Monday, April 7, 2014

Buck Rogers 2.10: “Shgoratchx!”

Airdate: 3/19/81

Buck and the gang come across a drifting spacecraft and board it. It turns out to be a band of midgets in charge of a solar bomb disposal unit for “the queen,” but their vessel is so antiquated and badly damaged they’re essentially a floating time bomb. Buck invites the little guys to board the Searcher and offers to tow their ship to safety; that’s when the trouble really begins. In no time at all they screw things up royally, including blowing out the ship’s power grid and damaging Chrichton’s brain – they also find untold amusement in playing Asteroids by overriding the main gunnery controls. Buck gets everything back to normal – eventually – and with Twikki’s (and the dwarf’s) help they manage to jump start Chrichton’s central nervous system back to his old supercilious self. And they’re all too happy to get their diminutive guests back to their home. Particularly Buck, who hasn’t had a wink of sleep in 50 hours.

Another genuinely strange episode, and as a bonus it’s also extremely politically incorrect. Not only do “little people” take a beating, but so does feminism: in the most singularly awkward and offensive scene of the series, the dwarves, overcome by the novel sight of a woman, surround Wilma and use their telepathic powers (don’t ask) to attempt to undress her. Well, at least we finally know where Zapped! got its inspiration.

Beyond that, it’s all rather silly, but at least there’s a lot going on. Kinda cool to see Twikki sacrifice himself for the good of the ship, and Buck’s vain attempt throughout to get some shuteye is amusing, But those damn dwarves to get pretty frigging annoying after awhile – I’d have thrown them off after about 10 minutes.

The ragtag assortment of dwarves also seems to be a precursor to Time Bandits, released later that year. In fact, it looks like 1981 was a big year for little people, as Under the Rainbow was released that summer.


dgtloutlaw said...

Great observation on the um "little people"! I happened to be re-watching the Buck Rogers series. The second season is basically unwatchable... save for the fact that there is some pretty decent pop-culture easter eggs. 1981 being the year of the "little person"... also the episode "Journey to Oasis", Crystals and The Satyr appear to be a feeble attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons.

Chris Collins said...

Thanks for the feedback! I definitely have mixed feelings about the second season. I liked the more serious, less-cheesy tone from the first year, but I also felt it never gained momentum enough to go anywhere with that seriousness. This was partially due to factors beyond the show's control, like the writer's strike and bad scheduling. In any case, I enjoyed watching the series again on DVD.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...