Buck Rogers 1.6 – The Plot to Kill a City (part one)

And here we have Batvillain # 3, the great Frank Gorshin, classing up the joint as Kellogg, leader of a gang of secretive intergalactic assassins called the Legion of Death. Since most of the killers don’t know what each other looks like, Buck is able to infiltrate their ranks as a heavy called Argus in order to learn the Legion’s plan to destroy New Chicago. But there’s somebody on the planet who does know what Argus looks like, a barhopping cutie played by Markie Post. Can she be trusted to keep Buck’s secret?

I like the way each installment expands the limited world of the future that the pilot showed us. By this point, there seems to be several hundred inhabited planets and space stations. It’s a universe with lots of passenger transport and privately-owned spaceships. Travel in the 25th Century seems to be incredibly cheap, though overall it’s not a very radical conceptualization of what the future might be like. It’s really just 1970s America, but with “Tau Ceti” instead of “Toledo.” There are always customs desks at the spaceports, and taverns, and hotels, and buying attractive people drinks hasn’t changed on any planet in five hundred years.

And I think it works really well. This is a family show and not meant to be too challenging. Writer Alan Brennert fills this adventure with superpowered aliens and backstabbing and double-dealing and quick escapes and it’s all perfectly entertaining, even if none of the alien cultures that we’ve met so far are actually all that alien. Part one ends with Buck’s cover being blown, kind of inevitably, and our son’s pretty anxious to see what will happen next. He particularly enjoyed the telekinetic tricks pulled by one of the assassins, especially when Buck pulls a gun on the villain and the guy just blinks it ten feet in the air.

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