Larson revived the old space opera of Buck
Rogers in his 1979 TV series. Having just recovered from the cancellation of
the more popular Battlestar Galactica, he wrote Buck to be far less serious and
closer to comic book lore.
Buck was a superman, revived from a deep space exploration mission gone awry and thrust into a
conflict between the Earth Directorate and the Draconian Empire. Buck's
universe was filled with beautiful women and simplistic villains. Buck
solved all of his problems through fistfights and gunplay, just the way any real
space hero should.
Gerard brought a unique charm to the campy Buck character. Winning the
affections of a new woman every episode, he managed to bring a an evenness to
many otherwise unbalanced scripts. Where the earlier versions of Buck
fought alongside his younger human companion, Buddy Wade, Gil managed to explore the
role opposite a small, often annoying robot named Twiki, a combination companion
and watchdog. Gil successfully
portrayed a man lost in time but not lost in confidence, values, or purpose.
Buck Rogers showcased an impressive
guest cast for the time, including Larry "Buster" Crabbe, who played Buck in the 1939
The more famous of the guest cast was fleshed out with faces from the cancelled Battlestar
many, the most memorable element of Glen Larson's Buck Rogers was the character Colonel Wilma Deering, played
by the gorgeous Erin Gray. Originally Buck's adversary, and responsible
for the defense of Earth, she became his close ally and confident. Her
relationship with Buck was never well defined, which was a bonus for every
red-blooded, heterosexual teenage male.
The most memorable of all the
villains was the Princess Ardala, forward leader of the Draconian Empire.
She was unique in that her weakness was her strong passion for Buck. Based
largely on the Catwoman character from Batman, Ardala could never successfully
destroy Buck Rogers despite her many opportunities to do so.
Despite its many weaknesses, Glen Larson's Buck Rogers remains one of the most
fondly remembered space series for many fans.