Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering arrive at Theta Station to have Twiki serviced, but soon a freighter crashes with the space station. The freighter crew are found in a state between life and death, and ...
A year after Liberation Day, courtesy of the red-dust bacteria, the humanoid, lizard-like aliens develop a resistance to the micro-organism and try to regain control of the Earth--only now some humans are knowingly working with them.
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
The series used footage of the British and French pavilions at Expo '67 in Canada to represent the futuristic buildings such as Dr. Huer's office tower and Buck's apartment building. See more »
In the narration intro Buck's spacecraft is called "Ranger 3". But the Ranger series spacecraft were unmanned lunar landers, and NASA never repeats project names to avoid confusion. See more »
[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.
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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 »
The opening episode, Awakening, was originally released as the theatrical film Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. For TV, the film's sensual opening credits were removed, a scene showing Tigerman being killed was omitted, some dialogue was toned down, and several scenes were added including an epilogue setting up the TV series. The movie was also re-edited into a two-parter for syndication. See more »
...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.
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.
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