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Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Nitro 1979

In the year 1987, Air Force captain William "Buck" Rogers tests the Ranger 3 spacecraft. His flight was to last only 5 months, but a meteor storm damages his life-support systems, freezing him solid, and casts Ranger 3 into an orbit which returns it to Earth--over 500 years later. Soon after Buck departs, Earth is devastated by a nuclear war caused by a renegade group of U.S. military officers. In 2491, Buck, who has survived due to the freezing, is revived and tries to adjust to life on 25th-century post-nuclear Earth. In the second season, Buck joins the crew of the Searcher, a starship dispatched to locate former Earth colonies in deep space.

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The 10 Worst Episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

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  • Last updated: dec 11, 2020

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    The visual effects by Universal Hartland for the pilot movie and some of the episodes were excellent, however this show recycled so many shots by the end of the first season that I truly knew them by heart as a kid. When Universal Hartland closed its doors in early 1981, the quality of the visual effects went down the drain, in a very noticeable way. This show benefited by Battlestar Galactica's cancellation, as many props, sets, costumes and even some visual effects were taken directly from that show. The Terran ships were designed by Ralph McQuarrie (of Star Wars fame), so even now they look sharp and timeless. It's great to see the grounds of Montreal's Expo 67 standing in for New Chicago, just as well as the Bonaventure Hotel. As for the writing... well, it's a Glen A. Larson show, so it varies from campy to awful. Gil Gerard wanted more serious storytelling instead of an "alien of the week" fare, but Universal and NBC deemed the American public of the 80's not ready for something like that. The second season was (at Universal request, actually) a direct copy of Star Trek: The Original Series, and that abrupt change made the ratings drop so fast the season was cut short after the eleventh episode. The fan base decided to ignore the second season, and actually Season One is the only one available on DVD right now (Season Two is out of print since 2004). My favorite episode is the one featuring Buster Crabbe (as Brigadier Gordon), the original Flash Gordon AND Buck Rogers.

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    It's always hard to rate a SF show almost 40 years after it has been produced because from todays point of view it all seems so naive. So what to do ? Rate it to comparable shows in its timeframe. Three are coming to my mind: Galactica, U.F.O. and Space 1999. Compared to those Buck Rogers rates dead last. Even by the standards of the 80s the sets, props and effects are weak. They recycled a lot of the Galactica stuff including the sounds which shouldn't be surprising since it's another Glen A Larson show. Seems to be produced on a very small budget and since the writing isn't good either I wouldn't recommend this to anyone but the die hardest SF fan. I liked the Movie but the show is a great step backwards. Of course that's only my personal opinion

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