|Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2|
|Air date||September 20, 1979|
|Written by||Glen A. Larson|
|Directed by||Daniel Haller|
Planet of the Slave Girls
For 500 years, Captain William 'Buck' Rogers has been miraculously preserved, frozen by temperatures beyond imagination. Now, in Earth year 2491, he is rudely awakened by the sinister forces of the Draconian realm.
"Awakening" is the series premiere of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, aired as the first and second episodes of its first season. Following the success of the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century film, a television series was commissioned, and the theatrical release edited and retooled to act as the series' pilot.
In the year 1987, the United States launched the last of National Aeronautics and Space Administration's deep space probes prior to World War III later that year. On board Ranger 3 is a lone astronaut, Captain William "Buck" Rogers. However, the spaceship has moved from its planned orbit, and instead of being gone a few months, it returns to Earth 504 years later. Captain Rogers is placed in a deep hibernation by forces beyond his control, and remains frozen at the controls until the year 2491. The ancient lost ship is found perfectly preserved by fighter craft of the Draconian Empire, who fire on Ranger 3, then tow it to their alien flagship, Draconia.
After being revived, Rogers meets Princess Ardala and her ship's commander, Kane. Although Ardala is supposed to be on her way to Earth on a peace mission, in reality she is preparing to invade the planet, one that has long been the enemy of her race. They use Rogers, who still thinks that his entire alien encounter is nothing but a dream, by sending him ahead to Earth to discover the location of a safe corridor through Earth's defenses. The ploy works because of a microtransmitter aboard Rogers's ship that sends back messages with the corridor's location.
Rogers finally realizes that he actually has traveled into the future after meeting Earth Defense Directorate's Col. Wilma Deering and Dr. Elias Huer, but the Computer Council considers him to be a traitor when the transmitter is found on board Ranger 3. In an attempt to clear himself of a death sentence and execution, Rogers returns to Draconia and pretends to join Ardala and her army, in the process learning of the plans to invade Earth. Rogers decides that he must stop the attack, no matter what the odds. As the man from the 20th century prepares to make his move, he is held at gunpoint by Twiki and Dr. Theopolis. Rogers must prove his innocence to the two mechanoids before the attack can be launched.
One of the king's star fortresses on its way to Earth on a peace mission.
On its way to Earth? You mean you guys aren't... from... You mean, we're not... we're not on Earth? I'm definitely gonna need that aspirin.
- A narrator recounts how William "Buck" Rogers survives into the 25th century, more specifically the Earth year 2491 CE.
- Rogers is "rudely awakened by forces of the Draconian realm," after a squadron of three Hatchet fighters intercepts his ancient shuttle craft, Ranger 3. The Draconian squadron envelop the antiquity in a force field and bring it into range of their mothership, Draconia.
- Rogers is in a medical compartment, revived by Draconian scientists.
- Kane, Draconia's commander, reports to Princess Ardala on Rogers' miraculous recovery. Ardala demands an audience with the young man, stating that she'll make allowances for Rogers' lack of coherency from the revival process.
- Ardala and Kane question Rogers, who is in a state of disbelief that he is aboard a spaceship, with creatures that are not from Earth. Ardala informs him that they're on a peace mission to Earth aboard one of the king's star fortresses.
- Rogers attempts to move off his bed, finding that he is dizzy and in pain, seeing Tigerman, Ardala and Kane through blurred. He asks for an aspirin; Kane surmises that it is an anti-pain medication, which is administered in due course.
- Ardala admonishes Kane when Rogers becomes loopy, although Rogers himself doesn't mind as he feels the euphoric effects of the drug.
- After leaving Rogers in the medical bay, Ardala and Kane discuss Rogers statements as they walk Draconia's corridors. Ardala informs Kane that the United States of America was an empire on Earth centuries ago, with Kane replying that her tutors received their money's worth. Ardala replies that, as Kane is from Earth, he should know better than her. After the brief sparring, Ardala relates that she believes Rogers' story as the spacecraft, clothing and his mannerisms make sense in that context.
- Kane presents his thought that Rogers is a spy placed in their path by the Federal Directorate, in order to gain their confidence in some manner and allow him the opportunity to search their ship for weapons. Ardala disputes this theory, but Kane quickly reminds her that they couldn't allow Rogers free reign, and she concedes that he should dispose with Rogers as he deems fit.
- Tigerman accompanies Ardala back to her chambers, while Kane plans his next move.
- In the hangar bay, a drugged and discombobulated Rogers is transported back to his craft by a gurney; Kane has him disconnected from the anti-pain medication, and he informs the captain that he'll be back on his way to Earth very soon. Kane notifies him that Ranger 3 has been serviced and re-programmed to take him home, and Rogers admits that it seems like he hasn't "been there in weeks."
- Rogers believes he's had a great time aboard, and he has a great idea that they'd come along with him to Earth; Kane lets him know that they'll be along in a few days. He voices his belief that this is a dream, and boards Ranger 3.
- As he performs his pre-flight checklist, Rogers tells himself that the "boys in Houston" wouldn't believe this story, and waves good-bye to a stoic Kane.
- Ranger 3 is launched via the launch channel, and Rogers is impressed with the rapid light show.
- On the bridge, Kane informs Ardala that Rogers has presented them the perfect opportunity to test Earth's defense shield; he re-iterates his belief that Rogers is a spy, and they'll let him through. Of course, a microtransmitter planted aboard Ranger 3 will allow the Draconians to know the precise path through the shield used by the Earth's military, which will serve as a guide map for her father's fleet.
- Kane challenges Ardala, noting that she seems displeased at the potential fate of Rogers. She deflects, noting that she has the "strangest feeling" that she'll see Rogers again.
- On full burn back to Earth, Rogers begins singing Frank Sinatra's "My Kind of Town" over an open communications frequency, intercepted by a Delta Section Operative monitoring Earth's defenses. As Rogers begins asking for landing instructions from Houston Control, she reports the "signing" to a befuddled Supervisor 14, who has the communications routed to his station.
