My last post on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century filled me so full of love and admiration for the show that one measly post just won't suffice. I'm just not satisfied that the all-encompassing greatness of Buck Rogers was fully captured. A show of this magnitude and caliber deserves further analyses. So, without further ado...
Here's 8 reasons, in no particular order.
1. The Awesome Guest Stars
Jamie Lee Curtis (shown below), Gary Coleman, Jack Palance, Markie Post, Dorothy Stratten... need I go on? The Love Boat has nothing on Buck Rogers.
2. Gil Gerard
Gerard's portrayal of Buck Rogers is everything you'd ever want in a hero. He's got the bravery, command and swagger of a Captain Kirk, plus the womanizing mojo of a Dean Martin or James Bond.
3. It's the Connecticut Yankee in ReverseAnother aspect of Buck that I like is that he sets himself in a position of superiority based on his background of being from 1987. In other words, Hank Morgan in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness, both use the fact that they are from a more technically advanced society to take advantage of the population. In Buck Rogers it's the reverse: Buck is from a less advanced society, yet he uses this to his advantage. He scorns their artificial lifestyle and uses his good ol' fashioned know-how to one-up his foes. A neat twist on an old theme.
4. The Dark Side
Like Land of the Lost, Buck Rogers could surprise you with some rather dark themes. Some of the villains were flat out horrific looking. However, the episode that stands out as a particularly frightening one is "Space Vampire". The vampire was positively chilling to me as a kid, and Wilma even gets possessed and talks in a demonic tone reminiscent of The Exorcist.
5. Erin Grey
Okay, every red blooded American boy had a crush on Erin Grey at one time or another - either via Buck Rogers or Silver Spoons.
I chose the picture on the above-right because I find it a tad amusing. In this episode, Wilma must pose as a ravishing beauty in order to protect Miss Cosmos. The irony is that Erin Grey is naturally a ravishing beauty and the disguise is far from flattering - her hair style reminds me of the secretary on The Bob Newhart Show (Marcia Wallace). My wife found it amusing too - so I know I'm not the only one.
6. The Groovy Dialog
"Don't give me any of that Dr. Doom jive" says Gary Coleman to Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian). The show often interjected common 1970s slang and terminology, and Twiki the robot was the biggest culprit - often exclaiming things like "solid!" (a favored catch phrase of Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad). When I'm watching Buck Rogers, I'm prepared at any minute for someone to exclaim "Dyn-o-mite!" a la Jimmy Walker.
7. TwikiWay before there was a Bender (Futurama), there was the crass, sexist, wise-cracking robot Twiki (voiced by Mel Blanc).
In fact, the biggest womanizer on the show is not Buck, but rather his lustful robot sidekick. He's the opposite of C-3PO, always making lewd remarks (he calls Wilma "foxy" on more than one occasion).
In one episode, Twiki hooks up with a gold plated "lady" robot. Unfortunately, Dr. Huer needs Buck, Wilma and Twiki to report immediately back to headquarters. Ready for a little R&R after a big adventure, they pretend to not hear Huer's request... to this, Twiki adds an incomprehensible statement.
I know the audio sucks, but you can plainly hear Twiki say he's ready to "get it on" with the gold plated robot. I repeat: Twiki is getting ready to have sex with another robot. This opens up a whole can of worms I've already gone into, so don't get me started again.
8. The BabesAs if Erin Grey weren't enough, the show is literally wall to wall with gorgeous women. Below is the lovely Dorothy Stratten as "Miss Cosmos".
In the episode "Cruise Ship to the Stars", Buck and Wilma travel aboard a luxury liner which makes the Playboy Mansion look drab. Then there's a 2 part episode called "Planet of the Slave Girls" (let your imagination wander over that one) and another called "Planet of the Amazon Women". Notice a trend?
Also, skirts of the 25th century will be unbelievably short... and I mean ludicrously short, as in barely below the waist. This is evidently a hallmark of sci-fi women's fashion (Logan's Run, Star Trek, UFO, Land of the Giants, etc., etc. see my post on it) and Buck Rogers trumps them all.
related post: Spreading the Love for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (Part 1)
related post: Short Skirts in the Sci-Fi Future
related post: Robots Are Making Love to Our Women