Monday, January 6, 2014

Buck Rogers 1.6: “Plot to Kill a City, Part 1”

Airdate: 10/11/79

When Buck kills a vile bounty hunter, Raphael Argus, the terrorist group of which he was a member, the Legion of Death, vows revenge. Buck infiltrates the group using Raphael’s identity, and meets its leader: the nefarious Seton Kellogg (Frank Gorshin). Other members include a thug with superior strength, a mystic with powers of telekinesis, and a ravishing beauty who can read others’ emotions. Only one woman, Raphael’s old girlfriend Joella (Markie Post), has the potential of blowing Buck’s cover, but she trustingly plays along with the ruse. It turns out the real threat is Buck’s former cellmate turned traitor; he tattles to Kellogg that Buck can’t possibly be Raphael, and it looks like Kellogg believes him. Uh oh!

Part one of the series’ third two-part episode is a real snoozer. Oh sure, it hasall the Buck trademarks: campy, sexy get-ups, slick silver sets, and the usual fish-out-of-water misunderstandings Buck must deal with, but neither the story nor the characters here have no motivating interest. Even the villain here is a complete non-threat: Frank Gorshin (the second in a row of two Batman villain guest stars) looks like he wandered in from the set of a laconic psychological drama. Wilma Deering is ostensibly teamed up with Buck on this mission (to where?), but she winds up playing second-fiddle to Buck’s vixen-voiced automatic pilot for the duration. Sure hope things pick up for part 2, put it would have to be an Empire Strikes Back-caliber continuation for my review of this to change.

Future Night Court star Markie Post is probably the best thing here, playing her usual sassy but saucy persona. She’s wearing a fairly modest outfit considering what they could’ve put her in.

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