Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979)

Article 3718 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-4-2011
Posting Date: 10-19-2011
Directed by Daniel Haller
Featuring Gil Gerard, Pamela Hensley, Erin Gray
Country: USA
What it is: STAR WARS-inspired TV series pilot

After being frozen aboard his spaceship for 500 years, a pilot from the 20th century is revived. He finds himself embroiled in a plot by aliens to destroy the Earth, but the Earthlings of the future think he’s a spy. Can he defeat the aliens and convince the Earthlings of his sincerity?

Despite the fact that I’m primarily covering movies for my project, I seem to brush up against TV shows quite a lot, thanks to the concepts of editing TV episodes into movies or (as in this case) making movie-length pilots for the TV shows. I was expecting something fairly juvenile at first, but the opening credits take place while Buck is frozen and apparently dreaming, and his dreams largely consist of him encountering and making out with half-dressed females, a concept which made me feel the movie was a lot closer to FLESH GORDON than to STAR WARS. Well, I understand the concept of including sexy females to attract some of the older males, but, truth to tell, I found the females on display to be of the type that I would describe as sexy in the “I’ve just spent the last fifty hours with my hairdresser and cosmetician to remove any last vestige of humanity from my looks; please don’t breathe on me or you’ll lose the effect!” way that I find distinctly unsexy. The movie eventually descends into a series of double-entendres that are reminiscent of Matt Helm at his worst, and this, combined with the lousy script and the presence of one of the most obnoxious “cute” robots I’ve ever seen (I’m sure there must have been a “Dismantle Twiki” movement somewhere), I not only found this pretty painful but I wondered just who it was intended for. On the plus side, I did find it colorful. I avoided this series when it was on TV, and now I’m glad I did. Worst scene: Buck teaches the people of the future how to dance to rock and roll. Worst double entendre: I’m not going to repeat the whole thing, but the phrase “the emperor’s seat” is involved.

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