The first reboot on my list is Buck Rogers, the series ran for 2 seasons, from 1979 to 1980. The character is much older though, created by Philip Francis Nowlan in 1928 for the novella Armageddon 2419 A.D., Buck made his way into comic strips, film serials, and radio shows and influenced an entire generation of sci-fi writers. Interestingly, the pilot was also released as a theatrical film by Universal Studios. Once again, the original opening narration does a great job of introducing the premise of the show:
In the year 1987, at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, NASA launched the last of America’s deep space probes. The payload, perched on the nosecone of the NASA rocket, was a one-man exploration vessel: Ranger 3. Aboard this compact starship, a lone astronaut, Captain William “Buck” Rogers, was to experience cosmic forces beyond all comprehension: an awesome brush with death. In the blink of an eye, his life-support systems were frozen by temperatures beyond imagination.Ranger 3 was blown out of its planned trajectory into an orbit a thousand times more vast, an orbit which was to return the ship full circle to its point of origin, its mother Earth, not in five months…but in 500 years.
For 500 years, Buck Rogers drifted through a world in which reality and fantasy merged into a timeless dream.
The series followed Buck as he tried (not always successfully) to fit into 25th-century culture. As no traceable personal records of him remained, he was uniquely placed, due to his pilot and combat skills and personal ingenuity, to help Earth Defense foil assorted evil plots to conquer the planet. In many respects, this version of Buck Rogers was more similar to James Bond or Steve Austin than Nowlan’s original character, and Buck would often go undercover on various covert missions. Buck is aided in his adventures by his friend and sometimes romantic interest, Colonel Wilma Deering (played by Erin Gray), a high-ranking officer and starfighter pilot. He is also assisted by Twiki, a small robot or “ambuquad”, as they were known. Twiki was played mainly by Felix Silla and voiced mainly by Mel Blanc. Twiki became Buck’s comic sidekick and communicated with an electronic noise that sounded like “biddi-biddi-biddi”, but also spoke English. Also aiding Buck was Dr. Theopolis or “Theo” (voiced by Eric Server), a sentient computer in the shape of a disk about 9 inches wide with an illuminated face.
Buck Rogers could easily be updated for a modern audience that deserves more hard sci-fi than what we’re currently getting on TV. Though his schedule probably wouldn’t allow it, I think Jensen Ackles would be great for the role or possibly Matt Lanter who’s schedule is now completely open since Timeless was canceled. . . again, though I also have another idea for him on the next page.