- As Supervisor 14 hears Rogers' rendition of "(Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey," Rogers segues into another request for a re-entry vector. Believing that he is talking to Mission Control, he tells them to "get off your duffs and give me some info," which leads the Super to reflect that "it practically sounds like a foreign language."
- An alert cuts off any further train of thought, with Rogers' Ranger 3 showing up on the Directorate scopes. With the craft headed directly into the planetary defense shield, Super scrambles the Intercept squadron.
- In the lead fighter of the intercept squadron, Col. Wilma Deering requests coordinates for the inbound unidentified craft. She then directs the shield to be reduced to 100 miles, so that they may investigate.
Just wait until the guys at the Cape hear this: Buck Rogers sets down in the middle of Red Square.
- Col. Wilma Deering and a squadron of Thunderfighters launch to intercept the unidentified craft.
- Supervisor 14 informs Deering that the target is moving far too slowly and erratically for a conventional spacecraft.
- Deering has the craft visually sighted, and flies by Ranger 3, much to William "Buck" Rogers's confusion. Deering hails the spacecraft, and she and Rogers exchange words, she notes that he is in grave danger as he is heading toward Earth's defense shield.
- Per Deering, Rogers takes manual control of Ranger 3 and follows her intercept squadron through the corridor. He believes he has been intercepted by the Russians of the United Soviet Socialist Republics. As Deering notes that he's doing "just fine," he replies in Russian: "Do svidaniya" ("until next meeting"). Deering does not understand it, and rebukes Rogers when he notes that he was "just trying to be friendly."
- Rogers follows the "Russians," wondering to himself how the "guys at the Cape" will react to his landing in "the middle of Red Square." He sees barren wastes as he heads towards one of the "Inner Cities" Deering earlier spoke of, and they traverse Corridor 10A for the incoming vessels.
- After landing, Rogers disembarks from Ranger 3, and is met by a contingent of Defense Directorate security and Col. Deering herself. Deering resists Rogers' attempts at ingratiation, and orders the "barbarian" to be taken for interrogation.
- Twenty-four hours later a barefoot and robed Rogers makes his way around the walls of a sterile white room, attempting to discover a way out. This is interrupted by the arrival of Dr. Elias Huer, whom Rogers questions. Huer notes that Rogers is being studied via electronic means that are painless, and the results of said testing are producing phenomenal data.
- Rogers is informed that the planet is Earth, and that he was returned to nearly the precise landing area as originally programmed. Rogers notes that the city he has seen has no relation to Chicago, Illinois, and Huer notes that "there's nothing like Chicago left on Earth." To answer any further questions, Huer calls on Twiki (unseen in the corridor) to bring in Dr. Theopolis, Huer's administrator.
- Rogers is introduced to the two ambuquads, with Twiki being assigned to Rogers' as his drone, who shall act as Rogers aide during his debriefing and determination period. Huer also introduces Theopolis, a member of the Computer Council responsible for, among many things, the environmental control of the city. Theopolis notes that he did "his best," and that tonight's sunset has "a pale hint of mauve," that is "not so deep as an amethyst, but the more subtle burned texture of cinnamon." Following an incredulous comment that ruffles Theopolis, Huer takes Rogers aside and explains the brief history of ambuquads, how Humanity has turned over much of their administration to them, and that their emotional sensitivity makes them different from a mere machine.
- Huer notes that he will return in sixteen hours, after Rogers is done with his debriefing. Roger is even more incredulous, to which Theopolis takes offense and suggests that Rogers take a seat. Theopolis instructs Twiki to set him down on the desk so that he may take a good look at Rogers while Twiki retrieves liquid refreshment for Rogers, who is dehydrated from his ordeal (even though Rogers declines).
- After a discussion, Rogers is told that he is on the Earth of 2491 CE. On cue, Twiki returns to see a stunned Rogers, who replies that he'll "have that drink now."
- Twiki replies to this with his first human word, "L'chaim."
- Later, Dr. Theopolis meets with Col. Deering an Dr. Huer. Theopolis attempts to convince Deering that Rogers is a "wonderful man," a claim she refuses to accept based on the fact that Earth's defense forces are few. Huer notes that he is a single man, and doubts that he could endanger the survivors of Earth.
- Theopolis disputes Deerings claim that Rogers would attempt to "discredit the treaty with Draconia," noting that he comes to them a bewildered man.
- On Deering's suggestion, Theopolis suggests that she spends time with Rogers, even though Deering is highly suspicious of Rogers' motives. She declares that she is determined to endure the captain's company until she can expose him, and leaves.
- Theopolis share an observation regarding Deering's uncharacteristic emotionality on anything to Huer, to which he replies: "Nor anyone."
- Draconia's crew is now alerted to "condition 90" as they enter Earth space, preparing to hover at an altitude of "1,000 Terran kilometers" from the planet, while Kane mirthlessly notes that the people of Earth have no idea what is coming to them.
- Dr. Theopolis and Twiki lead Rogers to new accommodations, which Theopolis assures an astonished Rogers of its being "strictly VIP." Upon being introduced to the Slumber Center, Rogers tries it out and then asks Theopolis if it can be fired up on a more "subtle phrase," before proceeding to introduce him to the Centrex audiovisual stimulation center. Also voiced activated, Rogers asks for music to be played, which occurs on command.
- Theopolis tells Rogers that the Centrex will allow him to learn about the world as it exists, including the latest fashions, entertainments, and information. Rogers then moves over to a red dining monolith, and summons a fold-down table and seat following his button-mashing, all the while disbelieving that a "full colonel" will be giving him a full tour of the city and the motives of the two quads.
- As Rogers sits at the table, Theopolis realizes during the course of conversation that there are personality conflicts between Rogers and Deering, and leaves to make arrangements for Rogers' tour.
