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Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series

4.2 out of 5 stars 357 customer reviews

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(Nov 16, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blast off with every groundbreaking episode of the action-packed sci-fi adventure, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century! Join legendary intergalactic crimefighters William "Buck" Rogers (Gil Gerard) and Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) as they lead the crew of the starship Searcher against a galaxy of evil from the past, present and faraway future. This must-own five-disc collection presents the entire Buck Rogers series and original theatrical pilot on DVD for the first time ever. Thrill to the epic sci-fi hit that the Associated Press called "razzle-dazzle good fun."

With its campy combination of lightweight adventure and Spandex disco chic, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a nostalgic throwback to post-Star Wars opportunism. Series co-creator Glen A. Larson was incapable of originality, and former soap star Gil Gerard (in the title role) was a bland incarnation of the comic-strip hero, so the much-anticipated series premiered on September 20, 1979, with serious disadvantages. Although the two-hour pilot "Awakening" had tested successfully as a theatrical release, Gerard and the show's producers could never agree on a stable tone for the series, which presents Capt. William "Buck" Rogers as a jovial space cowboy who is accidentally time-warped from 1987 to 2491. Earth is engaged in interplanetary war following a global holocaust, and Buck's piloting skills make him an ideal starfighter recruit for the Earth Defense Directorate, where his closest colleagues are Dr. Huer (Tim O'Connor), squadron leader Col. Wilma Deering (former model Erin Gray, looking oh-so-foxy), the wisecracking robot Twiki (voiced by cartoon legend Mel Blanc), and a portable computer-brain named Dr. Theopolis, who's carried by Twiki like oversized bling-bling.

The series struggled through an awkward first season, with routine plots elevated by decent special effects and noteworthy guest stars including Jamie Lee Curtis, ill-fated Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten (appearing, with her voice dubbed over, less than a year before her tragic murder), Batman alumnus Julie Newmar, Buster Crabbe (veteran of vintage Buck Rogers movie serials), and several others in a show that favored vamps and vixens over credible science fiction. A full-scale overhaul resulted in a disastrous second season, but devoted fans still gravitate to Hawk (Thom Christopher), the charismatic alien "birdman" who was introduced with new characters and a new, space-faring search for lost tribes from Earth (with echoes of Larson's own Battlestar Galactica). Behind-the-scenes squabbles continued, and by mid-season of 1981, NBC pulled the plug on a breezy, still-engaging series that suffered from uneasy chemistry and never realized its full potential. Existing somewhere between Galactica and Lost in Space in the TV sci-fi food chain, this Buck--with a dearth of DVD extras--now functions as a cheesy stroll down memory lane. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • All 32 episodes from the 1979-81 seasons plus the original theatrical film

Product Details

  • Actors: Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Tim O'Connor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 3598 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002MHDW4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,066 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Phillips on November 22, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The shows are uncut and look better than you've ever seen them. Thank goodness, they've also included the original theatrical version of the pilot (released to theatres several months before the series aired) which has the most hilarious open credits scenes ever.

Don't worry about the "broadast" version of the pilot not being included; it is mostly just an *edited version* of what was shown in theatres anyway. A brief scene or two were added in the NBC aired version, but these were brief and didn't amount to much. Yes, they would have made a nice extra, but I for one am glad they went with the *original theatrical version* in the set, as it came first anyway.

I never much cared for the second season, but it is also included here! The entire series in one set...who can ask for more?
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Format: DVD
I will never forget first seeing the theatrical movie at the Mall of the Bluffs in Colorado Springs the day after a huge blizzard in 1979. I had no idea what to expect. I was already obsessed with Star Wars and my Dad took us to see a movie called Buck Rogers which he described as being similar to Star Wars so I was already expecting droids and robots and all kinds of special effects.

