Buck Rogers, Twiki, Colonel Deering, Tigerman, Dr. Huer and Princess Ardala are names very familiar to my childhood. As a lad of the 70/80’s I remember when the BBC used to broadcast the old cliffhanger serials so the likes of Buck, Flash Gordon and Commander Cody I knew very well. Of course when ITV started showing the new COLOUR series from the makers of Battlestar Galactica I was well excited. It also helped that at some point around 1981 I had watched the CIC Video release of the theatrical film which my Dad constantly rented for me from Telebond, our local video shop.
The story of Buck is well known, frozen in 1987 whilst on a space shuttle flight he returns to his original orbit five hundred years later and is picked by the Princess Ardala and her henchman Kane on their way to Earth on a peace mission.
Buck Rogers sadly only lasted two seasons with the second one drastically different from the first with Captain Rogers and his comrades travelling the galaxy instead of staying on Earth. British character actor Wilfred Hyde-White popped up as a regular in season two, he was the chap involved with that daffodil in Carry on Nurse.
Fabulous’ Blu-ray boxset release of both seasons utilises Universal’s HD masters and has a couple of real gems not included on the old DVD releases. First off is a double episode ‘Planet of the Slave Girls’ presented as a full length film, this even features the original Buck, Buster Crabbe. Most importantly the two part series premiere ‘Awakening’ is included for the first time with all the deleted footage that was excised from the theatrical feature. The cinema version is here as well in all it’s cheesy glory with the power ballad theme song by Kip Lennon and Buck ‘getting off’ with various space babes over the opening credits.
I’m pretty biased towards this series as it was and is still is one of my all time favourites. Sure some of the effects are a bit ropey (and nicked from Battlestar Galactica) but all the main characters are great especially Twiki who with the voice of Mel Blanc steals every scene he’s in. Gil Gerard is an excellent Buck and the less said about Erin Gray and Pamela Hensley the better. The young me felt a bit a bit funny back then and I didn’t know why until a couple of years later.
There has been many boxsets released over time and along with the obvious (Star Wars, Superman, James Bond) this is one of my treasured possessions. In my view the Blu-ray release of the year so far and unless Sony ever pull their finger out and release the 1970’s Spiderman show, this will never get bettered.
- Starring Gil Gerard Erin Gray Henry Silva Tim O’Connor Pamela Hensley
- Distributor Fabulous Films