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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Return to Buck Rogers: For the Love of Buck

In Richard A. Lupoff's novelization of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," the Computer Council of New Chicago has ruled in favor of Prosecutor Apol. For his acts of espionage and treason against the state, Captain William Buck Rogers, along with his representative Doctor Theopolis, are banished to the devastated lands outside. 

Doctor Huer, the sage of the Inner Cities, and Colonel Wilma Deering quietly leave the chamber, while the other Human spectators shake hands and slap each other on the back to celebrate the verdict. 

Later, Doctor Huer is still rueing the verdict when Colonel Deering bursts into his office. "Doctor, I need your help desperately!"

"What is it?" Huer asks, startled. 

"It's Buck Rogers." Wilma was nearly in tears. "We must get him back, Dr. Huer. We must!"

Initially, when Doctor Huer and Doctor Theopolis chose to believe Buck's story, Wilma refused to accept their assessment. She claimed he might possibly endanger Earth's treaty with the Draconian Empire. But now she begs Doctor Huer to petition the Computer Council. If the Council will allow Buck to return, she could fly him out to Princess Ardala's flagship, and use his allegations, based only on supposition and logic, as an excuse to search the ship for weapons. 

It's a strange argument for her to make. There's no logical reason why Dr. Huer should agree. All the facts, as they know them, suggest that Buck Rogers is guilty of espionage. Furthermore, Wilma's plan will endanger the treaty with Draconia, and therefore Earth's future. Nonetheless, Dr. Huer agrees to help her save Buck. 

Logically, you have to wonder why "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" continues to be popular. People still love watching this old 1970s TV series. It's not because the show offered gripping drama. It's not because the shows were smart in a scientific sense. But it offered one quality that is difficult to manufacture, one that so many fail to find. Simply put, the show had charm.

At the heart of the series was Buck, an All-American Hero displaced in time. He was an underdog in the sense that he had lost everything and everyone that he ever cared about. Yet he quickly chose to settle in New Chicago, and was always willing to help everyone he found in need, whether they came from Earth or some other planet. That's why all the good people, and even most of the antiheroes he met in the series, usually befriended Buck by the end of their adventures together. And that's why, even after knowing Buck for so little time, Wilma and Dr. Huer would risk their lives, and the future of Earth, to save him.

As Dr. Theopolis, the Computer Council member who was exiled from New Chicago for steadfastly defending him, told Wilma, "He's a wwwwuuuunnnderful man." Now that's the kind of person you will risk everything for.

Dragon Dave

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