A 20th century astronaut emerges out of 500 years of suspended animation into a future time to become Earth's greatest hero.
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1981   1980   1979  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Capt. William 'Buck' Rogers (32 episodes, 1979-1981)
...
 Colonel Wilma Deering (32 episodes, 1979-1981)
...
 Twiki / ... (31 episodes, 1979-1981)
...
 Twiki (27 episodes, 1979-1981)
...
 Dr. Elias Huer (21 episodes, 1979-1980)
Eric Server ...
 Dr. Theopolis (19 episodes, 1979-1980)
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Storyline

In 1987, NASA astronaut William "Buck" Rogers is caught in a freak accident in deep space, causing his space shuttle Ranger 3 to be blown into an orbit that returns him to Earth - over 500 years later. The combination of gases that freezes him comes close to the formula commonly used in the 25th century for preservation, and his rescuers are able to revive him. In 2491, when Buck awakens from the freezing, Earth is recovering from a nuclear war and is coming under hostile attack by the Draconian Empire. In the second season, Buck has been assigned aboard the Searcher, a starship exploring the unknown reaches of space while searching for former Earth colonies that are scattered across the galaxy. Written by <chester@sb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

20 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buck Rogers  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(37 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Peters designed the two-hour NBC film pilot, and is credited as Production Designer. MCA-Universal released the pilot as a summer film event anticipating popular (young to mid age male) audience reception; expecting the film to build a television viewing audience when the production started airing on NBC's Fall 1979 TV schedule. Universal art department's policy was to assign alternating design teams to Universal Studio TV episodic series production schedules. After the completion of the two-hour pilot, Paul Peters functioned as the supervising Production Designer over two alternating Art Director/Assistant Art Director/Set Decorator/Special Effects Supervisors/and Prop Master teams. Paul supervised the following four filmed episodes. Bill DeCinces (Universal Art Department Director) moved Paul Peters to another film project. Fred Luff had been team one's Art Director with Bill Talifero as his Assistant A.D. Bill Camden was team two's Art Director with Bonnie Scott as his Assistant A.D. With Paul Peters departure, Fred Luff became the Supervising Art Director, adding Hub Braden to head his team with Bill Talifaro as Braden's Assistant A.D. With the exception of Bill Talifaro, all of these art directors had worked together previously at NBC Burbank Color Television Tape Studios, associated with each other on shared and related television specials, game shows, syndicated programming, dramatic daily series, commercials, and network holiday events (Pasadena Rose Parade, sporting event and news specials). See more »

Goofs

Throughout the series, there are many sequences when Buck and/or Wilma would take off in one configuration of a starfighter and then different cuts would have them sitting side by side and then a moment later one in front of the other. There would also be different ships (sky sled) where they would take off in one type of ship,exterior shots show them as they fly through space in a totally different looking ship, and then either land in the same ship they took off in, or in another different looking ship. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [voiceover during narrative] The year is 1987, and NASA launches the last of America's deep space probes. In a freak mishap, Ranger 3 and its pilot, Captain William "Buck" Rogers, are blown out of their trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support systems, and returns Buck Rogers to Earth... 500 years later.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Kipp Lennon, the vocalist who sang the theme song for the pilot, can be heard singing part of it again over the closing credits to "Flight of the War Witch". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Welcome to Eltingville (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Cosmic Forces
(uncredited)
Composed by Stu Phillips
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User Reviews

I paid money to see this...
12 January 2005 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

...but I don't regret it. Not too much, anyway. Yes, it's true. When the pilot episode was given a theatrical release I went and paid good money to watch it.

Ah well.

I wasn't too thrilled at the production values, but I still enjoyed it as a stand alone film. I'd seen the B&W Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials rerun on a couple of UHF stations, and figured I'd see an upgraded reprise of Buster Crabbe's role.

What the audience got was essentially a made for TV movie that would lead to a pretty fun series. I think the other commentators have got it right; the first season of this show was just good fun. A guy tuned in to see Gerard and Gray save Earth from sundry space-vixens and other off world baddies. The most notorious being Princess Ardala, played by the very talented and alluring Pamela Hensley. With the help of Dr. Heur, Theopolis and Twiki, Buck and Wilma thwarted the villains of the 25th century.

If the viewer tuned in to see some high brow brain-candy moral wrapped in science jargon, then he had the wrong show. Late 1970's Buck Rogers was about adventure, the perils and dazzling technology of the 25th century, lusty and dangerous space-babes, all pitted against a 20th century man's mettle and his equally gallant comrades.

But that was the first season. The second season took a page out of Roddenberry's play book, and transformed into this cheap "Star Trek" knockoff, complete with a Spock-like character in the form of a man sporting a feathered wig, played by Thom Christopher. Buck was no longer bumping flirtatious intrigues with scantly clad space-babes with his daring-do, and Wilma's hard-nosed gut-driven "I am 25th Century Woman, hear me roar!" character was taken down a notch... that and she rarely wore her very appealing spandex uniform :)

In short, first season = Good: Second season = bleh.

I'm not sure what went wrong. The fist season teetered on the high-kamp abyss, but Gil Gerard and Erin Gray had a kind of relaxed and realistic chemistry that helped bring the viewer into their world. The stories were out of Hollywood Formula 101, but they were fun, thrilling, and enjoyable. The action sequences, the alluring fashions of the 25th century, the concept of a man from our time roaming the far future, scantly clad space-vixens, it all adds up to a fun show, if somewhat far fetched... then again plausibility wasn't what Buck Rogers was all about.

This show could've really gone the distance with its original formula, and should have. Why the show changed for the second season is beyond me, because it didn't need to. Part of the attraction of Buck Rogers wasn't the "science" in this science-fiction show, but Buck and Wilma's daring-do. Whoever thought otherwise, and tried to turn Buck into a more "serious" sci-fi venue, was dead wrong, and, as someone else said, quite thoroughly torpedoed the show by fixing it until it was broke.

I'm not a big Glen Larson fan. "Manimal" and "Automan" come to mind, but if I had one wish, with regards to a TV show, it would be to go back in time and see to it that Larson continued producing "Buck Rogers" as he envisioned it for the first season. Heck, maybe I could save Dorothy Lee Stratten for another guest appearance on the show. But alas we're only left with the legacy of the first and second season of this very adventurous TV series.

Well, Larson's helped relaunch BSG, and is now doing a "Knight Rider" revival... maybe he can give Buck Rogers another shot as well, only this time, if he does, let's hope he'll stick to his guns.

Until then; so long, Buck.


27 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Any chance this series ending up on Blu-Ray? redjacket1972
Attention Universal! Scene still missing from Awakening DVD SloppyMoe
People no longer think Wilma was the hottest on the show. tommifeb6
Why does Twiki say 'beedeebeedeebee'? edspace
Why the difference between seasons? mike-1871
Dr. Huer, kind of sexy? Stan-64
Discuss Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

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