Thursday, 4 August 2016

457 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

First  viewed : September  1980

If  one  slightly  annoying  robot  wasn't  enough, Mickey  was  immediately  followed  on  a  Saturday  evening  by  the  extremely  annoying  ( if  rather  more  mobile  )  Twiki, a  regular  character  in  this  sci-fi  extravaganza.

Buck  Rogers  in  the  25th  Century   transplanted  the  1930s  comic  book  hero  to  Earth  five  centuries  later  after  he  awakened  from a  cryogenic  sleep. He  finds  Earth  civilisation  confined  to  a  few  biospheric  cities  amid  a  nuclear  wasteland   with  a  government  determined  to  defend  it  at  all  costs. Buck's  experience  and  skills   as  a  20th  century  pilot  prove  to  be  useful  but  he  remains  an  outsider, often  the  object  of  some  suspicion.

Very  little  about  the  series  was  original. The  aforementioned  Twiki  spoke  in  electronic  gobbledegook  like  R2D2  ( voiced  by  Mel  Blanc )  and  was  translated  by  an  Orac-like  supercomputer  Dr Theophilus  that  he  wore  round  his  neck  like  a  medallion. The  plots  borrowed  liberally  from  Planet  of  the  Apes, Star  Trek, Logan's  Run, Marvel  comics  and   especially  Flash  Gordon  in  having  a  villainess  who  wanted  to  conquer  both  the  Earth  and  Buck  himself.   

The  most  original  element  was  that  Buck  took  most  of  his  orders  from  a  woman , Colonel  Wilma  Deering  , her  antique  Christian  name  reinforcing  the  reactionary nature  of   the  society  she  represented. As  played   by  former  model  Erin  Gray, Wilma  was  a  vision  in  tight  fitting  lycra  spandex  and  the  main  reason , if  not  the  only   one,  for  watching  the  show; my  best  mate  Michael  was  a  huge  fan. She  wasn't  a  particularly  good  actress  but  who  cared  ?  She  and  Buck  occasionally  flirted  but  she  remained  the  boss.

The  series  had  style  but  not  a  great  deal  of  substance. Gerard  wasn't  able  to  convey  much  depth  to  his  character  and  the  scripts  were   never  better  than  adequate. By  the  second  season  ratings  had  dropped  and  it  was  cancelled  after  11  episodes.  Gerard  has   managed  to  keep  his  career  going  but  has  received  most  attention  for  an  ongoing  battle  with  weight  problems. Gray  also  continues  to  act  mainly  in  guest  star  roles  on  TV  but  she  also  runs  a  casting  agency.  


No comments:

Post a Comment