Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century


Speaking of Buck Rogers (as we were in the previous post), BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY was a 1979 theatrical release of the TV series pilot starring Gil Gerard. IMDB says that it was released in theaters because the networks chose not to air it. It’s my recollection, however, that like BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA before it, it was distributed that way to hopefully make some of those big STAR WARS sci-fi bucks while generating interest in the upcoming TV series. Locally, it only played in smaller, suburban theaters so there didn’t really seem to be much push behind it.
Gerard was likable but always seemed a bit too much the modern seventies man to match my admittedly then-limited view of the character. Using a decidedly updated (and thus now dated) viewpoint, the film retold the classic story of the man who wakes up 500 years in the future and becomes a hero. The cast, including Tim O’Conner and Erin Gray, was a good TV cast but a little light to carry a feature. The same can be said for the special effects as filmgoers were already used to ILM coolness by that point. Mel Blanc voiced the new mini-robot character Twiki, created solely to cash in on the popularity of R2-D2. The subsequent series (as seen recently on Sci-Fi) had its moments but quickly fell into set patterns and routines. Despite the stunt casting of original movie serial Buck Buster Crabbe, it was fated not to last long and only recently has been developing a not necessarily deserved cultish reputation.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never cared for Buck Rogers and this show really didn't appeal to me.
I also disliked Twiki. Ugh!

Erin Gray was very nice to see; only saving grace of the show.

He was as bad as that damn robot owl in "Clash of The Titans" [which had no "titans of myth" in it and the Kraken is a Norse beast and had NO business being in that film and here I go on another damn rant.--sorry].

Alan B.
aka JettBlackBerryX@iwon.com

Anonymous said...

by the way...I do have an iwon.com email addy but please don't send anything to it.
I posted it just now in error.

Alan B. totally wired again.

Poptique said...

Two things from this show are fond, fond memories from watching it as a wee nipper:

Buck disco dancing like a complete goon in an early episode and Erin Gray in every episode. What a honey - gave it the edge over Battlestar Galactica for me (although the one where Starbuck befriended a Cyclon and hooked up with some chick on a deserted planet was a bit of a classic). Anyway I digress...

Chris Jart said...

I watched Buck every week. I loathed Twiki. I still loathe Twiki. Gil was a good looking guy. I saw him in a movie from a few years ago, and couldn't even believe it was him. He is very overweight now. That's the sad thing about being a tv star, everyone pictures you as you were thirty years ago. Here's a couple links to more recent pictures. He's almost unrecognizable, unlike Erin Gray who looks still looks good.

http://photos.ashtonpress.net/tulsatrek/tulsatrek011.JPG

http://www.kingofbeast.net/DragonCon2003/Dcp_1129.html