Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979/1980) – Cruise Ship to the Stars, and Space Vampire

Buck (Gil Gerard) ends up on a space cruise in an attempt to protect the genetically perfect Miss Cosmos (Dorothy Stratten, featuring a voice dub by Anne Lockhart) in Cruise Ship to the Stars. Written by Alan Brennert and Anne Collins, from a story by Brennert, this episode first debuted on 27 December, 1979.

Buck and Wilma (Erin Gray) board the Lyran Queen (which would be repurposed in season two when the show gets revamped as Buck’s ship, Searcher) to protect Miss Cosmos after an attempt has been made on her life.

But neither of them, nor Twiki (Felix Silla, voiced by Mel Blanc) are ready for what they encounter. It seems a wild-haired woman, Sabrina (Trisha Noble) is behind the attacks, and a rash of thefts, and she’s hiding in plain sight. It seems she’s the Hyde to Allison Michaels’ (Kimberly Beck) Dr. Jekyll.

Allison is being manipulated by her ‘boyfriend,’ Jalor (Leigh McClosky), who is using her mental illness for his own benefit, romancing both women, and gaslighting Alison.

Buck slowly starts putting it together, but will he be in time to save both Allison and Miss Cosmos?

Twiki gets some action on the cruise, with another droid, Tina (Patty Maloney) and Wilma works undercover to draw Sabrina and Jalor out into the open.

The series is definitely beginning to descend into some real camp, using familiar stories set against a backdrop of the stars and laser pistols, but none more blatantly obvious, though try telling that to eight-year old me, than Space Vampire.

Space Vampire freaked me out as a kid. Horror movies, and scary images were really not my thing. I had a very active imagination. Watching this one now, it’s very laughable, and I can’t believe the monster scared me. And I also didn’t realize that the story is very much lifted from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Written by Kathleen Barnes and David Wise, this was the first episode of 1980, airing on 3 January. While at a remote station to get Twiki serviced, a freighter arrives, with it’s crew suffering from a strange condition, that Buck, Wilma, and the station’s commander, Royko (Christopher Stone) fear may be a virus.

The station is placed under quarantine, but Wilma begins to feel a strange presence stalking her. And when station crew begin to turn up partially drained of life Buck, and the audience learns that a Vorvon (Nicholas Hormann), or space vampire (if it feeds off energy why does it need fangs?), is lurking in the station, and has his eyes set on Wilma. Unfortunately, no one believes him.

Happily with some left over props from Galactica, Rogers will be able to vanquish the evil creature, save Wilma and prove the truth of the situation.

Hard to believe this one spooked me when I was a child, the Vorvon looks silly, the story is simplistic. Honestly I think it was because the Vorvon was a monster threatening some of my heroes. There’s also this weird smile that the Vorvon has in one sequence that is still a little creepy.

I do like the fact that the episode has callbacks to the previous episode, as well as Cosmic Whiz Kid.

What will Buck get up to next week in the 25th Century? I guess I’ll find out next time!

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