Believe it or not, it’s on DVD.
Cast and Crew
William Katt as Ralph Hinkley/Hanley
Robert Culp as Bill Maxwell
Connie Sellecca as Pam Davidson
Michael Pare as Tony Villicana
Faye Grant as Rhonda Blake
Past TV reviews can be found here.
This season originally aired in 1981.
A high school teacher and an FBI agent happen to meet shortly before aliens give the teacher a suit that grants him superpowers. Unfortunately, he loses the instruction book, which makes it difficult to use the suit properly or consistently.
“The Hit Car” really sets up Bill Maxwell and the characater dynamic, as well as bringing a genuine surprise into the mix.
The pilot to “The Greatest American Heroine” is included in the set. It’s easy to see why the spinoff never made it to the air.
Superheroes aren’t original, but a superhero this lousy at it is. This spoof was played for comedy from start to finish. I give it 4 out of 6.
The effects are awful. There’s just no other description. Really bad effects fit the tone of the show, but they’re still very, very bad. I give it 1 out of 6.
The story was good. Things were funny, particularly Culp, and the conventions of the genre are well manipulated. (The phone booth scene is a classic.) I give it 4 out of 6.
The acting ranges from very good (Robert Culp) to decent (William Katt) to just plain bad (Connie Selleca.) They all have their moments with well delivered lines, but there are times when things are just horrid for Selleca and Katt. I give it 3 out of 6.
The emotional response is wonderful. This is still a very funny show. It’s probably the lightest superhero fare I’ve seen. Highly enjoyable, even if you didn’t see it the first time around. I give it 5 out of 6.
The production is poor. It was lit like a sitcom, with little or no use of shadow to add character, and a lot of location shooting. The direction and editing wasn’t always the best, either. The theme song is still great, but that’s about all that really impresses today. I give it 3 out of 6.
Overall, it’s flawed, it’s cheap, and it’s corny, but that fits the tone of what they were trying to do very well. I still recommend it. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, The Greatest American Hero: Season One recieves 24 out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
The second season reaches DVD on April 5, 2005, and the third on August 9, 2005. I’ll try to budget for them and review those, too.