- Later, Rogers and Deering meet up on a building's overlook, and Rogers apologizes for his behavior. He attempts to learn more about the holocaust, but Deering says she can't, and the discussion segues into the present. He finds out about Anarchia, as well as the reason for the negotiations with Princess Ardala and the Draconian Empire—pirates have choked off the Earth's supply lines, as they are reliant on external food and water sources. In return for landing privileges on Earth, the Draconians pledge to protect these vital supply lines.
- Rogers asks to see his ship, a request that Deering obliges. Rogers looks over the ship, asking about the damage he sustained, noting that the cordite has yet to oxidize—and surmises that he was somehow intercepted and returned to Earth for reasons he professes ignorance of. Deering bristles at Rogers' recommendations on searching Ardala's ship before it lands, while Rogers retorts that his "generation didn't know what they were doing either" when it came to taking care of their world.
- With his curiosity unassuaged, Rogers attempts to elicit information from the Centrex regarding Anarchia. Much to Rogers' chagrin, Theopolis appears (upon Twiki) and notes that information on Anarchia is classified. After discussing Rogers interest in learning about the remains of his old world first hand, Theopolis resigns himself to the logic that Rogers will find a way to get there. Theopolis suggests they venture out to Anarchia in the morning, as going out at night is dangerous—even Defense Directorate forces do not venture out at night—after they are rested. Rogers uses the Slumber Center for the first time, immediately falling asleep despite his anxieties, and the quads rest upon a bean-style chair in Rogers' living area.
At first I felt he was guilty and then...
You're being subjective in your evaluation of Buck Rogers. I, on the other hand, support him for very practical reasons.
[Dr. Elias Huer pipes in] And what are they?
[Dr. Theopolis replies] I'm convinced of one thing: our friend Captain Rogers has indeed met the Princess Ardala and has been aboard the Draconian flagship. His descriptions are too precise to be the guesswork of a pirate.
- William "Buck" Rogers, Twiki and Dr. Theopolis leave New Chicago and venture out into Anarchia—more specifically the ruins of Chicago, Illinois—the following morning. As they enter deeper into the city, Rogers suggests that the ambuquads go back, but they elect to stick with him, suggesting that they'd better hurry before nightfall.
- As night falls, mutants with disfigured faces watch from ruins of buildings as the trio make their way towards State Street. As the sound of pipes and other objects hitting things echoes through the seemingly vacant city, Theopolis tells Rogers of the mutants that reside in Anarchia. He further says that they are more interested in the quads than humans, for the quads would be used—in one form or another—in the "black market."
- Rogers comes across a street sign for State Street, and uses it to get his bearings; he soon sprints towards a different direction, and Twiki is instructed to follow.
- Rogers comes across a cemetery with surviving headstones and grave markers. He runs and jumps around to various markers, with Twiki and Theopolis lagging behind.
- Rogers finally comes across the marker he seeks, realizing the fate of his mother, father, brother and sister. After Twiki and Theopolis arrive at his side, Rogers observes that there is no date, leading Theopolis to explain that after the start of the conflict all civilization and systems broke down, with time becoming meaningless as any survivors faced the resultant ravages of starvation, disease and death.
- A horde of mutants follow the trio to the cemetery, and trio prepare for the inevitable fight when a landcraft opens fire on the horde. The horde disperses, and the landcraft stops, with Earth Defense Directorate soldiers—lead by Col. Wilma Deering—piling out to establish a perimeter.
- Deering approaches Rogers, noting that their pursuit of him comes at some personal risk. After an argument, Rogers attempts to leave after he declares that he is not finished his explorations. Deering has him stunned.
- Returning to New Chicago, Deering enters Dr. Elias Huer's office, where Theopolis and Twiki are also waiting. Huer informs her of the microtransmitter discovered on Ranger 3, and that it had been attached to the ship's navigational equipment, revealing their sensitive transit corridors through Earth's planetary defense shield. Both Huer and Deering surmise that Rogers was indeed working for the pirates menacing their important supply lines, but Theopolis offers a defense of Rogers for practical reasons, noting that his descriptions of Princess Ardala and Draconia are too precise. Theopolis also disputes the suggestion that Rogers was told of these facts by the pirates, for he believes that the pirates would never have survived such an encounter to provide this information.
- Aboard Draconia, Ardala luxuriates in her bath as Kane enters. He informs her about Rogers fate, noting that he was intercepted and escorted through the defense shield—and that the microtransmitter has worked, for they now have the location of the secret shield corridors. He notes that the device was found, and also notes that once the humans allow them to land, that they'll be able to destroy the shield from the inside. This will allow Draco's forces to seize and plunder the planet with impunity. Ardala asks if the Earthlings would be suspicious when Rogers tells them of his encounter with the Draconians, a question quickly answered: Kane declares that it does not matter, as Rogers is "as good as dead."
- Rogers awaits in a room with Twiki and Theopolis, who assure him that they are on his side. Rogers appreciates the gesture, particularly when Twiki puts his hand on Rogers' shoulder.
- Rogers is presented to the Computer Council for trial, with Huer and Deering accompanying other officials in observing the proceedings. At this trial, Councilor Apol presents the Federal Directorate's case during the final proceedings: Rogers is a traitor who has sold out his own kind, while Theopolis defends Rogers as an innocent man who was used as a pawn by some unknown force. Rogers makes his own statement before judgment is passed, and Theopolis assures him that the Council will have no logical choice but to find Rogers innocent.
- Theopolis is proven alone in aforesaid belief, as the Council finds him guilty. Said Council sentences him for immediate termination, and he is lead away by Defense Directorate security.
But no, if I'd met so dashing a young captain, I'm sure I would've remembered vividly. [to Rogers] I don't believe we've had the pleasure.
I think you're mistaken, Princess. [goes to kiss her hand, kisses it, then offers] I never forget a knuckle.
- Col. Wilma Deering enters Dr. Elias Huer's office, and explains that they've been fools, for they had the perfect test of William "Buck" Rogers's innocence in their grasp: the Draconians themselves. Deering shares her plan with Huer, and they agree to send an honor guard to Draconia (with Rogers in their contingent) to not only verify Rogers' story, but to do some reconnaissance as well.
