?Science fiction has always brought us interesting views of our potential future. Some of them are compelling and hopeful, like Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future in Star Trek. Others are dark and foreboding like Space: Above and Beyond. Then there are series that seem to combine the two like Babylon 5 or Earth: Final Conflict. However, in all of television based science fiction, there is no universe quite as unique as the one featured in the ’70s “hit” Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
For those unacquainted with the series, Astronaut Buck Rogers is a stranger in a strange land, having been accidentally cryogenically frozen while on a “Deep Space probe” in 1987. Having been blown into a very wide orbit, Buck plays the role of Popsicle for the next 500 years, until being discovered by the Draconians near Earth in the year 2491. However, Earth is not quite what he remembers. Apparently right after he left, a nuclear conflict took place, killed most of the inhabitants, and rendered most of the planet into a desert wasteland, with the majority of the surviving humans living in large cities, like New Chicago, home of the Earth Defense Directorate. There he helps stop alien invasion, interstellar crime and terrorism, and has tons of sex, all using his witty 1980s charm (while the series was produced in 1979, Buck originally left Earth in 1987).
If this series has any bit of clairvoyance about it, then we have an interesting future ahead of us, filled with mutants, starfighters, aliens, chest hair and, most terrifyingly, roller disco. So let’s hope not…
11) All Evil People Will Wear Helmets
Apparently in the future, accessorizing is still a very big part of dressing. While spandex, sequins and leather will be the popular items of the day, the one distinguishing feature of evil will be the wearing of a helmet. Now, of course the evil leaders do not wear helmets (unless you count Princess Ardala’s Horny Hat), but the quickest way to spot a henchmen or underling is to look at their dome piece for a cover. Interestingly enough, in the future there will not be many distributors or retailers in the Evil Wardrobe business, because generally no matter whom the henchman works for, they all wear the same helmet. Other henchmen identifiers include: Wearing of leather bondage outfits, incredible amounts of horniness, and a tendency to be looking the wrong way.
10) cAPitAL leTTerS aRE nO lONGer relaVANt
Apparently the laws of phonics have gone out the window in the future. For some reason, although everyone speaks English, when written, capital letters are inserted random places throughout the words. There is no pattern that one can discern from the placement of the capitals; it just seems that whoever made all signage in the future was not at all skilled in written English.
9) All Sexually Transmitted Disease Will Be Eradicated
For some reason, science fiction heroes of the ’60s and ’70s had a pretty large libido. The starship Enterprise could be been called the Love Boat for all the action Captain Kirk got, but apparently Kirk has nothing on Rogers, as Buck’s sexual skills are legendary. While there is never obvious sexual contact between Buck and the myriad of females throwing themselves at him, it is most certainly implied. In the first season, more often than not, Buck was partnered with a different sexy woman to rescue, woo and eventually bang Princess Ardala went so far as to start a war to get her hands on his Rogers, he was put up for auction in front of hundreds of horny single ladies, and each week he made futuristic women from all over the galaxy swoon. The movie version of the pilot featured a credit sequence featuring numerous women, including Princess Ardala and Wilma Dearing, writhing around on top of the titles (above, kind of). In fact, his mojo was so powerful, he could even get Twiki the robot laid. But it is safe to say, with the amount of sweet loving going on, sexually transmitted diseases had to have been eradicated. Otherwise Buck would have at least come down with a case of space herpes.
8) All Thinking Will Be Done by Computers Carried Around by Penis-Shaped Robots
When Buck wakes up and eventually lands on Earth, he is left to the mercy of the Computer Council. Apparently Skynet works, because after the nuclear holocaust, the computers took over the world. Now the world is run by a Computer Council, a group of disc-shaped talking computers. Non-ambulatory, these computers are strung around the necks of phallus-headed robots called ambuquads, and generally look like a high tech Flava Flav medallion. Dr. Theopolis, the apparent custodian of Buck when he first awakens is a rather strange character. While he speaks with a male voice, he is obviously attracted to Buck, often lamenting on how wonderful and attractive Buck is. It also seems that other humanoids from other planets also use this same style of electronic overlord, as Dr. Theopolis has had to negotiate with a computer from another world; however, other planets use greased up body builders to escort their computers rather than penis-headed robots.
