A 20th century astronaut is revived out of 500 years of suspended animation to become the greatest hero of a future Earth.
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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>

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Release Date:

20 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buck Rogers  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(37 episodes)

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was originally intended to air as a series of two-hour television movies but NBC opted for a weekly series instead. This accounts for the number of two-part episodes that aired during the first season. 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

The opening credits for the first season finale "Flight of the War Witch" differ from the credit sequences for the rest of the season's episodes (except the pilot). After the show title appears there follows a succession of short scenes from this episode as well as from the TV version of the pilot (including the episode). After about 20 seconds, the credits resume as normal. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Pod People (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Cosmic Forces
(uncredited)
Composed by Stu Phillips
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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable Hokum, Until Things Got Serious...
16 May 2006 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

What do you do when you served as Executive Producer to one of the decade's most expensive failures, and you have all these leftover props, costumes, sets, and special effects film footage lying around? If you're Glen Larson, and the failed series was "Battlestar Galactica", you consider producing another Science Fiction-themed series, less pretentious and more 'audience-friendly', that can utilize all the surplus...

...and in a very real sense, that's how "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" came to television, in 1979! Based, originally, on a 1928 short story, 'Buck Rogers' achieved his greatest fame in comic strips, radio, and a movie serial in the 1930s, but by 1979, the character had been 'retired' for 28 years, and Larson knew he could 'update' the story without arousing much controversy. The 'new' Buck was an astronaut piloting the last of Earth's 'Deep Space' probes, Ranger 3, in 1987(!), which was thrown off-course by a cosmic disturbance, and damaged, entering a centuries-long looping orbit back to Earth, and releasing a mix of gases that placed Rogers into suspended animation for 500 years. Revived by the evil Draconian Empire, Rogers soon is returned to an Earth in ruins after a nuclear holocaust, where he gradually earns the government's trust, and becomes a civilian 'troubleshooter', using his 20th century wiles to save Mankind, again and again.

Casting was essential for the series to succeed, and Larson made an inspired choice in Gil Gerard, 36, as the lead. Ruggedly handsome, Gerard combined maturity with a boyish charm, and an ability to make even the most risqué remark seem unoffensive (and the series pilot, released theatrically, had a LOT of risqué remarks!) As Wilma Deering, a Colonel in Earth's Defense Force, Erin Gray, 29, was a bit wooden, but gloriously beautiful, and wholesomely sexy; Tim O'Connor, 52, as wise Dr. Huer, provided kind stability and statesman-like wisdom to the mix, and a goofy little robot, "Twiki", voiced by Mel Blanc, gave the kids something to enjoy (although he would utter an occasional risqué or ethnic aside, as well).

The first season of "Buck Rogers", while certainly not 'Classic TV', offered an entertaining mix of adventure and comedy, with stories that intentionally avoided the 'heaviness' that plagued "Galactica". Rogers would face a variety of galactic terrorists, dictators, and madmen, fend off advances by a variety of scantily-clad women, and maintain a "Will they or Won't they?" relationship with Deering. High points were the guest appearances by Pamela Hensley as the evil but vampy Drackonian Princess Ardala, in huge head wear (and little else), and, in a wonderful cameo, the legendary Buster Crabbe, who'd played both "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon" in the 1930s, as 'Brigadier Gordon'.

While ratings were mediocre, at best, the series was renewed for a second season...and all the mistakes of "Galactica" were repeated, when the Earth-centered series was dropped, in favor of a starship-based, 'serious' adventure, as Buck and Wilma joined in a "Galactica"-like search for 'lost' tribes of humans who'd fled Earth at the time of the Holocaust. Why was the entire concept changed so abruptly, and disastrously? The reason I've been told, was that Gerard, a devout Christian, did not like the sexual undercurrent of the first season, and wanted stories that would be more uplifting and family-friendly, and that he forced the changes on a less-than-enthusiastic Glen Larson. Whether or not this was true, the season lacked all the swashbuckling joy of Season One, and despite an attempt to introduce a bird-like, stoic alien ('Hawk', portrayed by Thom Christopher), to attract the "Spock" crowd, the episodes were frequently dull and uninspired, and the ratings plummeted. When NBC canceled the series, just 13 episodes into Season Two, no one was truly surprised.

While Gerard's post-"Buck Rogers" career was a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, Erin Gray enjoyed a long, successful run on "Silver Spoons", and both actors, today, are popular Convention guests, as both "Buck Rogers" and Larson's "Battlestar Galactica" have achieved 'cult' status.

"Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" will never be held in the kind of esteem "Star Trek" or "Babylon 5" enjoy, but, as a rare chance to see how television viewed Science Fiction in the "Disco Decade", the series has earned it's own piece of immortality!


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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
Any chance this series ending up on Blu-Ray? redjacket1972
Dr. Huer, kind of sexy? Stan-64
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