Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1980) – Happy Birthday, Buck, and A Blast For Buck

Buck’s (Gil Gerard) birthday is coming up, and it’s his 34th or 534th, depending on how he feels about it. And he definitely feels the latter, as he’s moping around and just bummed that Earth is just a little too neat; the weather is always perfect, the architecture is just so, and there seem to be no happy accidents.

Written by Martin Pasko, Happy Birthday, Buck first aired on 10 January, 1980. Wilma (Erin Gray) and Huer (Tim O’Connor) look for a way to distract him, to not only engage him in the world around him, but to plan and set up a surprise birthday party for him.

So they hit on the idea of sending him along with an attractive courier, Raylyn (Morgan Brittany), who has worked for the history archives in the past, so, of course, the pair find one another fascinating now.

Raylyn carries the information in her head, planted in her subconscious, so she doesn’t know what it is, kinda like a Johnny Mnemonic I guess, but with out the worry about head space.

Unfortunately, someone wants to intercept Raylyn, because it will lead him to Huer. It seems Traeger (Peter MacLean) blames Huer for the way his last patrol turned out, and using some really crappy disguises connects with a psychologist, Bayliss (Tamara Dobson) to work to get the information out of Raylyn’s brain.

Happily, Buck is around to save the day, and maybe make it in time for his birthday party.

This one was a little iffy, and as lovely as Morgan Brittany is, there wasn’t enough plot or character to make this episode more than a brief, and quickly forgotten diversion.

A Blast For Buck was penned by Dick Nelson, and first aired 17 January, 1980. And here we are, fourteen episodes into the first season, and look, a clip show.

When a new satellite pops into orbit with a series of rhyming couplets being transmitted to Earth, Buck and the gang assemble to try and figure out what it is, and if it constitutes a threat.

All of the lines of the poem seem to have a connection to some event that has happened so far in the course of the first season, so Buck and Wilma take turns in a machine that lets them (and the viewers) revisit their memories, and the incidents that have taken place since Buck arrived in the 25th century.

So there’s a loose story connecting everything, but in the end, it’s just an excuse to throw together a bunch of clips and pass it off as an episode. And who could make all kinds of rhymes and know about the 20th century as much as Buck, and is also someone we’ve met this season… hmmm.

At least next time, Princess Ardala (Pamela Hensley) is back, and that’s always something to look forward to!

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