Time Of The Hawk

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyBuck, Wilma and Twiki have been reassigned to the deep-space exploration ship Searcher on a mission to search for any colonies that may have been established by humans who escaped Earth around the time of the holocaust. Their first evidence of human colonists, however, is a primitive ship found adrift, its hull shattered and all but one of its crew dead. The lone survivors warns Buck with his last breath that someone called “Hawk” is on a mission to exterminate every human, every human ship, and every human colony he can find. The survivor gives them one tip about where Hawk might be found, and the Searcher changes its course so Buck can follow up on the lead. A neutral planet turns out to be the current lair of Hawk, and Buck asks Wilma to meet him there; against her better judgement, Wilma brings a passenger along: Dr. Goodfellow, the Searcher’s elderly but brilliant chief scientist.

Buck doesn’t find Hawk, but he does find Hawk’s mate, Koori, half-human and half-bird, and bets that if he takes Koori with him, Hawk will follow. Hawk does indeed catch up with Buck, grappling the earthman’s starfighter with the harpoon-like claws of his own ship – but impaling Koori in the process. Both ships land, and Buck helps Hawk take Koori to a healer who lives in a distant cave on the planet, both men postponing their fight until she can be saved. Hawk tells Buck that he and Koori are the last of their kind, hunted to extinction by humans, and that his fight is just. Buck tries to tell Hawk that the actions of human colonists don’t necessarily reflect the current state of humanity on Earth, but Hawk is not swayed – when Koori is either restored to health or laid to rest, Hawk and Buck will fight to the death.

Season Two Regular Cast: Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers), Erin Gray (Colonel Wilma Deering), Thom Christopher (Hawk), Jay Garner (Admiral Asimov), Wilfred Hyde-White (Dr. Goodfellow), Felix Silla (Twiki), Jeff David (voice of Crichton)

Order the DVDswritten by Norman Hudis
directed by Vincent McEveety
music by Bruce Broughton

Guest Cast: Barbara Luna (Koori), Lance Le Gault (Flagg), David Opatoshu (Llamajuna), Sid Haig (Pratt), Kenneth O’Brien (Captain), Dennis Haysbert (Communication-Probe Officer), Lavelle Roby (Thromis), Michael Fox (High Judge), Andre Harvey (Thordis), J. Christopher O’Connor (Young Lieutenant), Tim O’Keefe (Bailiff), Ken Chandler (Court Clerk), Susan McIver (Simmons)

Notes: Crichton admits, somewhat reluctantly, that he obeys Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, and even more begrudgingly admits that an ancestor of Admiral Asimov wrote those laws. The Crichton prop first appeared early in the first season, but as a large clock instead of a robot. Twiki’s voice was replaced for part of this season as part of the sweeping changes introduced by new executive producer John Mantley, but eventually Mel Blanc was brought back to provide Twiki’s voice.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Journey To Oasis

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyThe Searcher is diverted from its exploration mission to ferry a Zykarian ambassador named Duvoe to a diplomatic summit on the barren planet R-4. In the neutral meeting place called Oasis, Duvoe hopes to prevent an interstellar war before the first shots can be fired. When Dr. Goodfellow craftily convinces Admiral Asimov to let him tag along to get a rare glimpse of R-4’s rumored abundance of mutant life forms, Hawk is assigned to protect him. The shuttle they depart aboard crashes in the wasteland far from Oasis, and Buck and the others escape just before the shuttle sinks into the ground. With no communications gear or power, and over Duvoe’s persistent protests, Buck’s party sets out for Oasis on foot – and Dr. Goodfellow has ample opportunity to witness the mutations of R-4 along the way. In orbit, Admiral Asimov and Zykarian Admiral Zeit grow increasingly suspicious of each other, as Earth is generally believed to be aligned with the Zykarians’ enemies. If word comes from Oasis that Ambassador Duvoe hasn’t reached the negotiations on time, war is inevitable – and Earth will find itself in the middle of the opening volley.

Order the DVDswritten by Robert & Esther Mitchell
directed by Daniel Haller
music by John Cacavas

Guest Cast: Mark Lenard (Ambassador Duvoe), Len Birman (Admiral Zeit), Paul Carr (Lt. Devlin), Donn Whyte (Raka), Felix Silla (Odee-X), Michael Stroka (Rolla), Alex Hyde-White (Technician)

Notes: The late Mark Lenard had already made his mark on SF TV as Spock’s father Sarek in the original Star Trek, and at the time of this episode’s production had recently donned the first lumpy-headed Klingon makeup to portray a member of that race in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Paul Carr, who begins a run as recurring character Lt. Devlin, appeared in the second Star Trek pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before as Lt. Kelso; Devlin appears to be the nominal second-in-command of the Searcher after Admiral Asimov. Also, the character of Admiral Zeit may be an outcast from another SF TV franchise: he’s wearing Colonial Warrior insignia from Battlestar Galactica, which had been cancelled by this time. Judging by Odee-X’s voice, it would appear that Felix Silla was not only filling Twiki’s suit in the early part of the second season, but providing his voice too.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Guardians

