Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) – The Plot to Kill a City: Part 2, and Return of the Fighting 69th

With his cover blown, Buck Rogers (Gil Gerard) has to find a way to escape and stop the Legion of Death before they can launch their planned attack on New Chicago. But he may have some unexpected allies in the form of Varek (Anthony James) and Joella (Markie Post).

The Plot to Kill a City: Part 2, was written by Alan Brennert and debuted on 18 October, 1979. While Buck deals with Kellogg (Frank Gorshin), Wilma (Erin Gray), Huer (Tim O’Connor) and Twiki (Felilx Silla/Mel Blanc) work on finding a way to help him, and plugging the leak the Earth Defense Directorate has.

They are able to stay one step ahead of Kellogg for most of the adventure. Kellogg and his team all have extraordinary gifts that when combined will allow them to sabotage a plant that, when it explodes, will wipe out New Chicago. Sherese (Nancy DeCarl) is an empath, Quince (John Quade) is a telepath with telekinetic abilities, Varek can become immaterial, and Kellogg is a criminal genius. It’s a tough group, but Earth and its heroes may be enough to take them down.

Buck races to stop Kellogg, making glib remarks along the way, even as Varek begins to rebel under Kellogg’s orders.

I think my biggest issue with the series isn’t the camp, or the cheesiness of some of the dialogue, it is the set designs and costumes. Because they look like sets and costumes, it’s all too clean, and organized, and doesn’t look lived in. It lacks a history and reality, and I think that’s one of the things that really dates the series, no matter how fun some of the episodes are.

Like this one.

Return of the Fighting 69th was written by David Carren, and was first broadcast on 25 October, 1979. A pair of Wilma’s old nemesis, Corliss (Robert Quarry) and Roxanne (Elizabeth Allen) are using a remote asteroid belt for a base of operations, from which they plan to launch an attack on Earth using nerve agents.

When Buck and Wilma’s wingmen are destroyed in the asteroids, they have to turn to an older bomber squadron, led by Major Noah Cooper (Peter Graves!) to assist in the attack. Wilma has a strong paternal relationship with Cooper, and feels he and his team are too old to lend a hand.

But when Buck and Wilma are captured by Corliss, and threatened with torture, it may be up to Cooper’s team to rescue them, and complete the mission.

Buck and Wilma aren’t completely without help though, Roxanne’s slave girl, an Earth girl named Alicia (Katherine Wiberg) will end up lending them a hand.

I do like that the series has some familiar faces popping up as guest stars, and is also a fan of stunt casting. The stories really do embrace the pulp serial feel of the 30s, updated for late 70s entertainment, and there’s never any doubt that the good guys will save the day, even when the odds are against them.

There’s also a bit of a message in this one, about age not being a debilitating factor when one grows older.

Let’s see what Buck gets up to next time in the 25th century!

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