I was very young when this show was originally broadcast, but I remember it fondly. Now available on DVD, I am getting to enjoy it all over again. I would characterize the show as an action/comedy. So there is plenty of fun, but the reason that I enjoy this show so much is the characters.
The title refers to Ralph Hinkley, the reluctant hero who makes mistakes, but always manages to make it work out in the end. There is FBI Agent Bill Maxwell, the tough-as-nails veteran who knows it all. Rounding out the three stars is Pam Davidson, the beautiful and highly intelligent lawyer who is also Ralph’s girlfriend. The dialogue between these three is just wonderful.
There is of course a high level of campiness in this show. Some of the special effects are fairly cheesy. And you can tell that the budget for this show was low, because the same effects are used over and over again. But the writing is just great.
Stephen J. Cannell created Greatest American Hero. And, I believe, that he attempted to use the show to tell stories about the human condition. What would the average person do if he were suddenly given a suit with super-powers? How would he use it? How would it change his life?
The show was cancelled after only 43 episodes (including a two hour pilot). Years later, a spin-off pilot was made called the Greatest American Heroine. For several years, there has been talk/rumors about a feature film. But in the meantime, check out those DVDs and enjoy the show!
Another DVD set I just received for my birthday. My friend Steve ordered this on Amazon from the States & I couldn’t remember any specific episodes but I sure could remember the theme.
I’ve bought a lot of TV show DVDs & browsing on-line I’ve thought once & awhile what I’d love to make it to DVD & see again. Charlie’s Angels, Dukes of Hazzard, Melrose Place. This would’ve been right near the top because 24 years later; I still know the opening verse. Even people at work remember it & have sung it to me as soon as I mentioned it.
Apart from the theme, really all I remembered about it was a curly haired, blonde guy in a daggy red suit, working with some stiff in a suit to do good.
Watching it again, I can see why I like it as a kid but as an adult, I nearly split my sides laughing at it. It was just so goodie goodie that it was ridiculous but fabulous.
This is one DVD that I’ll bring out when visitors come over!
I always liked series where the character driven is a key element to the episodes and this one is.
Ralph Hinkley, teacher, interested on people, humanist, with high moral code. Bill Maxwell, FBI agent, exceptic of people, violent, with a practical way to see life. The good sides of the same coin, the perfect partners to fight crime in a real world. Without forgetting the class and elegancy of Pam Davidson, that makes Ralph a really cool superhero who really got the girl and was able to keep her! And she is gorgeous!
Greatest American Hero was pretty much television's attempt at a comedy take on the Superman legend, like the Batman show of the 60's was. The idea itself of the alien suit being given to an Earthman was lifted from Green Lantern Hal Jordan of DC Comics, but unlike Jordan's power ring, school teacher Ralph Hinkly's suit would not respond to his will power, but rather to an instruction manual he lost in the first episode.
An interesting note: Ralph's last name, Hinkley, was pretty much ditched around the time of John Hinckley's assassination attempt on then President Reagan. The writers/producers had him referred to as "Mr. H" by his students to avoid upsetting viewers.
I am a child of the 50's but my oldest son was born in the 70's. He would watch this show all the time and dressed up like the Greatest American Hero. He would "fly" and fall down everywhere.
When the show came out in DVD, I had to buy it and watched to see if it was as funny as I recalled. Yes, it stood the test of time. I laughed until my sides were sore.
I wondered if my son remembered his fasination with Ralph Hinkley. I wondered if he recalled how much it embarrassed his father, because he would dress up endless in the custom. When you took him out in public, he would "fly" and crash like Ralph. I went to my son's home recently and there they were, DVD of the Greatest American Hero. "But of course, he is still my hero." he said. For Ralph is all to real, he is the hero that can make mistakes and still be a hero.
another great show from stephen j cannal right up there with rocford files hard castle and mc cormick and the a team the greatest american hero is a must for the people that like superhero type shows william katt & robert culp are very fine actors a must
Ralph Hinkley is the everyman.Bill maxwell is the total oppisote.Wow what a great concept for a tv show just enough humor and some great writing.A show that should have lasted longer then 3 seasons.The music in every episode was wonderful the acting was great if you thought this was a kiddie show like so many do i suggest you go watch it again. you will be very surprised.recomendation for a great episode the newlywed game :)
I think Villafan really nailed it in his review when he said that this show had one of the most original concepts ever. They really had something I have yet to see in another movie or television series, and that's very unique in this day and age of constant copycats.
Now if you're reading the reviews, then you are probably already aware of the storyline of Greatest American Hero. Okay, I admit it. Some of it sounds cheesy. But, if you'll buy the premise, it works and it works well. The show is entertaining and sticks to it's premise well. You do also have to get beyond the special effects. Many of them, especially Ralph flying, look bad by today's standards. But if you'll remember it was a TV show from 1981, you'll do just fine.
I remember this show when it premiered when I was young, It brought fun and laughter and a bit of drama into the home. It wss a show that I watched every week. I remember sitting down to watch it. The adventure that took place on the show were funny and interesting. I think that the show never really had a chance and could have been a bigger hit.
I really wish they would revive the Greatest American Hero. I was great when I was a kid and it would be great now. It could be The Greatest American Hero, the Next Generation. And William Katt could be passing on all of his knowledge and wisdow to the next Greatest American Hero. It would be pretty cool.