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyBuck and Hawk are surveying the surface of a planet which they hope will prove to be suitable for colonization. A freak windstorm forces them to seek shelter in a cave, where they are amazed to find another human being, and an empty grave whose headstone reads “Janovus XXVI.” This, presumably, is the elderly man they have found – but nothing explains the fact that the man knows who Buck is, and appears to have been expecting his arrival. Janovus pronounces Buck the chosen one, and entrusts him with a glowing container which Buck is to pass along to the correct person at the correct time…though he has no idea who or when that will be. The old man then dies. That night, Buck falls asleep and then finds himself back at his family’s house in the 20th century. He continues on through a detailed dream that only ends at the point in his Ranger 3 mission when he was plunged into suspended animation – at which time Hawk awakens Buck. Back aboard Searcher, Crichton can’t penetrate the box with his sensors, and Dr. Goodfellow analyzes some scrolls that belonged to Janovus, discovering references to Guardians of space and time – presumably the ones to whom Buck must deliver the box. Other members of the crew, including Hawk and Admiral Asimov, experience intense hallucinations not unlike Buck’s memories of home – and close proximity to the alien box seems to be the only common factor. The Searcher’s new cargo may drive its deliverers mad before that can rid themselves of it.

Order the DVDswritten by Paul Schneider & Margaret Schneider
directed by Jack Arnold
music by Bruce Broughton

Guest Cast: Harry Townes (Janovus), Rosemary DeCamp (Mrs. Rogers), Paul Carr (Lt. Devlin), Barbara Luna (Koori), Felix Silla (Twiki), Shawn Stevens (Boy), Dennis Haysbert (Helmsman), Vic Perrin (The Guardian), Howard Culver (Mailman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Mark Of The Saurian

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyAliens with the ability to change their appearance to look human infiltrate one of Earth’s most critical strategic defense stations, killing the station’s command crew and taking over. On the Searcher, Buck is bedridden at an inopportune time – an Earth ambassador is about to board the ship before she heads out on a diplomatic assignment. Buck hobbles out of the Searcher’s sick bay to watch the welcoming ceremony, but he see someone other than Ambassador Cabot and his entourage; he later tells Wilma that he saw reptilian creatures instead. Everyone else, however, sees the Ambassador’s party as normal human beings. When Buck suspects that the Searcher’s mission is being compromised, possibly leading to the lizards’ infiltration of all of Earth space, he takes matters into his own hands even though he get his friends to believe his story.

Order the DVDswritten by Francis Moss
directed by Barry Crane
music by Herbert D. Woods

Guest Cast: Linden Chiles (Ambassador Cabot), Vernon Weddle (Dr. Moray), Kim Hamilton (Lt. Paulton), Paul Carr (Lt. Devlin), Frank Parker (Captain), Barry Cahill (Major Elif), Stacy Keach Sr. (General Kenton), Allan Hunt (Willie)

Notes: Apparently the Earth Defense Directorate has either given way to, or is a part of, a body called the Earth Alliance. The show’s plummeting budget was beginning to show clearly, with a barely-altered electronic zodiac game commonly available in 1980, and a Commodore PET computer, serving as very visible props. Guest star Kim Hamilton, a ubiquitous face of 70s TV, also appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Final Mission.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Golden Man

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyThe Searcher encounters a lone life pod in the unlikeliest of places – tumbling helplessly through an asteroid field. The ship’s tractor beam catches the pod before it can collide with something, but the life expectancy of the golden-skinned child within the pod doesn’t grow appreciably when the Searcher itself collides with an asteroid. The ship survives remarkably intact, but it can’t escape the asteroid. The boy insists that he has a companion, trapped on a nearby planet, whose telekinetic powers could easily free the Searcher from its predicament, so Buck and the boy go to search for him. When they track him down, however, they find that he has been enslaved in a village whose superstitious leaders are forcing him to use his abilities to turn ordinary objects into crystal or precious metals. The villagers spot the similar boy with Buck and capture them as well, forcing Hawk to mount a one-man rescue mission.

