Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Buck Rogers 1.23 and 1:24: “Flight of the War Witch”

Airdate: 3/27/80 (Originally broadcast as a two-hour episode)

A weird orb lands outside of New Chicago, and the Directorate discovers it to be some kind of invitation from another universe, complete with directions on how to get there. Buck volunteers for the perilous mission, but Princess Ardala knows something is up and, not wanting to be left out, tags along too – forcing Huer and Wilma to go with. Now everyone together gets to find out what the deal is: their help is needed to defend the planet Pendar from the wrath of evil War Witch Zarina and her Zaad armies, who have captured a Pendarin scientist who can deactivate the Pendar force field and render the planet completely unprotected from any alien attacks. Essentially held hostage until the work is through, the good guys, led by Buck, figure out how to fry the Zaad battle cruiser inside the force field when it gets activated again, and once again all is well – even if in another universe.

TV Guide ad for the show
First season finale also represents the final appearances of Huer, Theopolis, Ardala and Kane as the show gets revamped for the second season. Knowing this, the producers gave Pamela Hensley plenty of midriff-baring screen time – and even lets her be a good girl for a change, while Tim O’Connor gets to say goodbye to Buck, even if not at the end of the show. Things get a little silly toward the end, particularly when Ardala tries to negotiate a separate deal with Zarina (whose portrayal by Julie Newmar isn’t near as fun as it should be), and the storyline is a bit too thin to fill a two-hour episode. Still, the action is rollicking enough, and some of the superimposed animated special effects look so good they almost resemble CGI. 

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