June 11, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

After the two forgettable episodes, “Twiki Is Missing” & “Olympiad”, we get a love story that was first broadcast on...wait for it...Valentine's Day. Awww.

Ep. 1.20 “A Dream Of Jennifer” (2/14/80)

So Buck is minding his own business, walking around a mall, when he sees a blast from his past – a lovely young woman who looks like the girlfriend he left behind in the 20th century. She doesn’t just bear a passing resemblance mind you. She looks exactly like Jennifer, Buck’s long-lost love. Could it be her? He follows her all the way to the 25th century version of New Orleans, now called City-On-The-Sea.

We even get to see a flashback of Buck and Jennifer just before he leaves for his ill-fated trip in Ranger 3. It’s obvious that they’re very much in love. You have to wonder if it isn’t his inability to let go of the memory of Jennifer that keeps him from zooming on Wilma. When Buck finally catches up with her, she tells him her name is Leila Markeson. Leila is taken aback by his assertion that she looks so familiar but is intrigued by his story. They spend some time together though it’s clear she’s a little uncomfortable with the fact that Buck seems to be seeing Jennifer instead of her. Leila also seems to be holding back somewhat and we definitely get the drift that something fishy is going on.

Lt Sheba.jpg
Come back, Lt. Sheba.

Cast as Jennifer/Leila is Anne Lockhart, who most of the young male audience (yours truly included) had already formed an attachment to from her role as Lt. Sheba on "Battlestar Galactica" the year before.

Anne Lockhart, the daughter of “Lost In Space” actress June Lockhart, has a pretty extensive TV resume of guest spots on such shows as “Airwolf”, “Knight Rider” and “Simon & Simon”. Another bit of trivia I found interesting is that she was Director John Carpenter’s first choice to play to part of Laurie Strode in “Halloween”. Anne still acts here and there, mostly in small roles or as voice talent.

And she still looks pretty darn good today. I admit, I had a huge crush on her back in the day. So this guest appearance made this a particularly special episode for me. Lots of additional pics over at her official site.

Anne Lockhart today. Still a heart-breaker.

Anyway, did I mention that there was something strange about this coincidence? It turns out Leila Markeson in reality looked nothing like Jennifer until she was given an extreme makeover by members of the Kovan race. They had a plan to use Buck to stop a freighter loaded with weapons from reaching a planet they hoped to conquer. The Kovans, led by Reev and his female assistant Nola, pay Leila to play the part but what she doesn't know is that their plan includes using the threat of her death to motivate Buck to do their bidding. Leila of course is completely repentant about her dishonesty and even falls for Buck. And there’s your love story.

So you just know this isn’t going to end well for Leila and Buck. She ends up sacrificing her life to let Buck escape. Buck once again must say goodbye to the face of his love. All right, I admit it. I may have welled up a bit the first time I saw this one.

Overall, this was one of the best-written episodes from Season One. You get more character development in Buck than you’ve had in a while. Of course, it also has its share of cheesiness, including the wardrobes included in Buck’s flashback and the red faces of the Kovan aliens.

Episode Rating: Must See (Anne Lockhart is adorable. Sure, she’s not Wilma but this is the first episode where you actually forget that there is a Wilma.)

Next up: Mindless youth succumb to subliminal messages in “Space Rockers”.

The first post in this series can be found here.

Posted by Gary at June 11, 2007 11:00 AM | TrackBack