strongest in Marvel’s nineties animated roster.
Here’s how to watch [The Incredible Hulk] streaming online:
How to Stream ‘The Incredible Hulk’
The Incredible Hulk is one of the fan-favorite Marvel animated series that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream The Incredible Hulk and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “The Incredible Hulk”
- 5. Tap on “The Incredible Hulk”
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘The Incredible Hulk’: Overview
When Was It On TV: September 1996 – November 1997
Creators: Marvel Productions Ltd.
Starring: Lou Ferrigno, Neil McDonough, John Vernon, Mark Hamill, Luke Perry
Synopsis: Dr. Bruce Banner transforms into a green monstrosity whenever he gets too angry following a near-lethal exposure to gamma radiation, plunging him into a world of superheroes, villains, and the US government that seeks to control him.
The Incredible Hulk Plot
The Incredible Hulk hits the ground running with Dr. Bruce Banner already established as the Hulk, and on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D and General Ross. Through-out the season, Hulk and Dr. Banner must navigate S.H.I.E.L.D’s attempts to capture him, as well as a number of villains, and try and find a sense of normality among the chaos. Dr. Banner seeks to be cured of the Hulk somehow, a venture that is tragically fruitless, and in the second season the universe expands with the addition of She-Hulk.
How Many Seasons of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Are There?
Two seasons of The Incredible Hulk were produced and aired. Episodes ran from September 1996 to November 1997, with a 13 episode being followed by an eight episode season, running from a standard The Incredible Hulk storyline of Dr. Bruce Banner trying to cure himself to a more light-hearted tone in The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk Season 1
13 Episodes | September 1996 – February 1997
On the run and fighting for his life, Dr. Bruce Banner, played by Neil McDonough, is desperately trying to find a way to control the Hulk, voiced by Lou Ferrigno. He wants to settle down with Betty Ross (Philece Sampler), but General Ross (John Vernon), the Leader (Matt Frewer), and Banner’s affliction, have other ideas.
The Incredible Hulk Season 2
8 Episodes | September 1997 – November 1997
Dubbed ‘The Incredible Hulk And She-Hulk’, the second season is more comedic, and has less emphasis on over-arching stories. She-Hulk and Hulk get into various misadventures, before eventually leading to another climactic face-off with General Ross.
The Best The Incredible Hulk Episodes
The 21 episodes of The Incredible Hulk have some very exciting chapters indeed. It is, after all, the Hulk, so rage-induced action is a given, as well as some delicate drama as Dr. Bruce Banner often tries to clean up after the mean green machine.
Here’s a list of the best The Incredible Hulk episodes:
Season 1, Episode 9: “Mortal Bounds”
Dr. Banner is kidnapped by villains Gargoyle and Abomination while trying to cure a gamma virus, leading to Hulk having to call in some unexpected help – Thor, the God of Thunder. Before Thor: Ragnarok, this animated series was home to one of Hulk and Thor’s many television crossovers.
Season 1, Episode 13: “Darkness and Light, Part 3”
The entire trilogy that caps season one is good, but the final episode is the cherry on the cake. More solemn and dramatic, Banner discovers the hard way that being separated from Hulk would kill both of them, and is forced to make a hard choice about whether he wants to live or not.
Season 2, Episode 3: “Mind Over Anti-Matter”
She-Hulk has to enlist the assistance of none other that Doctor Strange to help her stop a possessed Hulk, creating one of the literally strangest team-ups in Marvel television.
Season 2, Episode 6: “Hollywood Rocks”
Fantastic Four villain Dr. Doom makes an appearance to rob equipment from Dr. Banner that protects Earth from asteroids, while She-Hulk’s acting career gets a break. An odd episode, the comedic, madcap tone make it one of the more fun episodes of the second season.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ Voice Cast
Hands down, The Incredible Hulk has some of the greatest Hollywood pedigree in all of Marvel’s animated oeuvre. Major actors took on roles for the show, well before Marvel movies were the hottest property.
Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk
The man who played the Hulk in the classic seventies live-action show returns to provide the voice for this animated series. Ferrigno, a former body-builder, has built his career on being the Hulk, and continues to be a fan-favorite at conventions and events for anyone who’s seen his Hulk performances.
Neal McDonough as Dr. Bruce Banner
The Dr. Jekyll to Ferrigno’s Mr. Hyde, McDonough provides the human element to Dr. Banner, the mild-mannered scientist trying to keep a handle on his humanity despite the monster raging inside him. An accomplished actor, fans of the CW’s Arrowverse will know him as Damian Darkh, and MCU die-hards will recognize he played a minor in Captain America: The First Avenger, among a sea of other roles.
Matt Frewer as Samuel Stern/The Leader
A scorned scientist, Stern resents Dr. Banner and tried to sabotage the Gamma test, inadvertently creating the Hulk. The Leader is the central antagonist during season one, appearing several times from the first episode to the finale, trying to capture the Hulk and Banner, and served by some loyal servants in the likes of gargoyle and Abomination. Frewer has been acting in TV and film since the eighties, having recently had bit parts in Orphan Black and Fear The Walking Dead.
John Vernon as General Ross
One of Hulk’s main adversaries in the animated series, General Ross stands for the military establishment, always looking for new ways to control, intimidate and weaponize. Before his death in 2005, Vernon had lived a long life in the acting world, having had smaller turns in movies such as Dirty Harry, Herbie Goes Bananas and the Mission: Impossible TV series.
Essentially the Soviet Hulk, Gargoyle was the green beast’s first villain. He’s since been superseded by the likes of Abomination and General Ross as central antagonists to the Hulk’s chaotic heroism, but here he’s given a recurring, spotlighted role with one of the best actors in the game. Hamill, at this point, needs no introduction. Whether it be Luke Skywalker, or Joker, or here as Gargoyle, his acting skills have been a staple of many comic book and pop culture’s fan media diet for decades now, with no sign of slowing down.
Luke Perry as Rick Jones
Early in Hulk canon, Rick Jones was the sole witness of the fact Banner and Hulk were the same being. Jones has long been one of Marvel’s sturdy sidekicks but takes on a heightened role here as a second Hulk during the season one finale. Perry, who tragically passed early in 2019, as best known as a live-action actor, having been a main cast member of Beverly Hills 90210, and later, having a resurgence of sorts with The CW’s Riverdale.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on ‘The Incredible Hulk’?
The Incredible Hulk was privy to several memorable guest stars within its two seasons. Though not as many as some other Marvel shows, heroes and villains from Marvel canon came to join the fun on the short-lived animated series.
Segue text: “Here’s a list of the most important The Incredible Hulk guest stars:”
The God of Thunder, as featured in the episode “Mortal Wounds”, becomes an unwitting ally to Hulk against the forces of evil. Fittingly, Thor is played by an alumni of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, John Rhys Davies, who played Gimli in the trilogy, and reprises his turn as Thor from the Fantastic Four cartoon.
When the Hulk is possessed, Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk has to enlist the help of Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme before he became supreme at the box office in the MCU. Still working hard in animation, LaMarche has had recurring roles in the likes of Futurama and Power Puff Girls, and movies such as Disney’s Zootopia.
Simon Templeman as Doctor Doom
Doctor Victor Von Doom is one of the most beloved Marvel villains in the comics, commonly battling the Fantastic Four. The monarch of fiction Latveria, all he seeks is for everyone to bow before his genius, and in the episode ‘Hollywood Rocks’, tries to do that using technology that protects Earth from incoming meteors. A performer across all mediums, Templeman would be mostly known today for his videogame work, having added his talents to series such as Legacy of Kain and Dragon age.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind ‘The Incredible Hulk’?
