auronlu: (Lucil)
[personal profile] auronlu

 There are many, many, many problems with the late 70s "Buck Rogers in the 25th century" show, starting with the fact that Gil Gerard, the Buck Rogers actor, is an ass. (Although he does manage the "charming doofy rogue" character fairly well.)

 [personal profile] owlmoose's post about [livejournal.com profile] girlsavesboyfic got me to thinking about the basic plot of the episode I watched last night. FWIW, girl saves boy's butt three or four times in one 2-hour pilot: 

 


1. Space Shuttle pilot flung 500 years into the future, frozen solid. Rescued by Princess Ardala's ship. Her henchdude, Kain, is jealous and sends him towards Earth, where the defense shield is certain to fry Buck to a crisp.

2. Colonel Wilma Deering's space patrol intercepts Buck. She gives him his marching orders and guides him so he won't get fried to a crisp.

3. Buck bumbles around on Earth having culture shock. Deprived of his binky, he heads into the wasted outskirts of his home town of Chicago (where he has conveniently landed) to Find His Memories. A mob of angry mutant inhabitants of the wastelands attack him.

4. In the nick of time, Colonel Wilma Deering shows up in a heavily armored car and saves Buck's ass, shooting laser beams at the lawless mutants who don't get to live in the city of privileged mostly-white people. 

5. Wilma is attracted to Buck but thinks he may be a spy. She assigns a robot drone to follow him, with orders to kill him if he's a traitor.

6. Sneaking aboard Ardala's battleship, Buck manages to send a warning back to Earth about an impending attack. He sabotages what he can while Colonel Deering leads her fighter wing against Ardala's fighters and battleship. 

7. As Buck is trapped, Wilma blasts her way in, rescues him and piles him in the back seat of her space fighter. Cue dramatic spaceship-fleeing-exploding-larger-vessel trope. 

And of course, the villain of the piece is a princess who's plotting to conquer the Earth so she can get out from under her father's thumb and depose him. Ardala's plotline is seriously undercut by the fact that she's trying to recruit Buck to be her second-in-command since Kane is not sufficiently manly for her. 

I do not expect this trend to last. I believe the first season received lukewarm reviews, after which the show got hit with a terminal case of Stupid. And I think Wilma will quickly be whittled down into a more typical subservient female role so Buck can get on with being the star. 

 But... day-um. And it was frickin' BUCK ROGERS. 

With heavy nods to Star Wars, which had come out two years before, the plot boils down to: "Princess Leia is a tough-as-nails military officer who keeps having to bail Han Solo out of whatever awful scrape he's gotten himself into, while Han teaches her to loosen up a little."  Which, come to think of it, would've been a rather fun story.
 

 


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