7) Birds Will Evolve Into Humans That Look Like Birds
The series makes a total change in the beginning of the second season, moving from being Earth-centric to a sort of Battlestar Galactica in reverse. That is, Buck and Wilma join the crew of the Searcher to explore strange new worlds, and “search” out possible lost tribes of humans who escaped the holocaust. Of course, before their mission can start in earnest, the Searcher is called to investigate attacks on human ships by someone called “Hawk.” It isn’t long before Buck finally meets up with Hawk, who turns out to be a leather-clad Moe Howard lookalike with a skullcap of salt and pepper hair, and wearing a skintight outfit that would make Pulp Fiction‘s Gimp proud. Apparently, over the years, hawks had evolved and found ways of leaving the Earth, eventually becoming something that is less hawk-like and more human like. Of course, this metamorphosis did come with a price, as now our fine, feathered friends are no longer able to fly. But that won’t stop Hawk, because he has a spaceship… that looks just like a hawk. In the tragic comedy that is Buck Rogers, Hawk accidentally spears his wife, the last remaining Hawk female, with the talons of his ship, dooming her and their race to extinction.
6) All Dancing Will Suck Balls
When we first see any form of recreation in the 24th century, it is in the form of dancing. However, it seems that dancing has been refined greatly in the future. At the reception for the Draconian envoy, a very formal occasion, we see a very structured, almost medieval square dance. Dancers twirl around in small groups with little sequined disco balls attached to their hands. It isn’t long before Buck shows that he has a fever, and the only prescription is more boogie-ing, and “rock n’ roll” is reborn in the 25th century. Alas, as the series goes on, dancing is featured more than once, all with more disco-style music. First we see Buck dancing with the Colonel at Caesar’s Palace in space, and later the Studio 54-esq Andromeda concerts. More strangely, now they can’t dance without some sort of prop. In “New Space Vegas,” the prop is a Styrofoam column, in “Space Rockers,” kids danced with rope lighting, but at no point in the entire series does someone dance without some sort of prop. Perhaps it’s to take the attention away from the horrid dancing, maybe it’s to give the actor something to hide behind, but at no point in the series (save for Buck getting down with Ardala in the pilot) does anyone ever dance without a prop. And you though line dancing was bad.
5) Gary Coleman Will Be the Smartest Man in the Universe
So the odds of a person being accidentally cryogenically frozen and reanimated 500 years later are pretty astronomical. So what are the chances that a second person would also get frozen in almost the same manner? About 1 in 1, apparently. If all of this sounds absurd, wait until you get to the punch line: The second person is the supposed smartest person in the galaxy, and he just so happens to be Gary “Whutchu talking ’bout, Willis” Coleman. Yes, long before he went Postal, he was the smartest 10-year-old in the universe, and the president of Genesia. Of course, it isn’t long before trouble ensues and Gary is abducted by Mr. Hand. Buck and his gal pal of the week are of course able to save the day, and President Hieronymus Fox appears periodically during the rest of the first season. He is basically like a smartass younger version of Buck, constantly making ’80s references and essentially acting like Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes.
4) Roller Disco Will Be Considered an Act of War
In the scene above, the Earth Defense Directorate welcomes Draconian Princess Ardala to Earth. If “Bah Weep Gra Wa Weep Nini Bom” is the universal greeting of friendship, then performing roller disco is the universal equivalent of “Fuck You.” Why? Because in the next scene, Ardala explains to the party that she intends on glassing the planet with her new planet-killing pyramid thing, unless Buck submits to her every kinky whim. One can only assume it’s because of the insult brought upon by the roller disco (in fairness, the opening to the show explained that Ardala had all intentions of nuking the planet, but we prefer our explanation). Roller disco has obviously evolved over the years, with performers accessorizing with rope-lighting trimmed skates, and tons of glitter. I will say this, the blond ponytailed bimbo is having a hell of a good time, or is on a shitload of drugs. She looks like the happiest person in the universe.
