Watching Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trinity Jinglebrocks, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    The continuity references were impressive for the time, with writers and actors playing it with utter sincerity. That could not have been an easy task. It makes me wonder if anything more would have developed if season 2 didn't go through its format change.

    The most Star Trek ever did with that was in "Turnabout Intruder" and only as a major plot point.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Where in the world did you hear that nonsense? Modern Galactica fans have invented this mythology that it was some huge hit, but I was there at the time, and the truth is that while its pilot was a huge hit, the ratings plummeted rapidly after that and the show was a huge flop overall. Even though much of it was frequently seen in syndication repackaged as movies, it never had more than a cult following and got little attention in media magazines like Starlog that routinely covered other past shows like Star Trek and Lost in Space. There was never a fan following for it anywhere near as huge as Star Trek or Star Wars fandom, no matter what people claim today.

    The one and only reason Galactica 1980 was made was because ABC's accountants demanded it. As you say, they'd lost a lot of money investing in the very expensive flop that was BSG, so they demanded that Universal give them a cheaper show that would recycle all those expensive props, costumes, miniatures, and FX footage from BSG so they could amortize the cost, and so that they could add more episodes to the BSG syndication package and earn back more of their losses that way. There was no huge audience hungering for more BSG. And Larson and Universal sure didn't want to make more, which was why the show was so half-assed. The only people who wanted Galactica 1980 were the network bean-counters trying to minimize their losses.

    The fact is, fan letter-writing campaigns almost never work. Even the story about Star Trek being "saved" by a letter-writing campaign is a myth; while the campaign was exceptionally large (though a fraction as large as the myth would have it), there's no proof that the show was ever actually going to be cancelled; it was just "on the bubble," and what ultimately got it renewed was the same thing that's gotten hundreds of other bubble shows renewed over the decades -- the decision to cut the budget for the next season, to get by with fewer episodes, fewer guest stars, less location shooting, etc. And no other letter-writing campaign in the era was anywhere near as large, so none of them had any real chance at making a difference.
     
    Shaka Zulu likes this.
  3. Pubert

    Pubert Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2014
    Agreed. I do wish they would have mentioned new Chicago and the old gang that was left behind when the 2nd season started.
     
  4. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    There are different levels: back in the day I learnt how something can be a massive success for a con (up to 1000 people), but not neccesarily for a magazine (sales in the 30,000s), let alone on TV (millions of viewers). There was often no consistency, so a show could have a few thousand dedicated fans, yet still not sell covers, or get audiences. Or get solid audiences, yet flop as con guests.
     
    plynch and Shaka Zulu like this.
  5. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    This is telling, as Larson never wanted BSG to be a weekly series in the first place. It had been conceived as a series of TV movies, and Larson wanted to see the reaction to the first before making more. The story I heard/read was that the morning after it aired, ABC called Larson at home, praised the ratings, and asked him if the next episode was ready for air the next Sunday. I can imagine his reaction to that.:wtf:
     
    Shaka Zulu likes this.
  6. N-121973

    N-121973 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    Great Britain
    I've heard a variation on that. The pilot came in a couple of different forms:
    1) A theatrical film with about thirty or forty minutes of footage excised for length and some additional re-editing to make it a more self-contained story i.e. Baltar's beheading, the destruction of the Imperious Leader and his Base Star above the casino planet with the insect-people.
    2) A 2 1/2 hour TV movie christened 'Saga of a Star World'.
    3) The TV movie chopped into three episodes.
    It was in this final form, couple with the two-part 'Lost Planet of the Gods' which they shot second unit work on location at the Giza Pyramid complex that was originally going to be broadcast as a five-part mini-series. And they would then decide whether to order BSG as a series as as a mid-season replacement or for the 1979/80 TV season. When they saw the ratings however, as you alluded to, they got greedy. Its part of the reason why they had a string of stories in which either Apollo or Starbuck are lost in space or on a planet and why, with the exception of the two-part 'Gun on Ice Planet Zero' (which may have also been part of the mini-series plan) they endlessly recycled space shots from the first few episodes.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    What I read is that BSG was originally planned as a series of TV movies and the network insisted on making it an hourlong weekly series. That's why the first half of the season consists of multiple 2-parters significant to the narrative interspersed with a bunch of 1-parters that are half-hearted filler. The 1-parters were basically put together on short notice.

    I think it's that initial run of weak 1-parters early in the season that was the main reason the show's ratings plummeted so fast.
     
    Shaka Zulu likes this.
  8. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    Ken Johnson felt the same about V.
     
  9. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    Bulawayo Military Krral
    Case in point, there was a misguided 2004 attempt by an organization called 'Colonial Fan Force' to convince Universal that a Battlestar Galactica movie with the original cast should be made ala the 1979 Star Trek movie (similar to an attempt by Richard Hatch to launch a reunion movie.) Writer Lee Goldberg excoriated the group for wasting money and time doing this.


    And the Save Star Trek campaign was orchestrated by Gene Roddenberry with funds out of his own pocket three separate times.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019