Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) – Cosmic Whiz Kid, and Escape From Wedded Bliss

Buck (Gil Gerard) pals up with another survivor of the 20th century, and the child genius president of the planet Genosia, Hieronymous Fox (Gary Coleman – which was the casting in the episode that I loved as a kid), as they square off against the evil Roderick Zale (Ray Walston – the casting that I loved as an adult) in Cosmic Whiz Kid.

Written by Alan Brennert from a story by Anne Collins this episode was first broadcast on 15 November, 1979. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice some prop and costume reuses from Galactica, in a story that sees Zale kidnapping Fox in an attempt to gain a fortune that Fox’s planet will not be able to deliver.

Meanwhile, Fox’s bodyguard, Dia Cryton (Melody Rogers) comes to Earth seeking help, but without diplomatic ties, they can’t openly help, and Dia leaves with a plan of her own… Kidnap Buck and convince him to help. She’s able to persuade him to help and off they go!

But Huer (Tim O’Connor) said openly help, he said nothing about covertly, and he sends Wilma (Erin Gray) undercover to track down and rescue Fox. Which Buck and Dia are already attempting.

It’s a fairly silly episode, enjoyably so. In point of fact, this is an episode I hadn’t seen in decades, and I sat through it and fairly enjoyed it all. I also like the fact that Brennert and Collins, who have written a few of the episodes so far, are working at establishing a bit of continuity but referencing past episodes.

Fun but forgettable.

Escape From Wedded Bliss was written by Collins and Brennert, debuted on 29 November, 1979, and saw the return of the beguiling Princess Ardala (Pamela Hensley), her right hand men Kane (now played by Michael Ansara, who replaced Henry Silva) and Tigeran (H.B. Haggerty).

Wilma and Buck encounter a strange weapon in Earth orbit, that is revealed to be a new Draconian weapon. Ardala is under orders from her Emperor father to destroy the Earth. And she plans to, after a few embellishments to her father’s plan. She promises not to destroy Earth (she’s lying) if Buck agrees to marry her.

It’s definitely fun to see Buck and Ardala flirting and seducing one another, all while Wilma thinks he must be undergoing torture. But you have to wonder how much Buck buys into, and how much he’s doing just to keep Ardala from destroying his home planet.

There are three phases to the marriage, the seduction, the combat (Buck must find Tigerman to the death) and the ceremony, wherein Buck will have an actual choker placed around his neck. Hopefully the heroes will be able to save the day, after Buck gets some action (again) – he’s a modern guy after all.

I don’t know what it is with Ardala, some of her costumes are fantastic, and some are just bizarre, and they are often the same thing at the same time, but Hensley carries it with confidence, and seduction.

No wonder Buck is so intrigued by her.

I wonder what he’ll get up to next time in the 25th century?

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