February 18, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

This is a continuing series of posts reviewing the old TV show "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" which began here.

When we last left our hero, he had just once again saved the Earth from a pending attack in “Planet of the Slave Girls (Parts One & Two)”. Now the off-world adventures begin, starting with:

Ep. 1.5 “Vegas In Space” (aired 10/4/79):

It seems our 20th Century protagonist had originally decided to spend his time in a perpetual state of “r & r”. But, just when he thought he was out…they pull him back in. Actually Buck shows an interest in helping out however he can. But in order to be privy to high-level intelligence he would have to officially join the Earth Defense Directorate. So after thinking over the prospect for a few minutes (all the while realizing that it would be an awesome chance to spend a little more quality time with Wilma), he decides “aw, what the heck” and declares that he’s in.

The Directorate is commanded by Dr. Elias Huer (played by Tim O’Connor). It’s never really explained just how much authority Huer has. Since the Computer Council represents the government, I always assumed that the good doctor was pretty much the highest ranking person in charge of the Earth’s defense, its military and whatever intelligence services there are. In other words, Huer is pretty much your 25th Century Donald Rumsfeld.

Except that Huer isn’t necessarily the kind of hard-nosed dude you’d want in charge of protecting the planet. In fact, he’s can at times act like a bit of an old lady in the way he reacts to Buck’s manner and style. Anyway, he never tries to pull rank on Buck when the maverick astronaut decides to make like Jack Bauer and break protocol. So we cut him some slack.

The 25th Century's Most Prominant Metro-Sexual

The beauty of Buck’s situation is that no one knows him. In a world that probably has a data file on everybody, Buck Rogers – a man from the 20th Century – is the perfect undercover guy. So for his first mission, they send him to the gambling city of Sinaloa.

Did you get that name? SIN-aloa. Sin City. It's a lot like Vegas. In fact, you can pretty much say that whatever happens in Sinaloa stays in Sinaloa. Buck is sent to investigate the kidnapping of a girl who works for a major crime boss. She of course is kidnapped by a rival crime boss. What’s a Vegas in space without organized crime?

This episode has such notable guest stars as the original Joker himself, Cesar Romero, and Joseph Wiseman – the guy who played Dr. No in the first James Bond film of the same name. As mentioned in the previous post, Juanin Clay, the back-up actress to play Wilma, got a nice part as Major Marla Landers. She’s a decent lookin’ babe, I must admit. She also displayed a nice amount of feistiness. Had Erin Gray not signed on to the series, Clay would have made an OK match for Buck. But let’s face it, there’s only one Wilma.

Juanin Clay as Deering.jpg
Juanin Clay as Major Marla "I coulda been Wilma" Landers

Buck also meets up with woman named Tangie who’s kind of informally enslaved to the crime boss as an escort for hire. Naturally, Tangie would like Buck to help her get away from Sinaloa, which he does. Interestingly enough, Tangie’s name in mentioned again later in the series as someone Buck is planning on hooking up with while on vacation. So it looks like she’s the first name scribbled in Buck’s little black book of potential interstellar “booty-calls”.

vegas in space.jpg
"Another stack of chips, please. And a drink here for the lady in the disco ball dress."

Anyway, the episode is at best an average one and it’s probably only worth watching to see Juanin Clay’s performance. There’s very little Erin Gray in this one.

Episode Rating: Decent

The next episode is another double-shot – “The Plot To Kill A City (Parts 1 & 2)".

Posted by Gary at February 18, 2007 01:00 PM | TrackBack