Buck Rogers #14: A Blast for Buck

"That's enough drifting for now."

WHAT'S UP, BUCK?: To solve a riddle, Buck and friends remember clips from the last half-season.

REVIEW: A clip show?! At the halfway point of the first season!? Outrageous and proof of poor planning. You can well imagine I won't be kind to this one. Its conceit is entirely ridiculous. Basically, some strange probe orbits Earth and makes all the alarms go off. A burger-shaped object is beamed down to Huer's office  and delivers a riddle that seems to point to Buck knowing the answer, but who could have sent it? Instead of rattling off villains, they lose precious time (as a big hourglass counts down the hour) hooking Buck, Wilma and Twiki to a mind probe (again) so they can watch reruns of the previous episodes, only to then dismiss this and that villain for reasons. There's absolutely no reason to use an invasive technique to get any of this information out of them, and as is often the case with these things, they can even remember moments where they were not present.

If you were paying attention at the top of the show, you would have seen Gary Coleman's guest-star credit, which could spoil the answer. I was pretty sure Genesia's President Fox was going to show up with the answer at the end, though I assumed HE was the "man out of Old Earth's past". Not the case, which is even less satisfying. Turns out it's December 31st and Fox and Buck are the only ones who might celebrate New Year's, so this was much ado about nothing. Not a threat, just a fun riddle for fun that accidentally put the planet on high alert. And yes, the previous episode took place on January 7th, so they're out of order (consequently, no clips of Buck's birthday). They couldn't even make it air closest to New Year's 1980.

There's very little joy to get from this. I mean, okay, the crop of clips show a lot of action moments (though the pilot movie doesn't feature at all) and all of Buck's babes (amusingly, as he first sits in the chair). You might be mildly interested to know what happened to Kalil in the end. Maybe the irony of Buck dismissing Frank Gershin's character as someone who would never fool with riddles? For the most part, it's just the core cast trying to justify edited repeats of what amounts to really very few episodes, followed by Coleman explaining every line of a riddle on a video screen as Buck goes "Of course!" like he's Adam West's Batman.

Clip shows are definitely an artifact of a bygone era of television. Several disco moments from past episodes are represented.

STAR GAZING: Gary Coleman is back for new footage, and a lot of guest-stars appear in the clips.


REWATCHABILITY: Low - Next time you run out of money, just cut an episode entirely, okay?


Mike W. said...

Yeah, as soon as I realized it was a clip show I knew I'd be fast-forwarding through the flashbacks. The only show I can think of that did clip shows well was Xena because they always came up with elaborate framing stories as an excuse to show the clips.


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