I remember The Greatest American Hero, I adored this hilarious series about ordinary guy Ralph Hinkley getting a magical supersuit from aliens (little green-guys) back in the 80's. It just makes you feel good and reminds you how wildly imaginative and cool television was in the 80's. I'm glad to see I'm not alone in remembering this show that was cut down way too early. 2 years on the air just wasn't enough. The Greatest American Hero was made in the early 80's, when the trials and tribulations of the 1970's were still somewhat fresh on peoples minds. After the Vietnam War, high gas prices, Nixon-Watergate, and two more lousy presidents, the very idea that a man in underwear and flaky cape could run around saving the world like Superman was seen as a complete joke. This was an original and great idea to explore. It was shows like this that made the 80s liveable.
how on earth did this show not only make it to air, but last more than one season. it had to be the catchy theme song. because the show was corny even by the 80's standards. i tried to watch an episode of this show a few years ago after not having seen it since i was a child, it was hard to watch.
This show took a comic book idea and made it real. For every guy who wanted to hide behind a costume and save the world, or at least picture Batman and Spider-Man in the real world, this series showed the pros and cons of superheroics and dual identities even if it had to use a UFO to do it. William Katt was basicly your All-American good guy with a gorgeous girlfriend played by Connie Selleca. Robert Culp was the gungho F.B.I. Agent, a role he played to the hilt. Supported by Faye Grant and Michael Pare, this show lasted a brief but memorable two years before we lost it. Even an attempt was made to pass the premise to a lovely young actress, but by then, the original appeal of the show had faded away.
Comedy plus superhero powers just does not work. It was so frustrating to see this guy suck so bad. He couldn't fly right, he couldn't do anything right. It was the Inspector Gadget thing all over again. What's the point of giving someone a gift if it ends up being so stupid. I know I was never suppose to take this show seriously and stuff like that but my 3-4 year old childhood memories and my original emotions for this show is what I'm going to base this review on. Now that I'm older I will not watch this show or rent the DVD's. I just have such a bitter taste in my mouth for it. Worse show ever, dumbest show ever!!! :) My older brothers use to love this crap and make me watch it.
Bill reminds me of my mentor when I was training to be an investigative news reporter in Augusta.
I love the premise of show - and while it can be cheesy - it's the way America should be and was written in a time of relative innocence.
Wish our country had true GAH "Hero"
I tought this show was ahead of it's time. One of the first super hero shows that was also funny. I did'nt remember this show that well because I was so little at the time. As soon as I start watching on dvd I remembered alot of it and how funny it was.The first season was really good because he was saving people from other people. The second season was pretty much the same. Which I tought was also great. Then they were'nt even sure if it was going to come back for a thrid season,and it did. I belive it had different writers. Which it turned out to be really awful. But all in all I really liked this show, they could have stopped after season two if they wanted to. They did'nt, which thats what I think the main reason for this show being cancelled. But this show dose have really big following now of all ages.
Greatest American Hero is about a normal guy like you and me. Hes hardworking and good at what he does. On a class field trip he gets lost and he ends up meeting a guy named Bill and they end up seeing aliens who give them a special suit and book to use.
First time I saw this show I must of been five or six years old. I was pulled in. It was like a ordinary guy being a superman of all things. Many years later im still a fan of this show. It might have to do with me being a fan of what Stephen J. Cannell has done for Tv shows in the 1980s. I have to say this has to be a trendsetter for those who are normal and want to be something extra ordinary. And do those special things that seperate you from the rest. This is right up there with believing in yourself and doing it when it matters most. Many years later I have these all on dvd. But there missing some of the original songs from the series. Something is better then nothing I guess. There has been talk of a big screen movie on and off. I know the A-Team movie is coming. I cant wait. I guess will all see what happens from here. Ill keep my fingers crossed for a GAH movie.
I stumbled a couple of weeks ago over this show and think it is hilarious. Of course, it is an 80s show and that has to be taken into account. If you want special effects like Heroes, wrong show for you. Sure, the show is somewhat cheesy and old but go ahead and take a close look.
Its pretty much above average. The cases and problems he faces and solves are clever and often funny. Above average. The writers put a lot of love in the show. William Katt plays one of the most unusual and interesting heroes ever.
He is not like Superman, he is a normal guy that has gotten this suit that gives superpowers and mastering is not that easy. Him flying is one of the most funny things ever. And seeing him grow, getting more used to it from season to season is a very nice development.
I wish they would have played this show when I was a kid here on TV, I am quite sure I would have liked it better than Knight Rider or some other shows that made it to europe.
The only bad thing that I can say is that the DVD version is missing some of the original soundtracks but thats not a problem of the show itself. I wished there were more episodes...
The show was Great! They kept it real. There was no faking it. It was a cool show that ended too early.
SJC picked all the right people for the parts. They had a great chemistry that I don't think can ever be duplicated.
But feel free to Join the Greatest American Hero fan page!
Live chat Dec 20th Details on page above.
We'd love to see you. We want to keep the show alive in out hearts and if you want the skinny on William Katt, that is the place to be.
There will never be another show like it. It was original. I mean he was a regular guy with a super suit given to him from aliens, paired with an FBI agent to help the world. and he stepped up to the plate did what he had to do.
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