The final episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was written by Stephen McPherson and is a bit of rumination on guilt, justice, and terrorism. The series surprised me one last time by delivering a story on 16 April, 1981, that had a lot to say, but surprise, surprise, wasn’t allowed to thrive the way it should have.
There are some interesting and thoughtful things posited throughout the episode, but they aren’t as fully explored as they could have been.
Hawk (Thom Christopher), Wilma (Erin Gray), and Buck (Gil Gerard) are working on a refugee relocation service with the Searcher, and Buck allows a masked woman on the run from some Dorians to join the evacuees.
We soon learn that she is accused of being a murderer and the Dorians will exert their will and force on the transport shuttle and the Searcher until the woman, Asteria (Devon Ericson) is handed over to them, whether she’s truly guilty or not.
The rest of the refugees begin to point fingers at one another, suspecting each other of being a Dorian murderer all while the Dorians play with the ship’s environmental controls, increasing the evacuees’ discomfort by raising and lowering the temperature to extremes.
Buck is determined to learn the truth about the murder, and if he can, prove Asteria’s innocence.
He’s the only one in the episode who seems to be able to maintain a cool head throughout the story, no matter the temperature, so of course, it ends with justice served, and people realizing that terrorism is not the way to exact justice.
This is a series that really does need to be rebooted for the modern era. It needs to get away from the camp and actually engage in some true science fiction and use that as an analogy to make comments on the world of the day.
It could have been something but the series never seemed to know what to do with the characters, and couldn’t really elevate itself above the Saturday matinee trappings it seemed to be confined to. Buck was perhaps the most well-defined of the characters, though even he suffered, and Wilma, despite being stunning was never given enough to do. A smart, strong woman character in the early 80s, it’s no wonder they didn’t know what to do.
I really do want to see this property revisited and revitalized. It could be something really entertaining.
Next week I dig into another paranormal procedural, leaving the camp behind, as I investigate Fringe.