Order the DVDswritten by Calvin Clement Sr. & Stephen McPherson
directed by Vincent McEveety
music by Bruce Broughton

Guest Cast: David Hollander (Vellus), Russell Wiggins (Relkos), Anthony James (Graff), Diana Chesney (Hag), Richard Wright (Onlooker #1), Arthur Eisner (Onlooker #2), Roger Rose (Marcos), Michael Marsters (Jailer), Bob Elyea (Alphie), Bruce M. Fischer (Loran)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Crystals

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyBuck, Wilma and Hawk journey to the volcanic planet of Phibocetes to look for crystals needed to recharge the Searcher’s engines. Dr. Goodfellow believes the crystals can be found here, and Hawk finds one near a mummified humanoid coated with volcanic ash. Buck stays on the planet to begin preparations to mine the crystals as Wilma and Hawk return to the Searcher with the crystal sample, and Buck discovers a human female who seems to have no memory. By the time Wilma and Hawk return with a mining team from the Searcher, Buck has named the girl Laura but hasn’t been able to get her to remember anything else about herself. The Searcher crew members are repeatedly attacked by a large creature which steals the crystals they’ve mined, and sensors show that the being has the same body chemistry as Laura. Crichton discovers evidence that Laura and the creature are of the same race, but one which devolves from a human form into something more like the creature. Both of them share a strange, obsessive attachment to any of the crystals that are unearthed. Crichton also suggests that this could be the result of a virus that may be endangering the entire crew.

Order the DVDswritten by Robert Mitchell & Esther Mitchell
directed by John Patterson
music by Donald Woods

Guest Cast: Amanda Wyss (Laura), Sandy-Alexander Champion (Chief Petty Officer Hall), Alex Hyde-White (Lt. Martin), James Parkes (Kovick), Gary Bolen (Johnson), Leigh C. Kim (Petrie), Hubie Kerns Jr. (Mummy Monster)

Notes: This episode sees – or perhaps hears – the return of Mel Blanc as the voice of Twiki. Guest star Alex Hyde-White, seen here in a very small role, is the son of Wilfred Hyde-White and later appeared as Nightwatch recruiter Pierce Macabee in the Babylon 5 episode In The Shadow Of Z’Ha’Dum, as well as in the role of Reed Richards in an unreleased, Roger Corman-produced 1994 film version of Fantastic Four. Although the junior Hyde-White plays Lt. Martin here, he plays the role of Ensign Moore only two episodes later.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Satyr

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyA woman and her son are the only remaining colonists on a remote planet called Arcadus, where they are repeatedly terrorized by a half-goat, half-man creature called Pangor. Buck and Twiki visit the planet during an asteroid survey, and immediately after landing, Buck is attacked by a wolf-like creature native to the planet. Buck meets Syra and her son Delph, but at first they don’t tell him anything about Pangor. Buck finds out soon enough, however, when Pangor attacks the shuttle, damaging Twiki. Buck offers to take Syra and Delph away from Arcadus, but Syra refuses to leave, despite Pangor’s continued attacks. Buck disrupts Pangor’s next attack, but the satyr bites him during the ensuing fight; believing that he’s drowned Pangor, Buck returns to Syra’s house for medical treatment. Even now, Buck finds the Syra won’t leave – in fact, she’s mourning at the news that Pangor may be dead. Syra finally reveals the truth: Pangor was once known as Major Jason Samos, Earth colonist, and transformed into a satyr mere hours after becoming infected by something on Arcadus. But Buck is about to find out for himself that the infection came from a satyr bite…

Order the DVDswritten by Paul Schneider & Margaret Schneider
directed by Victor French
music by Bruce Broughton

Guest Cast: Anne E. Curry (Syra Samos), Dave Cass (Pangor), Bobby P. Lane (Delph Samos), Dennis Freeman (Midshipman)

Notes: Director Victor French starred alongside Michael Landon in both Little House On The Prairie and Highway To Heaven, and directed episodes of both; his directorial career also included episodes of Gunsmoke, Dallas, Fame, and the TV series adaptation of the movie Fantastic Journey.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Shgoratchx!

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyThe Searcher investigates a derelict spacecraft in the interstellar shipping lanes. When Buck, Hawk and Crichton board the ship, they find seven little problems and one big one. The ship is populated by six little men claiming to be generals, and one who serves as a lowly private – and the ship’s hold is full of rapidly deteriorating solar bombs, enough to wipe out everything within 20 million miles. The Searcher locks onto the derelict with its tractor beam, and the seven unlikely passengers are welcomed aboard where they promptly wreak havoc, playing with the controls and nearly ramming the Searcher into the bomb-laden derelict. Crichton is also damaged, his positronic brain seriously damaged, and even Dr. Goodfellow can’t repair him. Worse yet, the generals have telekinetic powers, which they use to do everything from escaping their locked quarters to removing Wilma’s clothes for “scientific examination.” Their antics put the ship in further danger by locking it on a collision course for the star used to dispose of the solar bombs.