- Huer presents this new plan to the Computer Council and, despite Councilor Apol's objections, the remaining councilors agree with the plan.
- Deering visits Rogers in his confinement cell, where she tells Rogers that he would have the chance to prove his story. Despite his facetiousness, where he informs Deering that he doesn't believe that the Earth Directorate will not be around to carry out his termination sentence, he comes to accept the plan to prove his innocence.
- Rogers and Deering fly with a squadron from the Third Force of the Earth Directorate towards Draconia. Rogers is instructed to not touch the controls, and let the auto-flight do the work of flying. She tells Rogers that a third of their forces have been lost on this vector to pirates.
- After Rogers comments that he wishes he brought something to read, a wingman in the squadron informs Deering that they have a visual of the ship Deering detects at vector 401. She notes that for them to have visual confirmation, the ship must be gigantic: it's Draconia.
- In Ardala's chamber aboard Draconia, Kane informs Ardala of the Defense Directorate's request to board their ship on the pretense of being a Directorate special envoy. Kane tells Ardala that he doesn't know what they have in mind, and that they've given the Draconians plenty of warning. Kane surmises they they wish to investigate their ship, and notes that there's nothing in evidence to betray their true objectives. An intrigued Ardala agrees to let the special envoy board, and orders the "pirate ships" to be launched to arrange a surprise for the envoy.
- The Third Force squadron lands aboard Draconia and are met by Ardala in her standard royal attire, who Kane introduces to the envoy as "daughter of Draco, Conqueror of Space, Warlord of Astrium, Ruler of the Draconian Realm." Deering introduces herself, and introduces Rogers as someone they may have already met. Ardala feigns ignorance with great aplomb, and Rogers diplomatically retorts that she is mistaken, for he "never forgets a knuckle." He goes on to describe various facets of "inner chambers," including Ardala's high-necked collar.
- Kane interjects and asks the purpose of their visit, but before they can further discuss, a Draconian crew member announces via the intercom system that they are under attack by a force of pirates. The Third Force's fighters scramble, but before they do so Kane admonishes Deering for their ineptitude in bidding them safe conduct, and assures them that they'll "all perish together."
- After launching, the Third Force's pilots make use of their combat computers, with Rogers attempting to help his fellow pilots by calling out the enemy locations and actions using Air Force terminology. However, this language difference, combined with Deerings repeated admonishments, lead various pilots—from Wrather to Weatherly—to fall deftly into the sights of the "pirates" and thus to their destruction.
- Fed up with the losses, he brings his Thunderfighter to manual control and begins "dishing out" what the Third Force has been taking, single-handedly destroying the pirate squadron. Only he and Deering survive, and Deering reluctantly thanks him; they do the only thing they can do and head back to Earth.
- The two fighters return to New Chicago's hangar, where Deering and Rogers discuss what transpired in the battle. Rogers suggests that the Directorate get rid of whomever programs their defense tactics, and a prideful Deering changes the subject, noting that Ardala denies Rogers' story and, thus, has no choice but to arrest him pending a new hearing.
- As Rogers walks away, she threatens to shoot him. He reminds her that he has nowhere to go, as his home is 500 years away. He tells her to get her act together, and leaves the conversation.
- Still in the hangar bay, Deering is approached by Dr. Theopolis (via Twiki), who asks after Rogers. After replying in the affirmative, Theopolis informs her of the Computer Council's formal requests from Ardala—who feels that he single-handed saved their "unarmed" vessel—and wishes for his presence at the banquet. Already hurt and angry, she lashes out at Theopolis, declaring that she does not care for Ardala's feelings on the matter that transpired.
- As Draconia continues its approach to Earth, Ardala is yet again visited by Kane in her chambers. She bristles at his use of "my princess" during her greeting to her, and Kane goes on to discuss his thoughts on their "partnership." He declares that it his her desires that he serves, and that he wishes to see that one day she'll sit on her father's throne as "Queen of all the empire."
- She tells him to conserve his strength, for tomorrow she will conquer Earth—Kane corrects her in his reply that they will conquer Earth, and then makes his leave.
Citizens of the Inner City, may I have your attention, please? At this profound moment in our history, we see hovering in the skies above us an alien vessel. Military spacecraft, a ship of war. This war machine comes to us stripped of all weaponry, completely unharmed, a shining symbol of peace. Lasting peace and great good will between the people of Earth and the Draconian Realm. [audience applauds, subsiding into] And we welcome the Draconian Trade Delegation under the leadership of her Royal Highness, Crown Princess of the Realm, Ardala.
- In orbit, Princess Ardala's launch leaves Draconia for Earth.
- In a foyer to the Grand Ballroom, within a building known as the Palace of Mirrors, William "Buck" Rogers is in full dress uniform, talking to Dr. Theopolis (carried by Twiki, as per usual). Rogers voices his concerns on being invited to the function, particularly as no one believes his story. Theopolis notes that his presence was requested by the princess herself, and he dryly replies that he'd like to have a word with her alone. Theopolis takes this at its face, and notes that such a meeting is unlikely, as he's only a captain — and not a commissioned one at that.
- As Rogers formulates a plan, he asks what they have for a headache, and Theopolis orders Twiki to get Rogers a relaxant. Before leaving, Theopolis tells Rogers that they do not want to keep the delegation waiting, and they proceed to enter the Grand Ballroom.
- In the Ballroom, guests and dignitaries of the Inner City are regaled with an introduction by Dr. Elias Huer, who notes that the great warship above-Draconia—comes to them as a token of peace, stripped of all weapons and a symbol of the peace to be brokered between the Draconians and the Earth Directorate. He introduces Ardala, who sashays into the ballroom in a revealing royal bikini outfit with decorative horns. In her delegation are Kane, carrying a large sword-like object across his belly, as well as her entourage including Tigerman, her bodyguard. As she makes it to the floor, Kane hands her the sword-like object—a digital scroll—whose words appear in the clear lucite body.
