?The year is 1987. NASA launches the last of America’s deep space probes. Captain William “Buck” Rogers of Ranger Three encounters a bizarre mixture of unknown outer space gases which leave Buck in hibernation, drifting helplessly across the universe.
Buck returns to earth some five hundred years in the future and is awakened from his cryogenic slumber to discover that things have seriously changed… and that his adventures have only just begun.
Produced by Glen Larson, the Buck Rogers show struck a chord with a generation of mostly male viewers in the early ’80s despite lasting a mere two seasons. What was it about the show that captured the imagination? Was it a succession of challenging plots and cutting edge writing? Was it a weekly dose of high energy action and gritty adventure? Or perhaps it was the show’s extraordinary vision of the future? Or was it the space babes?
Because lets face it: That’s what Buck Rogers was really all about. Hot space babes. The show was chock full of gorgeous gals… all of ’em bursting at the seams in the latest and greatest space spandex outfits the galaxy had to offer, and Buck got busy with so many of them even Captain Kirk would’ve been jealous. And with that in mind, what follows is my humble attempt to catalog the sexiest space babes from the first season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
9) Jamie Lee Curtis as Jen Burton in “Unchained Woman”
An underground prison on a remote desert planet. A relentless,
unstoppable android tracker. An alien sand-squid with an appetite for
human flesh. Really fake cardboard rocks. Yes, friends, this episode
has it all.
Buck must infiltrate the underground prison in order to free Jen
Burton, a woman who has been wrongly imprisoned for a crime that her
outlaw lover has committed.
As portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis, Burton is a tough cookie who
attempts to shun Buck’s aid and good intentions only to learn the hard
way that her boyfriend is space scum. As always, Curtis’ easygoing
sexiness shines through effortlessly. Especially when tumbling around
the hot desert sun in her tight prison jumpsuit, but I digress.
8) Anne Lockhart as Leila Markeson in “A Dream of Jennifer”
This episode features an emotionally engaging premise: the idea of
preying upon the ghosts of Buck’s past. Alien radicals use a photograph
of Jennifer, the woman Buck left behind before undertaking his space
mission, to genetically alter a female mercenary into a look-a-like.
The idea is to snare Buck into a plot to destroy an Earth supply ship
providing weapons to the alien’s enemies.
Anne Lockhart is a nice match up for Buck, and their flashback
scenes are heartfelt and believable. As the doppelganger, she goes from a
callous mercenary to an emotionally vulnerable being who can’t help but
fall for Buck’s considerable charms.. .and thus, paying the ultimate
And need I point out that cutie-pie Anne is the daughter of Lost in Space‘s June Lockhart? Or that she had a recurring role on Larson’s other sci-fi series? I didn’t think so.
7) Dorothy Stratten as Miss Cosmos in “Cruise Ship to the Stars”
?The lovely and tragic Ms. Stratton (she was murdered just prior to the release of the film Galaxina, in which she portrayed the title role) has a relatively minor role in this episode as the “genetically perfect” Miss Cosmos who is used as a pawn in a kidnapping caper aboard a star cruise ship. Naturally, it’s up to Buck to save the day.
Genetically perfect? Stratton was certainly capable of making any normal red-blooded male believe that she just might have been.
6) Teddi Siddall as Linea in “Planet of the Amazon Women”
?When answering the distress signal of a disabled spacecraft, Buck is captured by a pair of scheming sisters and taken to the planet Zantia, a world populated by women hungry for male companionship. Of course, being the desirable hunk of man that he is, Buck is put up for auction to the highest bidder.
Of the two enslaving sisters, Teddi Siddall makes quite an impression as the statuesque Linea. Also starring in this episode is Anne Dusenberry, who made notable appearances in the toothy fish-story sequel Jaws 2 and alongside Harrison Ford in a long forgotten Exorcist telefilm rip-off entitled The Possessed.
5) Pamela Susan Shoop as Tangie in “Vegas in Space”
?“Vegas” is a standout episode in the series for many reasons. It boasts a scary, if seedy villain in the form of Richard Lynch as Velosi, as well as an appearance by the one and only Cesar Romero, and not one, but three sexy special guest stars.
The gist of the story concerns Buck’s mission to the gambling world of Sinoloa to rescue a kidnapped girl (the alluring Anna Alicia). Accompanying Buck is Directorate special agent Marla Landers (spunky beauty Juanin Clay).