Order the DVDswritten by William Keys
directed by Vincent McEveety
music by Bruce Broughton

Guest Cast: Tommy Madden (General Xenos), Alex Hyde-White (Ensign Moore), John Edward Allen (General Zoman), Tony Cox (Private Zedht), Billy Curtis (General Voomak), Harry Monty (General Sothoz), Spencer Russell (General Towtuk), Charles Secor (General Kuzan)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Hand Of Goral

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyA routine survey of an Earthlike planet turns up seemingly abandoned ruins, and one man who appears to be a human survivor. Crichton warns that the planet was called the planet of death by a long-extinct race called the Goral. Wilma returns to the Searcher with the survivor, while Buck and Hawk explore the ruins. An disorienting phenomenon on the planet convinces them to return to their ship as well, but what they find on the Searcher is even more disturbing: Admiral Asimov is arresting several members of the crew on suspicion of disloyalty and showing no mercy, and even the layout of the ship is different. Wilma appears to be unaffected at first, but even she exhibits behavior that Buck finds suspicious. He and Hawk manage to escape the Searcher and return to the planet of death, where an ancient being greets them – and tells them that they have successfully passed what is actually a test of intelligence and intuition. Now they must pass one more test – someone is sabotaging the Searcher, and they only have a little time to figure out who, and how.

Order the DVDswritten by Francis Moss
directed by David G. Phinney
music by Stu Phillips

Guest Cast: John Fujioka (Hand of the Goral), Peter Kastner (Reardon), William Bryant (Cowan), Dennis Haysbert (Lt. Parsons), Michael Horsley (Yeoman James)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Testimony Of A Traitor

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyThe Searcher makes a return to Earth, and once refueled and resupplied the ship will return to its deep space exploration mission. But before the Searcher can set off again, the Commissioner of Earth’s war crimes tribunal grounds the ship and arrives to personally arrest Buck. An ancient audiovisual recording medium predating the holocaust, known as a “videotape,” is uncovered, and its still-intact contents implicate Buck in a conspiracy that led to the near-destruction of Earth in the late 20th century. The Commissioner convenes Buck’s trial aboard the Searcher, and makes it clear that based on the damning evidence, he intends to pursue the death penalty. Buck claims he remembers none of what is recorded on the tape, but even when he submits to a mind probe devised by Dr. Goodfellow to reveal his true memories of 20th century Earth, images of his apparent betrayal of his own country still inexplicably appear.

Order the DVDswritten by Stephen McPherson
directed by Bernard McEveety
music by Bruce Broughton

Guest Cast: Ramon Bieri (Commissioner Bergstrom), William Sylvester (Lt. General Preston Myers), David Hooks (General Arnheim), Walter Brooke (President of the United States), John Milford (Official), John O’Connell (Major Peterson), Thomas Bellin (Crawford), Buck Young (Brigadier General Biles), Carl Reindel (Air Force Sergeant), Eric Lawrence (Young Marine), Jim Emery (Marine Pilot), Dean Brooks (Marine Sergeant), Bill Andes (Colonel Turner)

Notes: The videotape identifies November 22nd, 1987 as the date of the nuclear war – and apparently in whatever alternate history Buck’s adventures took place in, gigantic top-loading VCRs were still in use. (It’s also an odd coincidence – the 24th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – given the conspiratorial nature of the storyline.) Guest star William Sylvester had appeared in another SF favorite, playing the role of Dr. Heywood Floyd in 2001: a space odyssey.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Dorian Secret

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyMoments before Buck finishes escorting the last of a group of survivors from a volcanic planet aboard a Searcher shuttle, a panicked young woman rushes into the docking bay, begging Buck to let her board. He lets her get on the ship and fights off a masked pursuer before boarding the shuttle himself; Hawk launches the shuttle immediately before further trouble can ensue. Even once the shuttle and its passengers return to the Searcher, no one is safe: a Dorian ship intercepts the Searcher and its captain demands that the woman be handed over to faces charges of murder. When Admiral Asimov refuses that demand, the Dorians ensnare the Searcher in a tractor beam and use a thermal weapon to subject the ship and its passengers to sudden extremes of temperature, extremes that Crichton predicts will be unsurvivable by human life within eight hours. Buck and Hawk tell Asimov that they do have a passenger that the Dorians – who always wear a mask in the presence of other species, allegedly to hide their hideous mutations – were already pursuing one of the shuttle’s passengers. Even with the Admiral’s defiance of the Dorian threat, some of the other survivors have decided to find and hand over the wanted woman to save their own skins.

Order the DVDswritten by Stephen McPherson
directed by Jack Arnold
music by Donald Woods

Guest Cast: Devon Ericson (Asteria Eleefa), Denny Miller (Saurus), William Kirby Cullen (Demeter)

LogBook entry by Earl Green