- She offers greetings and a gift from King Draco himself, the King's own flagship, Draconia, which she claims is filled with the latest technology and advancements of the Realm to symbolize the new era of prosperity. During this declaration, Wilma Deering exchanges a glance with Rogers, attempting to gauge his reaction.
- The audience applauds this overture, and Huer declares the commencement of festivities.
- Seated on a throne to the back of the room, the Earthlings dance a ball dance before Ardala while various dignitaries make their introductions before her. However, Ardala keeps on eyeing Rogers, who is also a spectator to the dancing.
- Twiki returns with the relaxant, which Theopolis warns should only be taken one at a time as its effects are strong; he tucks the vial in his dress belt. While doing so, he asks Twiki for a red rose, despite the inquiries of Theopolis which go unanswered. Twiki heads off while the dance continues.
- Deering approaches Rogers, asking how he likes the dance presentation. He asks if the dance came from "daddy's world" (the Draconian Realm), and Deering suggests that he avoid the use of the term "daddy" to describe the "greatest leader the world has ever known." Rogers replies with a word of cation regarding "Greeks bearing gifts," which is a reference that, along with the [[w:Trojan horse|]], also escapes Deering's understanding. Rogers muses that he came from a time that was "hopelessly paranoid," and makes his way towards Ardala.
- Twiki returns with a red rose on a pillow, which Theopolis notes will make everyone else "look ridiculous" as no one else has done so. Rogers directs Twiki to accompany him, as they're next to see Ardala.
- Kane watches with hidden contempt as Rogers makes his introduction to Ardala, who thanks him for saving them from "those horrible privateers." Rogers replies that there are those on Earth who also believe him to be a privateer, ostensively due to her denial of their first encounter. Ardala asks if that angers him, but Dr. Theopolis intercedes before Rogers can answer.
- Theopolis is hushed and Rogers hands her the rose that Twiki holds upon a pillow, presented as a gift from Rogers to her. She asks after the "charming little friend," who prompts Theopolis to introduce Twiki, and Rogers to also introduce Theopolis, noting that he is the ex-officio member of the Computer Council.
- Rogers asks Ardala for a dance, which prompts Kane to rebuke Rogers' advance--but is deftly thwarted by Ardala. She and Rogers hit the dance floor to participate in the ball dance, as Deering seethes from the edge of the dance floor and Tigerman watches, ready to pounce for his pound of flesh should anything go awry. As Ardala and Rogers dance, however he notes that he's not up on the "latest dance steps," prompting Ardala to offer an opportunity to change the beat a bit, as it is "her party."
- Rogers goes to the musician and gets them to play some "rock and roll" with a disco tempo, after an explanation on "feeling the music" and "letting himself go." As he starts to dance to the musician's beats, an intrigued Ardala asks what he is doing. He notes that it is called "gettin down," and goads her into joining him as they "get down and boogie." As the confused and bemused dancers watch the action, Twiki approaches Deering and Theopolis points out that "it's expressive"—she replies in the negative, for she is disgusted. Twiki then goes to the dance floor to "get down."
- After a conversation where Rogers relays his predicament on Earth, Ardala propositions Rogers to join her.
- Kane himself returns to the Grand Ballroom, displeased at the showmanship on the dance floor, and brazenly intercedes that some of the ministers would like a few minutes. She doesn't want to go, but Kane sternly reminds her that business of the Realm comes first, and that if she's not willing to perform her duties, there are 29 other sisters in waiting that would.
- Ardala relents, and bids farewell to Rogers, telling him that her private launch leaves at midnight.
- In a side room, Rogers passes by a contemplative Deering. She stops him and propositions him, saying that she'd "like to be his friend," and then goes on to haphazardly elucidate on her being "mixed up" and believing that he had been a spy, et cetera. They share a kiss, and as they do so Rogers looks as his time piece. After she propositions him for a more intimate encounter, he suavely ducks her advance and leaves. After she challenges his rebuke, he replies, more formally, that they'll get back into this later. Deering returns to her seething.
Those are warships out there. That means the treaty is a hoax, but we can do one last service for our country: we can deal with Captain Rogers.
- William "Buck" Rogers boards Princess Ardala's launch, and offers her two drinks while singing Your My Kind of Town. Tigerman is confused and begins to growl, prompting Ardala to ward him off. As they enjoy each other's company, Twiki with Dr. Theopolis have followed Rogers per their orders; Twiki attempts to leave the freezer unit in the back of the cabin, as he claims it is too cold, but Theopolis tells him they must stay hidden until they board Draconia—even though Twiki's microdisks are "turning blue."
- On Earth, Dr. Elias Huer informs Col. Wilma Deering that Rogers cannot be found. She angrily notes that what does one expect of a "primitive." Huer leaves Deering to her emotions, where she tearfully yet angrily reaffirms her belief that Rogers is a traitor.
- Rogers and Ardala go to her chambers, with Tigerman waiting outside. She begins to get more comfortable, and Rogers prepares drinks for them both, slipping a relaxant into her drink. She returns with seemingly fewer bits of clothing, and she begins to elucidate on her desires, how Rogers fits into them (being a "real man") and goes into her life story and desires. After a time, she asks for the drink Rogers' prepared, and begins to bed him. However, Rogers is able to escape her carnal desires, and is even able to thwart Tigerman with his own gun, while Twiki and Theopolis attempt to find Rogers as they hide and evade the Draconian soldiers aboard.
- Rogers moves Tigerman's stunned bulk out of sight, and makes his way to Draconia's landing bay. He discovers the "pirate ships" being serviced by Draconian soldiers, and surmises that the treaty is a hoax. He lures a guard with some whistling from the musical notes of Your My Kind of Town, and is able to knock out that guard after he leaves the flight line to investigate the noise. Rogers now has a disguise.
- Kane walks by Ardala's chambers, finding the guard absent. He pulls a guard off to the side and they blast their way into the room, after Ardala discovers that Tigerman is in her bed, instead of Rogers. Despite her instance that Tigerman be put to death, Kane countermands the order and has Tigerman taken away for questioning. Kane and Ardala exchange recriminations.
