Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Buck Rogers 2.5: “The Guardians”

Airdate: 1/29/81

While exploring a supposedly lifeless planet, Buck and Hawk come across a
Anyone got a protein bar?
dying old man, whose last request to his visitors is to be the “guardian” of a small, green-light emanating chest and deliver it safely to an undisclosed location. Honoring the request, Buck brings it back aboard the Searcher, and from there his troubles begin. It seems as though anyone who looks inside the weird object has disturbing visions – for Buck it’s a dream/memory of his last hours before the ill-fated journey that froze him for 500 years. The admiral hallucinates that the entire ship’s crew is starving to death, Hawk sees a vision of his deceased wife, and Derring catches a glimpse of herself… as a blind woman. What do all these dreams have in common? Well it’s something to do with the space-time continuum, which has now been thrown out of whack thanks to the emerald enigma. Ultimately, Buck decides to have the ship follow the course the chest seems to have set for them – and the wind up on a strange planet where the object they’ve vouchsafed to the natives makes wise old men appear. Their line has been restored – and many thanks are paid to Buck for his fearless delivery.

Interesting premise is mostly successful once it gets going. Some of the folkish backstory involving the line of Guardians is little hokey, but the supernatural qualities of the chest, and the dreams those afflicted have, are quite eerie. I’m always a sucker for sci-fi works that deal with time-twisting, so this was up my alley. Most interesting scene: Buck’s flashback to his life before his trip, which we’ve seen only once before (“A Dream of Jennifer”).

Show has found its more cerebral, babe-less groove, but those pubescent boys that were the core of Buck’s first-season audience vacated the show in droves. No more ratings, no renewal, and so Buck has only 8 more shows left.

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