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Another great episode from the first series, chock full of late 70s
cheese, Cruise Ship To the Stars is particularly notable for the
appearance of tragic Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten, whose promising
career was cut short two years later when she was killed by her
Stratten plays Miss Cosmos, an almost genetically perfect female who, whilst on a space cruise, becomes the target of two criminals (one of whom is super strong and can fire laser beams from her hand) who want to slice her body up with a laser, in order to sell it on the black market. Buck (Gil Gerard), Wilma (Erin Gray) and Twiki go undercover as passengers to try and stop the baddies from carrying out their ghastly plan.
Whilst on board, Buck meets Allison, a pretty passenger who suffers from blackouts and waking nightmares, who is on board with her boyfriend Jaior. But Allison is actually a transmutea mutant with two personalitiesand it is her alter-ego, Sabrina, who, along with Jaior, is planning on carving up the beauty queen for maximum profit.
With Stratton on board, the series' regular stunner Erin Gray has her work cut out for her getting noticed, but manages to do so (despite her awful wig) by first displaying her wonderful pins in a revealing dress, and then by indulging in a spot of crazy disco dancing whilst wearing what looks like a spotty shower curtain.
Also cutting the rug on the illuminated dance floor is Twiki, who gets his nuts in a twist over a gold ambuquad named Tina (whose catchphrase is 'Booty, booty, booty').
Meanwhile, Buck gets on with catching the villains by placing an order for some sonic pistols and ear-plugs (all will become clear by the end).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Buck Rogers (Gil Gerard in fine likable form) and Wilma Deering (Erin Gray, lovely as ever) board an interstellar cruise ship so they can protect genetically perfect beauty queen Miss Cosmos (a sweet and charming performance by ravishing and legendary ill-fated "Playboy" Playmate Dorothy Stratten) from the nasty clutches of Sabrina (deliciously essayed with lip-smacking wicked aplomb by the foxy Trish Noble), a mysterious woman with awesome superpowers. Director Sigmund Neufeld Jr., working from a smart and witty script by Alan Brennert and Cory Applebaum, relates the enjoyable story at a constant brisk pace, stages a few rousing fight scenes with a reasonable amount of skill and flair, and tops things off with a very amusing line in brash tongue-in-cheek humor. Moreover, the excellent guest cast have a ball with their colorful roles: Kimberly Beck as the delicate and sensitive Allison, Leigh McCloskey as Sabrina's equally evil partner Jalor Davin, and Brett Halsey as the ship's stalwart captain. Of course, we also get several insanely hot ladies in skimpy outfits, with delectable blonde bombshell Stratton in particular looking positively smashing in her revealing costumes that show off her exceptionally tasty figure. A groovy disco dance sequence and a hilarious subplot with Twiki romancing gold-plated female robot Tina further enhance the infectiously campy appeal. One of the most enjoyable shows of the first season.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cruise ship to the Stars is an okay episode of Buck Rogers in the
Twnty-Fifth Century marked by the ill-fated Dorothy Stratten's
appearance as the stunning beautiful Miss Cosmos, who is pursued by
kidnappers planning to slice her luscious body up for sale on the black
market due to her perfect genes. The writers maybe knew better, but it
would have been far simpler to simply take some of her blood, and clone
the genes from that rather than abduct, and murder Miss Cosmos, but
then, there would have went the episode, of course.
Sabrina/Allison, a female Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde variation was an interesting touch, although they should indeed have used a single actress to do both arts - Ms. Noble is considerably better of the two actresses. It does show its 1970s cheesiness with the disco dancing, and clothing, but still makes for some mindless entertainment, and a bevy of gorgeous women around certainly dosen't hurt, at least for those of us who were teenage guys at the time, for sure.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Plot; Buck, Wilma and Twiki board a cosmic cruise ship to protect a
galactic beauty queen whose "genetic perfection" has made her the
target of genetic pirates.
There are any number of scantily clad women in this episode, but none show as much cleavage as the hirsute Gil Gerard as Buck Rogers, whose hairy man-pecs are fully on display here. Along with his lacquered hair and beefy body poured into a series of tight-fitting Lycra suits, he often looks more like a late 70s gigolo than a 25th century space ace. Still, Gerard manages to offset this with his easy going manner and good 'ol boy charm.
The galactic beauty queen and epitome of genetic perfection here is played by Dorothy Stratten, who would sadly be murdered less than a year after this episode aired. Ms. Stratten isn't asked to do much acting here (and I've read that she was actually dubbed), but what she does is certainly acceptable, and she wears the crown of "genetic perfection" quite well.
This is a fairly ridiculous episode in any number of ways, but it still manages to (somewhat) work thanks to a random concoction of odd and guileless charms.
- It's nice to know that there will be a disco renaissance in the 25th century, as the music and fashions of the genre have showed up time and time again in S1. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Disco was all the rage in the late 70s when Buck Rogers was made.
- Buck's droid, Twiki, famously chirps "Biddy, biddy, biddy" for no reason whatsoever. Here he meets and falls in...lust (not joking)...with a female counterpart whose own catchphrase is "Booty, booty, booty." (still not joking).
"Cruise Ship to the Stars" is better known as the "Dorothy Stratten"
episode and/or the "Love Boat" episode. Stratten because she guest
stars as beauty queen Miss Cosmos, whose perfect DNA makes her the
target of a trio of slice and dice criminals who want to dissect her
for cloning purposes. "The Love Boat" because Universal tried to clone
a futuristic episode of that show, with Miss Cosmos a passenger on a
luxury liner in space, and the male villain played by mega-lame "Love
Boat"/"Dallas" regular Leigh McCloskey.
The original air day of "Cruise Ship to the Stars" was December 27, 1979; which was about the midpoint of Season One and the only weaker episodes up to that point were the Pamela Hensley disasters. This relative quality issue became irrelevant once the Season Two episodes began being broadcast, as at that point viewers began to look back fondly at even the dregs of the first season.
Buck, Wilma, and Twiki board the ship at the request of the Captain, who has tangled with a powerful woman during an unsuccessful attack on Miss Cosmos. The woman, Sabrina, is extremely strong and can fire bolts of energy from her arms. The twist is that she is the alter ego of McCloskey's mild mannered girlfriend Allison. What passes for this episode's "big thrill" are the transformations back and forth between nasty Sabrina and super-sweet Allison. Unfortunately, rather than hire a good actress who could manage the multiple dimensions of this role, they choose to use separate actresses and the affect is unnecessarily lame. The older Trisha Noble (best remembered as Rockford's con-woman friend Odette) plays Sabrina and the younger Kimberly Beck (Barron Hilton's real life young wife and Linda Blair's teenage friend in "Roller Boogie") plays Allison. Television shows like Buck Rogers were hotbeds of Hollywood insider casting and the temptation to turn the Sabrina/Allison duel personality into an opportunity to reward "two" separate trophy wives/girlfriends was apparently too much for the producers to resist.
On the other hand Stratten, who obviously was cast for her physical perfection, demonstrates a surprising amount of acting talent and validates those who believe she had a promising career ahead of her.
Also of note is a sequence where Stella beats the crap out of Wilma and steals her jewels.
Although the series was set in the 25th century, the production designers stayed with what was regarded as "trendy" in 1979. This tendency is particularly apparent in this episode which features frequent scenes of disco dancing along with cast members in leisure suits and 1979 jogging attire.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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