The Greatest American Hero

Watch The Greatest American Hero

  • TV-14
  • 1981
  • 3 Seasons
  • 7.3  (6,578)

The Greatest American Hero is a classic TV show that aired on ABC from 1981 to 1983. The show followed the adventures of a high school teacher named Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt), who gains superpowers from an alien suit, but has trouble mastering them. At the beginning of the show, Ralph is a mild-mannered teacher who is asked by aliens to help save the world. They give him a red and black suit that grants him superhuman strength, speed, and agility. However, before the aliens can fully explain how to use the suit, Ralph loses the instruction manual and is left to figure out his new abilities on his own.

Ralph is soon joined by FBI agent Bill Maxwell (played by Robert Culp), who becomes his mentor and tries to help him use his powers for good. Together, they fight crime, battle evil aliens, and try to keep Ralph's secret from getting out.

The show was notable for its blend of comedy, drama, and action. Ralph's struggles to master his powers often resulted in hilarious mishaps, but the show also tackled serious issues like drug addiction, organized crime, and government corruption.

The show's theme song, "Believe It or Not," became a popular hit and helped make The Greatest American Hero a cultural touchstone. The song's catchy melody and uplifting lyrics perfectly encapsulated the show's optimistic spirit.

Despite its popularity, the show only lasted three seasons. The third season was shortened due to a writers' strike, and the show was cancelled soon after it resumed production.

However, The Greatest American Hero remains a beloved cult classic and is remembered fondly by fans. Its mix of humor, heart, and superhero thrills still holds up today, and its influence can be seen in modern shows like The Tick and The Umbrella Academy.

The Greatest American Hero is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (42 episodes). The series first aired on March 25, 1981.

The Greatest American Hero
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Vanity Says the Preacher
13. Vanity Says the Preacher
February 4, 1983
Bill is given a Man of the Year Award by a small South American country only to return there to re-live his past and future.
12. Desperado
January 23, 1983
Ralph, Pam and Bill try to save a beautiful stallion from an obsessed rancher.
It's Only Rock 'N Roll
11. It's Only Rock 'N Roll
January 21, 1983
Ralph and Bill find themselves protecting a rock star after an attempt has been made on his life.
Wizards and Warlocks
10. Wizards and Warlocks
January 14, 1983
Ralph and Bill play a real life game of dungeons and dragons to save the life of a Middle Eastern shiek.
Space Ranger
9. Space Ranger
January 7, 1983
Ralph's unusual new student creates international chaos when his class project of building a radio telescope for tracking orbiting satellites brings the CIA and KGB down on the school.
Resurrection of Carlini
8. Resurrection of Carlini
December 17, 1982
Hinkley find himself involved in a bizarre and nightmarish escapade when he investigates murder attempts on three well known magicianswho are planning on performing three of the late great Carlini's tricks at the magic Castle on Halloween.
Heaven is in Your Genes
7. Heaven is in Your Genes
December 10, 1982
The fake death but real kidnapping of Maxwell leads Ralph on a wild chase to a tropical island, where a demented scientist plans to use Maxwell in his genetic engineering experiments -the last of which created a hideous monster.
Thirty Seconds Over Little Tokyo
6. Thirty Seconds Over Little Tokyo
December 3, 1982
Ralph and Maxwell battle sinister forces that have taken a young scientist's uncle as hostage in exchange for an advanced weapon that could dramatically shift the world's balance of power.
Live at Eleven
5. Live at Eleven
November 26, 1982
Ralph and Maxwell become embroiled in a bizarre scheme when a disgruntled news anchorman plots the terrorist takeover of a nuclear power plant to launch his political career. William Windom guest stars.
Newlywed Game
4. Newlywed Game
November 19, 1982
The biggest day in the lives of Ralph and Pam - their wedding day is made even more complicated when the President sends Ralph on a secret mission to the North Pole.
This is the One the Suit Was Meant For
3. This is the One the Suit Was Meant For
November 12, 1982
Ralph and Pam - who decide to become engaged - discover that Maxwell's gift of a tropical island vacation is a trick to use Ralph and his super suit in recovering a stolen super-secret military aircraft .
The Price is Right
2. The Price is Right
November 5, 1982
At a high school reunion, Ralph is reunited with an old friend who is now a famous quarterback. Ralph is shocked to learn that the quarterback is taking money to throw a game, until he discovers that his friend is acting under duress -- his wife is being held hostage by an unscrupulous gambler.
Divorce Venusian Style
1. Divorce Venusian Style
October 29, 1982
Ralph is critically wounded when he rescues agent Maxwell from a band of neo-Nazis, which leads to an eerie high speed chase into the desert where his alien protectors save his life and reveal the secret of operating his super-powered suit - in a dramatic face-to-face confrontation.
Where to Watch The Greatest American Hero
The Greatest American Hero is available for streaming on the ABC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Greatest American Hero on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu, Crackle, Tubi TV, Pluto TV, Peacock and Plex.
  • Premiere Date
    March 25, 1981
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (6,578)