The Incredible Hulk was developed by Marvel Productions, then operating under New World Animation, under the behest of Stan Lee. The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and X-Men were each produced con-currently over the course of a few years in the early nineties, with The Incredible Hulk being made for network UPN as part of their Saturday morning slate
Tom Tataranowicz was the Supervising Producer for the first season, being the Studio Heard of Marvel Productions at the time. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are credited as creators, while a small selection of directors handled the episodes and some standard Marvel Entertainment alumni are in the executive branch. Here are the major players in The Incredible Hulk’s creation.
Tom Tataranowicz: The Incredible Hulk Supervising Producer
With Marvel, Tataranowicz’s most famous credits are this, the second seasons of Iron Man and Fantastic Four, which were both canceled shortly thereafter but who have gone on to become cult favorites. His other credits include She-Ra: Princess of Power and Biker Mice From Mars.
Ron Merrick: The Incredible Hulk Director
At eight episodes, Merrick directed the most episodes of the animated series. Having worked on the likes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers and Sonic The Hedgehog, to more recent works such as Avengers Assemble, Merrick is a well-trodden animation director and Marvel creator.
Bob Forward: The Incredible Hulk Writer
With credits on X-Men: evolution, Beast Wars: Transformers and more, Bob Forward is a successful franchise animation writer who had the most screenwriting credits on The Incredible Hulk at eight.
Avi Arad: The Incredible Hulk Executive Producer
A career Marvel developer, Avi Arad has been credited in much of Marvel TV and film ebfore it went in-house, including here for The Incredible Hulk.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby: The Incredible Hulk Creators
Stan Lee was integral to The Incredible Hulk as the face of Marvel’s business enterprise at the time. He and Kirby co-created the character, and are appropriately praised as the creators of the animated series.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
Marvel animated series were rarely discussed outside of the major hits like Spider-Man and X-Men as they aired, and as such, there’s not much in the way of press about The Incredible Hulk that was printed at the time. Some interview material with Stan Lee and other creators involved, all of whom suggesting studio politics were hard to navigate.
Where ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Ranks in the Television Pantheon
The Incredible Hulk, like Iron Man from the same period, was a good show that suffered from inconsistency. Although there wasn’t a jump of studios between seasons, there was a tonal alteration due to UPN complaining the series was too dark, skewing from character drama to comedy, and bringing in She-Hulk as network executives wanted something to draw female viewers. The series is still worthwhile because of the animation and an excellent cast, though, IGN crediting it as being one of the more comic accurate animated shows of the era.
The whole thing was anchored by Stan Lee’s focus on creativity, as evidenced in this interview in the July 1997 issue of Animation World Magazine. “The business area is where they were having problems, not with the product,” Stan said at the time. “Our shows generally do very well and our comic books are still very high quality, and that’s the most important thing as far as I’m concerned.”
‘The Incredible Hulk’ Theme Song
An intro was composed for each season – the first is a dramatic theme:
The second was made to be slightly lighter to fit the change in tone:
‘The Incredible Hulk’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. Ghost Rider Was Included in an Episode to Kick Off a Show That Never Happened
The flame-skulled biker dropped-in during season one to backdoor a solo series that, unfortunately, never materialized.
2. A Wolverine Appearance Was Scripted But Taken Out
Wolverine of the X-Men was to be included in another season one episode but was written out due to politics around the X-Men animated series.
3. The Series Won an Emmy
Season two episode “The Lost Village” was awarded an Emmy at the 1998 Emmy Award for Best Sound Editing.
4. Matt Frewer Debuted as The Leader in Iron Man
A Ron Perlman voiced Hulk appears in the animated series of Iron Man and Fantastic Four produced around the same time, and in the Iron Man appearance, Matt Frewer makes his debut as The Leader.
5. Lou Ferrigno Makes a Cameo as Himself
In the season two episode “Fashion Warriors”, Ferrigno makes a brief appearance as himself towards the start.
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