I had immediately recognized the similarities in production design to that of Battlestar Galactica which was also produced by Glen Larson and I had enjoyed very much. I was not at all surprised when it became a weekly series. Although it was much campier than the mythic Galactica, it was still a guilty pleasure whose tone harkened back more to Classic Trek with Buck's weekly womanizing reminiscent of Captain Kirk. It became a guessing game as to which colorful flavor of spandex Colonel Wilma Deering would be wearing each week, but who could forget most of all the lovely Pamela Hensley as the exotic Princess Ardala! My favorite episodes were "Space Vampires" featuring the uninhibited Wilma and "Flight of the War Witch" featuring Julie Newmar from Batman. The series also had its fair share of cheeze with cornball episodes like "Space Rockers" and "Space Olympics" but are amusing to watch for the sake of 70's nostalgia. Season 2 was a dreadful attempt to re-tool the series to make it more like Star Trek as the emphasis shifted away from Earth to a space quest onboard The Searcher. Gone were Wilma's luscious spandex outfits and her role was minimized to that of recurring guest-star. However, Season 2 introduced Thom Christopher as Hawk making his impressive debut with the cool talon-clawed ship.
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Format: DVD
Some of you are like me, you watched this show as a kid and loved it. It didn't matter what the quality was or anything, you just enjoyed it. And now that you're in your thirties you're wondering if this little part of your past can be recaptured. You've been disappointed with other early 80s things that don't hold up so well these days.

Don't worry. This is a great DVD set. I thought about buying it for weeks and finally broke down and bought it for my birthday. I don't regret it. It was great reliving the past. I saw the last episode this evening and re-watched the first. The DVD has 24 episodes of season 1 and only half a season of season 2 which is all they made. The original theatrical intro is here (which is a hoot) and they don't have Mel Blanc dubbed over Twiki in the first several episodes of season 2.

Still, the show is just as watchable now as it was then. Erin Grey is still beautiful and Gil Gerard is still the guy to be. If you're agonizing over whether to buy this or not, go ahead and buy it. Sure, it ain't 21st century pyrotechnics and CG but the stories are still fun and it'll provide hours of harmless fun.

And isn't that the point? I'd rather have a new generation of kids watching this than a lot of the junk that is on TV these days.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For people concerned about the runtimes of the DVDs, here is what is listed for each disk from the Universal site:

Disc 1: Run time: 6 hrs 23 minutes

Disc 2: Run time: 6 hrs 31 minutes

Disc 3: Run time: 6 hrs 31 minutes

Disc 4: Run time: 6 hrs 30 minutes

Disc 5: Run time: 4 hrs 4 minutes

Judging from those times (about 52 minutes an episode), I'd guess that each of the first four discs would have eight episodes each (four to a side), with the final five episodes on the last disk. Looking at the time on disc 1, I'd guess that the original movie version will be shown in place of the re-edited version for the two-part opener, "Awakening" (which is fine, as the movie had a sexier opening sequence anyway ;) ). That would fit the advertisement of "five double-length episodes" included in the set (Planet of the Slave Girls, Plot to Kill a City, Flight of the War Witch, Time of the Hawk, and Journey to Oasis.)

In any event, this should be a good pickup with both seasons included in the set, even if it is a bare-bones release.
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Format: DVD
The video and sound were great, in spite of the mono audio format. This show brought back so many memories of that late 70's and early 80's "middle-school" period for me, I almost expected to see roller skaters everywhere and bell-bottom corduroy pants on people when I stepped outside. It's really hard to believe it was THAT long ago. But boy does an internet search for current pics of the actors slam that point home! It's just wrong what time does to people. That being said, Gil Gerard does look a lot better today than he did a few years ago. Check out "Action Hero Makeover" at YouTube and you'll see what he went through. Also, Erin Gray is still very beautiful for a woman in her late 50's. And she has accomplished a lot too. What a lady.

If you were a fan of this series when it was new, you should enjoy watching this set. It looks better than it did when it was broadcasted for TV. But be warned, there are some seriously cheesy moments! It's hilarious to see what Hollywood of the 1970's envisioned the future to look like-- just like the 1970's, but with talking computers and laser guns.
Season one was the best, but you could count on most episodes involving good people enslaved by the villain and Buck rescuing them while keeping in touch with Dr. Huer and/or Wilma back on earth. In just about every episode he managed to save the earth, either as a primary or secondary plot.
Season two got overly preachy about things that most hour-long 70's shows got into back then, and contained a lot of cheesy/campy situations, lines, effects, etc.

I was disappointed that the DVD set didn't include any extra interviews, commentaries or documentaries. However, I heard that they did actually record cast interviews for it.
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