3) The Seven Dwarfs Will Telepathically Strip Women… for Science
In its travels, the Searcher somehow came upon a group of little people. But these weren’t your typical little people, but instead take a page from Carrie White and have the ability of telekinesis. While Carrie was able to murder and destroy with her power, these telekinetics have other intentions — specifically, playing doctor. Apparently their species doesn’t have women like human women. Enter Wilma Dering, who is a whole lotta woman, and you have a rather explosive situation. Intrigued by her “bumps”, the dwarves corner her, and begin to “off-think” telekinetically removing her buttons, one by one, from her top. When our dear Colonel questions their behavior, they take a page from GlaDOS and happily exclaim that their actions are for science! Of course, being a family show, Wilma escaped the scene clothed, but Dads everywhere had nasty thoughts for the rest of the evening. I’ll be in my bunk.
2) The Teletubbies Will Become the Most Popular Music Group in History
Music has evolved greatly in the 25th century. In the pilot episode, it seemed rather stuffy, and it took Buck to bring back “rock.” Apparently, it caught on pretty quickly, because it wasn’t long before super group Andromeda hit the scene. Dressed like a futuristic illuminated Teletubbie, Andromeda is comprised of “guitar” player Karana, light-up laser synthesizer player Rambeau, and the clear crystal drummer is the mighty Cirus. Their unique version of rock sounds more like electronica, but regardless of what you call it, apparently it will be very popular, with the band getting ready for their first galaxy-wide broadcast. Of course, the real man behind Andromeda was their manager Lars “I put baby in the corner” Mangros and his enforcer Bull from Night Court. Little did the band know that Lars was really trying to dominate the universe, by using subliminal messages to put listeners into a violent trance. Some people become so hypnotized, they join a cross between the KISS Army and the Hitler Youth, start wearing uniforms and the obligatory evil helmets, and act as a militia for the evil music producer. Of course, once Buck arrives on space station “MusicWorld” the shit hits the fan, and Lars’ plan ends up getting Bucked. Unfortunately, Andromeda doesn’t reappear in the series, but apparently their music transcends time, as they performed on the Grand Theft Auto San Andreas soundtrack (actually, the song “Odyssey” featured in the episode was written and performed by the great Johnny Harris).
1) Vampires Will No Longer Sparkle
One of the things that apparently escaped the destruction of Earth as we know it is Nosferatu, the vampire. Now known as a Vorvon, the creature formerly known as a vampire, travels space, no longer needing blood to survive, but instead feasting on its victims’ “life force” for food. This metaphysical chowing down still has the unwelcome side effect of turning the lunchee into a Vorvon as well, but this method seems to be a lot less messy than what the Vorvon’s 21st century relatives had to do to eat. The Vorvon does not, however, resemble the 21st century vampire at all. First, gone is the “marble-like” skin that is pale, cold and sparkly — the Vorvon can best be described as a Ferengi with hydrocephalus, fangs, and a big fucking unibrow. In fact, there is no real way to describe the unibrow, it is just so massive and takes up so much of the Vorvon’s enlarged dome piece, it must really be seen to be believed. His fashion sense is very un-Edward Cullen, as he seems to dress like a member of Pantera, though his long painted fingernails elicit the look of a confused 15-year-old emo kid. While the Vorvon in this episode was defeated, it is not known if more exist; however, we do know that they sure as hell don’t sparkle.
A fan of video games and science fiction from the moment he discovered his father's Atari 2600 and Star Wars, Jason Helton has been contributing to The Robot's Voice since 2011. Prior, he wrote for the UK's Den of Geek and was the producer and host of Iron Otaku Radio on XM's UPOP 29 channel. A die-hard fan of Battlestar Galactica (both old and new), Doctor Who, and pinball, you can follow him on Twitter @Razgriz1138.