- Rogers puts on his newly acquired Draconian helmet, and proceeds to put bombs in the engine exhaust ports of various Hatchet fighters.
- An embarrassed Ardala orders Kane to begin the attack at once. Despite Kane's insistence that they cannot proceed without her father's forces for support, Kane follows her order after being called spineless. She also orders that Rogers be found.
- As Rogers continues his sabotage, Twiki and Theopolis come across the pirate fighters, and see Rogers in the uniform of the enemy, surmising that not only is the Draconian treaty is a hoax but Rogers is a spy. Theopolis tells Twiki that they can only do one thing in the service of their country, and that is to kill the traitor, Captain Rogers.
- With only six minutes before the attack commences, Rogers goes to acquire more bombs for his sabotage. He is stopped as Twiki disarms Rogers and uses Rogers' own weapon against him. After some conversation, Theopolis and Twiki are convinced of Rogers' motives, and they go to find a communications station. Rogers continues his sabotage, while Theopolis and Twiki come across a communications station. Theopolis guides Twiki through causing a short-circuit, forcing the operator to abandon his post so that Twiki and Theopolis can commandeer the station, with 80 seconds to go until the attack launches.
- With 60 seconds remaining, Theopolis orders Twiki to tune into the Earth Directorate emergency channel, which Deering answers. Theopolis informs her that the Draconians are armed and to dispatch all available squadrons. Deering contacts Huer, who agrees to launch the squadrons.
You always use that sense of humor of yours to avoid feeling pain. Doesn't always help, does it?
I think you know the answer to that.
Yes, I would imagine you wake up every night with some sort of pain, and you probably always will. But there's nothing any of us can do about it. There is something, however, that you can do about it.
- 20 seconds away from Draconia's assault on Earth, Kane assumes his post on Draconia's bridge and orders his crew to battlestations and fighters to prepare for launch.
- As each individual second is counted down from the 10 second mark, Rogers watches from the flight line's side line, mock-saluting a pilot as he enters his Hatchet fighter.
- Thrust into space via launch channels, the Hatchet fighters begin to launch, only to explode as they leave the tubes—once their pilots activate their engines to operate under their own power. Other ships begin to explode even before they launch, causing havoc in the launch bay. Kane is informed of this "impossible" happening, as Rogers works his magic to sabotage additional fighters.
- With the Earth Defense Directorate squadrons in orbit and en route to intercept, Deering orders the Thunderfighter pilots to attack the bombers as they launch, with the primary target being Draconia herself.
- A pilot advises that there are no bombers to attack, as they explode immediately following their deployment. While Kane furiously and continually orders fighters to be dispatched, Deering advises her fellow pilots to eschew the use of combat computers while engaging the enemy fighters.
- Deering's fellow pilots are able to now better handle the fighters, while Rogers continues to sabotage the fighters from the inside of the bay. However, he is stopped by Tigerman, who taps him on the back and engages him in fisticuffs. As Rogers handiwork continues to explode about the bay, Rogers is able to somehow cause Tigerman pain and, while distracted, takes a Draconian bomb nearby, tucks it under Tigerman's belt (from the back) and kicks him away. An explosion occurs off screen, and Rogers continues his sabotage.
- Deering orders that the fighters focus solely on Draconia. With the battle lost, Kane seeks out Princess Ardala, whose disheveled form arises from the floor of her smoke-filled, debris-strewn chambers. Kane admonishes her, saying that the only reason he came back for her is so that she can answer to her father for their failure, and drags her to an escape craft.
- With the ship heavily damaged, Deering orders all fighters away from Draconia's estimated explosion radius. While doing so, Theopolis contacts Deering and notifies her that Rogers was the one who arranged for the exploding enemy fighters. Corrected in her erroneous assessment of his loyalties, Deering resolves to rescue Rogers, Theopolis and Twiki before Draconia explodes, making way to the surviving bay.
- Rogers is buried under debris, and awakens from his brief unconsciousness. The ambuquad duo arrives and extract Rogers from the debris pinning him down, telling him that Deering is coming to get them.
- Deering enters the burning landing bay, and the trio of saboteurs make way to Deering's Thunderfighter, cramming into the back pilot's position.
- The ship launches, Draconia explodes, and Ardala and Kane flee the scene, whittling away the pastime by trading insults and recriminations, ending in a decisive comment from Ardala regarding Kane's manhood in comparison to Rogers'.
- Flying back to Earth, Deering tells Rogers that they owe him more than an apology, and the discussion veers to the Ardala. Even Theopolis notes that the head wear was "attractive." Twiki peers out the starboard window to see Ardala's launch escaping, which elicits an "uh oh" from the ambuquad drone.
- After a time, Rogers begins settling into his apartment in New Chicago, painting a smiley face in yellow paint on the dining monolith. Twiki (sans Theopolis) arrives carrying a cardboard box of various antiques and 20th century replicas, notably a large pepper mill, which is set upon a dining room table with a red-and-white checkered picnic table cover.
- Dr. Huer and Deering, in a teal green casual catsuit uniform, arrives to see how Rogers is settling in.
- The conversation turns to "fixing up" places, which prompts Huer to asks Twiki to leave as they wish to discuss Directorate business. After Twiki departs, they sit at a redesigned living room area, complete with couch and a wood table. After discussing Rogers' feelings of loss, Huer presents Rogers with another means of helping to adjust: working with the Defense Directorate as an agent working for peace and order against the myriad of threats in the universe.
- Rogers admits that he isn't ready for that, as he doesn't want to put down roots only to have them ripped away from him. They understand, and Huer restates that not only will they endeavor to keep in touch with Rogers, but there just might be enough situations in the universe to pique Rogers' interest so that he can join them informally in an ad-hoc arrangement. Deering coyly notes that they wouldn't want Rogers to get bored.