While scoping out the gaming casino, Buck encounters enslaved “entertainer” Tangie, a role assumed by Pamela Susan Shoop. To say that Ms. Shoop is an eyeful in her revealing casino gown would be an understatement.
Perhaps the most bizarre factoid concerning this episode is that both Shoop and Alicia appeared as nurses in Halloween II, falling victim to the maniacal Michael Myers’ killer hypodermic and a boiling hot tub, respectively.
4) Morgan Brittany as Raylyn Merrit in “Happy Birthday, Buck”
?Buck has the blues as his 534th birthday approaches. In an attempt to cheer Buck up, Wilma and Dr. Huer decide to throw him an old-fashioned surprise party. As a diversion, they send him on a seemingly superfluous mission with special agent Raylyn Merrit. Needless to say, things go awry, get dangerous and Buck winds up having to rescue the lovely Raylyn.
Morgan Brittany admittedly doesn’t have much to do in the episode other than to provide a super dose of eye candy and serve as the damsel in distress of the week, but her rising hem line, always-perfect hair and glossy lips do the trick.
The best bit in the show has Wilma putting together a list of potential party guests for Buck’s celebration. It reads like a little black book and contains many of the ladies found on this very list.
3) Markie Post as Joella Cameron in “The Plot to Kill a City”
?A group of vengeful villains calling themselves “The Legion of Death” are planning to wipe out New Chicago via a nuclear disaster, which requires Buck to go deep undercover in a desperate bid to thwart the assassin’s group fiendish plan; along the way he encounters Joella Cameron. This is Markie Post (who later starred in Night Court) in a rather thankless role that doesn’t add much to the proceedings, but she’s quite a good sport. Joella saves Buck’s bacon for reasons unknown, and despite some deeply rooted abandonment issues, she seems to just be out looking for a good time. And she looks outstanding in her spandex space jumpsuit. It’s too bad this character couldn’t have somehow found a recurring role in the series.
2) Pamela Hensley as Princess Ardala
?There’s no question about it: the character of Princess Ardala, as portrayed by Pamela Hensley, simply oozes sex. There’s no way around it. Always slinky to the extreme and wearing the least amount of clothing as possible, this self-entitled princess is more obsessed with getting Buck into the sack than ruling the galaxy. And from where I’m standing, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Although Ardala appeared in three episodes (“Awakening,” “Escape From Wedded Bliss” and “Ardala Returns”), it’s a pity the series didn’t utilize her more often as Hensely is terrific in the role and her relationship with Buck is both complicated and engaging. It could have proved to present quite a conundrum for Buck as time passed and he found he was growing fond of the relentless, sexually charged princess despite himself. And it would have fueled a more interesting and tension-filled relationship between Buck and Wilma, too. And speaking of Wilma…
1) Erin Gray as Wilma Deering
?Not only is Wilma a stunning beauty, she’s a self-assured, stalwart Colonel that can hold her
own against nearly any foe — male or female — in combat. and she’s an ace pilot to boot. Despite a rocky start, Wilma proves to be a great friend and ally to Buck time and again. And while there was most certainly a romantic spark simmering just below the surface between Wilma and Buck, it’s never truly acted upon. Maybe Wilma was wise enough to have concerns about contracting a space STD from Buck.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Wilma (that is to say, Erin Gray) is no matter how attractive the female guest star may have been on a given episode, Erin was still the sexiest lady on the show.
Honorable Mention: Patty Maloney as Tina in “Cruise Ship to the Stars”
?I think it’s only fair to include the sexiest ambuquad in the galaxy… the little robotic siren that managed to capture Twiki’s synthetic heart. Yes, I’m talking about Tina. She’s a golden little female robot who works as a server aboard the cruise ship of the title and the attraction between she and Twiki is immediate. At one point in the episode we actually see the metallic duo share a kiss, and Twiki consistently alludes to the fact that they are “getting down.”
Of course, the concept of robot love, let alone robot sex is simply just downright confounding.
Most interesting is how Tina would play off of Twiki’s robotic “Biddi-Biddi-Biddi” gibberish, responding with “Biddi-Boodi,” which, while I have no idea what it really means, it certainly sounds filthy.
And if being able to keep up with Twiki’s robotic libido wasn’t enough, Ms. Maloney also played Chewbacca’s son Lumpy in the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special.