Friday, December 17, 2010

Awesomeness of Things Past

My wife and I have recently started watching reruns of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

(That's the title, I mean. We're still here in 2010.)

Now, when this was originally on TV in the early 80s, I was not blind to its sillier elements. Those helmets make people look like Q-tips! Why are everyone's pants so tight? Shut up, Tweaky. God!

But mostly the impressionable eight-year-old me thought it was totally awesome. I was building a spaceship in my backyard, after all, so this was all important source material and / or motivation.

And today? Mostly I see the campiness but there's a part of me that says: This. Is. Awesome. Especially the theme tune: that crackling macho voiceover, the tentative strings as Buck hurtles through time, the plunging bass note and then, and then: a squadron of fighters and the crescendo speeding towards New Chicago. Who am I kidding? I love it.

This morning, the office opened late due to snow (thank you, winter) so I hopped on the stationery bike and watched quite of a bit of The Empire Strikes Back while spinning and sweating like a furious ape. I scored the original version a year or two back, and just like Buck Rogers, it's still ... well, cool. The special effects are better, too.

The stories stay with us: and the music, the looks, the gestures. They are, I think, laid down one by one, over and over until we can see them with our eyes shut. But then to go back and watch the real thing after so many years?

Still awesome.


Babs said...

I would add into that memory the original Superman movies that had you flying through the theater with arms outstretched and an imaginary cape attached to your shoulders.

Anonymous said...

I always thought of Buck Rogers as more of a space kabuki: stylized and overdramatic but great fun to watch.

S R Wood said...

What? Kabuki? Fie, sir!

Kenneth said...

Are you watching the early episodes where Buck did karate, cracked jokes, and flummoxed everyone with 20th century pop-cultural references (good) or the later episodes where it was like an ersatz Star Trek where everyone was all serious and trying to learn life lessons and make scientific discoveries (and they had a "birdman" on the crew (bad)?

S R Wood said...

That's HAWK man. Not "bird man." I can hear your air quotes. Or maybe it was just Hawk.

"Hawkes" were big in the 80s. Thing of Hawke, Stringfellow and Hawke, Lady.

Unfortunately we haven't gotten to the later episodes yet. Still in the karate-flummoxing phase.

Kenneth said...

And then Hawke, Ethan appeared in a cloud of Gen-X angsty coffee house misanthropy to sound the death-knell of the 80's...

Cristina S. said...

I loved that show. Totally cheesy in a good way. Erin Gray and Gil Gerard are at Comic-Con every year but I've been too shy to go get an autograph.

S R Wood said...

CHEESY!? I think everyone may be missing the point here. It's not cheesy at all, it's awesome.

...up until the end of the opening song, that is, then it nose-dives into early 80s plasticine sets and half-hearted karate moves. Oh well.