Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century (1979): S01E01 – Awakening, Part 01


Introduction

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is an American science fiction adventure television series produced by Universal Studios. The series ran for two seasons between September 1979 and April 1981, and the feature-length pilot episode for the series was released as a theatrical film before the series aired.

The film and series were developed by Glen A. Larson and Leslie Stevens, based on the character Buck Rogers created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan that had previously been featured in comic strips, novellas, a serial film, and on television and radio.

Outline

In 1987, lone NASA astronaut Buck Rogers is piloting Earth’s last space shuttle mission, Ranger 3, when a storm of ice meteors shuts down life support and he is frozen for 504 years. He awakens in the year 2491 aboard the alien flagship Draconia which is headed to Earth disguised as a diplomatic mission. The Draconians repair Buck’s shuttle, but secretly plant a homing beacon aboard to track its way through Earth’s defence shield. Upon arriving at Earth, Buck is escorted to the city of New Chicago by starfighters commanded by Col. Wilma Deering. Once at the city, Buck is met by Dr. Elias Huer who tells him he is now in the 25th century and that everyone he knew had been killed centuries ago in a nuclear holocaust. When the tracking device is discovered, the authorities accuse Buck of espionage, but Buck claims the Draconians have set him up and that their representative, the ravishing Princess Ardala, is arriving in an armed warship which violates the peace treaty with Earth. The authorities refuse to believe Buck and sentence him to be executed. Wilma has second thoughts, however, and arranges to give Buck a chance to prove his innocence. Wilma and Buck lead a force of Starfighters to the Draconian ship to surreptitiously search it, but before they can the ship is attacked by seven Marauders (in reality Draconian ships masquerading as pirates); in the ensuing combat Buck shoots down most of the attackers and saves Wilma’s life. When a celebration of the treaty with Draconia ensues on Earth, Buck sets out to prove the Draconians’ hostile intent by seducing Ardala, returning with her to the Draconian ship, and sabotaging her attack fighters before she can launch them against Earth.

Part Two here.

Trivia

  • This two-hour pilot episode is a revised version of the theatrical release “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century“, with a different opening credit sequence, additional scenes, and also the use of Vic Perrin as voice of the Draconia’s PA system.
  • It was syndicated as a two-part episode.
  • Guest stars: Henry Silva (as Kane), Duke Butler (as Tigerman), H.B. Haggerty (as Tigerman #2), Vic Perrin (uncredited and replacing William Conrad as Draconia PA announcer), and Pamela Hensley (as Princess Ardala).
  • Joseph Wiseman appeared briefly in the theatrical version as King Draco, but does not appear in the TV version.

Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century Series

You can find a full index and overview of Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century here.

You can find a full index of the Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century TV Series here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 20 September 1979.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes (per episode, with adverts).
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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