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Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series
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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
- All 32 episodes from the 1979-81 seasons plus the original theatrical film
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Top Customer Reviews
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?
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.
Minus one star for Universal's bad decision to nix the commentaries by Gil Gerrard and Erin Gray and episodic promos, interviews and documentaries would have been nice. I'm just happy to see that this show has finally been re-awakened from the 20th Century and I didn't have to wait 500 years to see it again.
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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