- Huer points out the tree near the door, and asks about its purpose. In the course of the conversation, Rogers comments that the various plants and antiques, some of which were provided by Dr. Julius at the Archives, while others were constructed by Twiki based on sketches and other information Rogers furnishes to the ambuquad. All these additions give the apartment a "nice, warm, homey feeling," which neither Huer nor Deering admit to liking.
- The opening two-hour episode is basically the feature film Buck Rogers in the 25th Century re-edited, with new footage to lead into the TV series. While there are subtle edits to tone down sexual innuendos (Twiki's quip of his "ball bearings" "turning blue" in the freezer aboard Ardala's launch), abrasive language, and an "act of violence" (Tigerman's kick to the gonads by Rogers during the final act), other scenes are either removed entirely. Of particular note was Joseph Wiseman's brief appearance as King Draco, which was completely edited out of the broadcast, although Wiseman returned to the series as Carl Morphus in "Vegas in Space."
- The broadcast version of "Awakening" was released on DVD in 2013 as an extra on the Season 2 re-release. Over the years, fans have claimed of a missing scene in which Dr. Theopolis shows Rogers footage of World War III—in which civilization was destroyed—explains the causes of its destruction, and refers to "Anarchia" (the 25th-century name for the ruins of the old world, including Chicago, Illinois). This scene allegedly takes place during the 16 hours Rogers spends in the room with Dr. Theopolis, although no evidence of the scene — either in scripts, novelizations, or even as video materials released over the years — exists to corroborate this allegation.
- Originally aired over the course of a 2-hour slot (the episode itself clocks in at 01:37:30), but has been formatted as two episodes to air in 1-hour slots (each episode clocks in at approximately 47 minutes in length) in most subsequent re-airings for scheduling reasons. While many guides list it as a two-parter, its initial airing and release on DVD as one full-length episode is an official recognition of this episode being a singular offering.
- The first part of the episode streamed available for free on the NBC website is missing several parts from the original aired episode:
- The conversation between Supervisor 14 and the Delta Section Operative,
- The additions from Rogers' apartment except the part related to Anarchia,
- The argumentation in charge from the Computer Council and the defense from Dr. Theopolis during Buck Rogers' trial.
- The titles and episodic credits differ from future installments, particularly with the use of white instead of a yellow color for the typeface.
- The end scene, featuring Dr. Huer's and Col. Deering's visit to Rogers in Rogers' apartment, was filmed when the show went to series (likely filmed during the production of "Planet of the Slave Girls") given the presence of the smiley face on the dining monolith and the presence of Deering's more "informal" green-teal jumpsuit.
- Twiki's first Human word isn't English at all, but Hebrew: l'chaim. L'chaim is a toast "to life," and is said by Twiki after he gives Rogers refreshment during the interview with Dr. Theopolis.
- Human pilots do not understand clock faces, as exemplified by Lt. Wrather's lack of understanding of a "bandit" (fighter) coming in from "12 o'clock high" (direction in relation to the ship) during the Pirate Attack on Draconia. This is a continuing theme throughout the series, particularly in the episodes "Planet of the Slave Girls" and "Return of the Fighting 69th."
- Rogers' use of football terminology, such as "red-dogging," would later come to a head in "Planet of the Slave Girls."
- Rogers' quip about "Greeks bearing gifts" is a nod to the Trojan Horse from the Trojan War. The offering of Draconia as a smorgasbord of the latest in technology for the humans reminds William "Buck" Rogers of this, although this lesson is lost to the sands of time as far as 25th century humanity was concerned.
- The United States of America is known to Kane and Ardala, and the Federal Directorate seems to have patterned itself much after American and Western culture by the use of names, locations, and other concepts.
- On additional scenes inside Buck's apartment, Dr. Theopolis is not voiced by Eric Server but by another uncredited voice actor.
- Tigerman is clearly performed by two different people for reasons not explained on the screen. Up until Tigerman is removed from Ardala's chamber, Tigerman is played by Duke Butler. In the final scene between Tigerman and Rogers on Draconia's flight deck, H.B. Haggerty's Tigerman appears.
- The scene where Rogers kicks Haggerty's Tigerman in the gonads is clumsily excised, and so the audience is left with an impression that he somehow succumbs to pain through a delayed effect of Rogers' attacks.
- While Tigerman is killed by Rogers—who tucks a live Draconian bomb in Tigerman's belt, which later explodes after Rogers kicks him away (to explode off-camera)—Haggerty's Tigerman reappears in "Escape from Wedded Bliss" and "Ardala Returns."
- Beyond Earth's reliance on extra-terrestrial sources for food and water, Terrans have likely had help rebuilding by extraterrestrial forces and so it is entirely possible that extra-terrestrial forces have guided humanity's rebuilding. Later installments, such as "Cosmic Whiz Kid" show that Earth has been visited after the events of World War III with the abduction of child prodigy Hieronymus Fox while inside his cryo tube.
- The events of the Holocaust are left deliberately vague, but are later visited with some considerable depth in "Testimony of a Traitor". There are nods to Russians by Rogers' himself during Wilma Deering's interception of Ranger 3, although the instigators are never stated in the series' run.
- Dr. Elias Huer's note on personal data being readily available on every living person on Earth, not only to the Directorate but also to their enemies, eerily mirrors the privacy concerns regarding personal data prevalent in the 21st century. There are some outliers to this, including Rafael Argus in "The Plot to Kill a City," with limited information available on the assassin.
- Huer also notes that Rogers is an anomaly, having literally come from nowhere—as Earth's history is all bust lost to time—and that he seems to be immune to the issues of personal data being readily available. However, what of the data already collected during Rogers' intense intake process following his recovery by the Defense Directorate? Would that information already be available in other databanks and information repositories, or was it somehow compartmentalized?
- Rogers is fairly well known to both the Draconians and the Defense Directorate at this point, given Rogers' involvement in the whole affair—mostly beyond his control-which leaves to question what other threats exist. Many of these threats are touched upon in the series, ranging from criminal organizations to renegade governments, and even entertainment producers. Thus, Rogers continued existence as an "unknown quality" to the Directorate's enemies has a feasibility limit.
