Rogers first appearance was as Anthony Rogers in a short space
drama, Armageddon - 2419 AD by Philip Francis Nowlan,
in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories. It was
sufficiently popular for a sequel - The Airlords of Han
- which appeared in the March 1929 issue. The rest, as Anthony
Clark reports, is history…
March 30, 1979 a Buck Rogers movie appeared in cinemas
across the US, a production that aired again on TV on September
20 as the pilot episode for an intended television series.
Truth be told, the ensuing shows have not fared well - time
has been especially harsh on some aspects of their production
- but the basic premise is not without merit.
to the show’s original ‘bible’ document: "The year is 1987
and NASA launches the last of America's deep space probes.
In a freak mishap Ranger 3 and its pilot Captain William 'Buck'
Rogers are blown out of their trajectory into an orbit which
freezes his life support systems and returns Buck Rogers to
Earth 500 years later."
that’s what we got - in 1987 NASA launches a manned probe
on a five month trip around the solar system - the pilot,
Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers. Something goes wrong freezing
Buck's life support systems are he is propelled into deep
space - when the spacecraft finally returns to Earth space
the year is 2491.
awakens from his cryogenic sleep to find an embattled Earth
that has survived a 20th Century nuclear war. Because of his
pilot skills Buck becomes a member of the Earth's Defence
Directorate which is headed by Dr Elias Huer and soon he finds
himself part of an elite fighter squadron, headed by Colonel
Wilma Deering. Among his other compatriots are Twiki - a “cute”
robot who becomes Buck's friend, and DR Theopolis, a mechanoid
brain which is part of Earth's Computer Council. Cue lots
of flying around in space…
the show's second season, Buck, Wilma, and Twiki join the
crew of the starship Searcher. The ship, commanded by Admiral
Asimov, is on a mission to locate the lost tribes of Earth
- humans who fled their homeworld after the nuclear holocaust.
Also aboard the Searcher is scientist DR Goodfellow and Crichton,
a snobbish robot which he built. The humans are joined by
Hawk, a birdman (as if he could be anything else) whose people
were almost hunted to extinction by a band of murderous humans.
its defence the show was never conceived as high art, although
it did mange to reach high camp with alarming alacrity, especially
during its second season. But despite its obvious failing
Buck Rogers’ 70s TV excursion has its fans. All you really
need to enjoy the show today is a liking for big hair and