Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) – Unchained Woman, and Planet of the Amazon Women

Jamie Lee Curtis guest stars alongside series star Gil Gerard in Unchained Woman, the next episode I delve into as I explore the 25th century. Written by Bill Taylor, this episode had an original broadcast date of 1 November, 1979.

Buck (Gerard) is placed, undercover, inside a prison to break out Jen Burton (Curtis), and bring her to Earth. It seems Burton has taken the fall for her boyfriend, Malary (Michael DeLano), a notorious criminal.

The Earth Directorate hopes that after ten months in prison waiting on Malary to break her out that she will testify against him if Buck gets her out. But that ends up being the easy part. After their escape they are pursued across a treacherous desert by a malfunctioning guard android.

On Earth Huer (Tim O’Connor) realizes there is a traitor in their midst who is keeping Malary in the loop and is troubled to learn who it is. Wilma (Erin Gray) arrives on Zeta Minor, the prison planet to help Buck and Jen escape, but lots of things will go wrong before then…

Curtis is a wonderful guest star and while the story is standard fare, and you can see the twists and turns coming from quite a ways away, it’s entertaining nonetheless.

Sharp-eyed viewers will recognize the transport shuttle that was used in Battlestar Galactica. In addition, Buck ends up in a costume that was also used in the earlier series.

For now, the show is heartily embracing its camp and sense of fun. And while there are internal inconsistencies, it’s still a joy to watch.

Planet of the Amazon Women was written by Star Trek’s D.C. Fontana, alongside Richard Fontana, and it first debuted on 8 November, 1979.

Buck is on his way back to Earth when he receives a distress call from a pair of sisters, who need his assistance to get their ship home. Arriving there, he is soon captured, and entered into the slave market.

Meanwhile, we are given a story about a young woman, Ariela (Ann Dusenberry), the daughter of the planet’s Prime Minister (Anne Jeffreys). It seems Ariela isn’t too keen on the way the planet is ruled, or the slave trade the planet is involved in. Her mother has other plans for her, however, as she has purchased Buck to be Ariela’s mate.

But maybe Buck’s arrival (and if Buck is there, Wilma can’t be too far behind) will be just the thing Ariela needs to effect her escape, and perhaps, change her world.

The camp overshadows the fact the story may have had something to say about relationships, the way men and women relate to one another, and the symbolisms of sexuality (there are beefcake moments for Buck, and the women setting the trap are made to look very beguiling, and of course there’s Erin Gray), and the idea of strength. D.C. Fontana wrote this! But it isn’t all it could have been.

I wonder what Buck will get up to next week?

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