Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
I grew up with Buck Rogers as a regular staple of my childhood, with Gil Gerard in the title role as a strapping 20th century astronaut frozen in suspended animation for 500 years. Once awakened, he finds himself in a strange future filled with crazy aliens, irritating droids, and Erin Gray in a series of puberty-inducing outfits. But what you might not remember is that the feature-length pilot actually got a theatrical release several months before the show premiered on TV. It’s great stuff when you’re eight, but it’s painfully cheesy when viewed through non-nostalgic eyes.
Which actually makes it perfectly suited for a remake. The “man out of time/space” thing is a great way to ground the crazier science fiction elements — just look how well the John Crichton dynamic worked in Farscape. But Buck doesn’t have the hope of returning to his own time; he’s stuck in 25th Century, like it or not. This is one of those properties that could go a lot of ways. You can play the concept as a straight-up sci-fi space adventure, and with the right people involved, that could be a blast. The far trickier task would be to shoot for a Guardians of the Galaxy-style mix of comedy and action. The bad version of that — I’m picturing Will Ferrell as Buck — could be truly awful. But with big-screen space operas making a return thanks to movies like Guardians, Jupiter Ascending, and the new Star Wars movies, it’s time for somebody to thaw Buck out and let him have another go. (And there’s already a recent comic revival if Hollywood needs some ideas.) – David