- Aren't the shield borders adaptable, given that the shield's distance from the Earth is demonstratively alterable itself?
- How far reaching is the influence of the Federal Directorate?
- What sort of "black market" exists in Anarchia?
- How do the mutants and inhabitants of Anarchia sustain their number, given all food and water are provided by off-world sources?
- With the prevalence of habitable worlds in the galaxy, why do the humans not leave Earth for those planets whose biospheres are demonstratively sustainable?
Regarding Draconian Interests
- Why do Draco, Ardala, and Kane believe Earth worthy of being conquered, considering that its survival is wholly reliant on extra-terrestrial support?
- Why do the Draconians look like humans?
- Why don't the Draconians simply conquer the other planets who are supplying the food and supplies Earth's citizenry requires?
- If there are 29 other daughters who can service the "needs of the Realm," as Kane put it, what makes Ardala special?
- What prompted Kane to defect to the Draconian Empire? What was his role prior to his defection?
William "Buck" Rogers and Col. Wilma Deering
I would suggest thoroughly searching her ship before you allow it inside your defense shield.
Wrather an insulting way to begin an alliance based on good faith.
Good faith is for bureaucrats and what gets you a city with a lid on it. I'd go up there armed to the teeth, full squadrons. Otherwise, you'll be sitting ducks.
[bristling] For a man whose expertise is allegedly five centuries old, you seem quite opinionated.
You're right. It's none of my business how you blow up your world. My generation didn't know what they were doing either.
No, no. I... I don't like that plan. It worries me.
[facetious] Well, you see, I'm scheduled for termination. If I miss it, I might get into a lot of trouble.
Buck, you are impossible. I'm offering you your life, and you're giving me practical jokes?
Well, see, that's the point: are you offering me termination of my termination, or are you just postponing it?
If you can prove that your story is true...
William "Buck" Rogers and Theopolis
Well now, what an attractive man you are, Captain Buck Rogers.
Now look, I've been waiting 24 hours to find out where I am, who I am, who you are. Could I have some answers?
Certainly Buck, that's why I'm here... to answer your questions.
Great. Let's have it.
Well, you're Captain Buck Rogers, and according to your ship's log, you left Earth in 1987.
That much I know. Tell me what I don't know.
Well, if preliminary data holds up, it appears you have returned to Earth 504 years later. [Rogers is stunned to silence] You are now in the 25th century. [Theopolis notices Rogers' condition as Twiki returns with a liquid refreshment for Rogers] Buck? Are you all right, Buck? Did you hear me? Buck?
[still stunned] I think I will have that drink now.
[Rogers takes the drink, and Twiki offers his first human-understandable statement] L'chaim.
We owe you a great deal more than an apology, Buck. Especially me. I confess, I thought the Princess had you beguiled.
Well, I will say she had the nicest set of... horns... at the ball.
Yes, it was an attractive hat.
[looking out the window while smushing Rogers' face] Bidi-bidi-bidi. Uh-oh.
[readjusts Twiki on his lap] Eyes forward. You'll get star-sick.
Bidi-bidi-bidi. Buck, you're my kind of guy.
Look, I got attached to a lot of places, a lot of people, a lot of good times in another century, and it was all torn away from me. Now maybe there's no way back to those things I left behind, and then again, maybe there is. What I'm trying to tell you is, I'm afraid that if I put down roots here, I might have to go through it all again. Thanks, but no thanks.
Taxi cab, taxi!
- Gil Gerard as Capt. William "Buck" Rogers
- Erin Gray as Col. Wilma Deering
- Tim O'Connor as Dr. Elias Huer
- Pamela Hensley as Princess Ardala
- Henry Silva as Kane
- Duke Butler as Tigerman
- H.B. Haggerty as Tigerman (#2)
- Felix Silla as Twiki
- Caroline Smith as Young Woman
- John Dewey Carter as Supervisor
- Colleen Kelly as Lt. Wrather (uncredited)
- Mel Blanc as Voice of Twiki
- William Conrad as Voice of Narrator (uncredited)
- Tony Epper as Drunk (uncredited)
- Vic Perrin as Voice of Draconia P.A. Announcer (uncredited)
- Directed by Daniel Haller
- Written by Glen A. Larson and Leslie Stevens
- Produced by Richard Caffey, Glen A. Larson, Andrew Mirisch, David G. Phinney and Leslie Stevens
- Music by Stu Phillips
- Cinematography by Frank Beascoechea
- Film Editor - John J. Dumas, David Howe and William Martin
- Casting - Robert D. Edmiston
- Art Director - Paul Peters
- Set Decorator - Richard Reams
- Costume Designer - Jean-Pierre Dorléac
- Jack Cunningham - Unit Production Manager
- Edward D. Markley - Unit Production Manager
- Phil Bowles - First Assistant Director
- Jerry Sobul - First Assistant Director
- Robert Villar - Second Assistant Director
- Judith Vogelsang - Second Assistant Director
- Jerry Allen - Model Builder
- Ted Wilson - Carpenter (uncredited)
- Peter Berkos - Sound Effects Editor
- John R. Carter - Sound
- Andrew Gilmore - Sound
- William H. Kauch - Dialogue Editor
- Clyde Sorenson - Sound
- Chuck Arrigo - Special Effects Coordinator (uncredited)
- Peter Anderson - Visual Effects Supervisor: Universal Hartland
- David M. Garber - Miniatures
- Wayne Smith - Miniatures
- Harry Walton - Miniature Department Head (uncredited)
- Gary Armstrong - Assistant Camera
- Kenneth Hale - First Assistant Camera
- David Kahn - Music Editor
- Stu Phillips - Conductor
- Johnny Harris - Composer: Theme Music (uncredited)
- Glen A. Larson - Composer: Theme Music (uncredited)
- Stu Phillips - Composer: Theme Music (uncredited)
- ↑ This name comes from the script, and is used as a descriptive term.
- Awakening at IMDb
- Awakening, Part I at NBC.com
- Awakening, Part II at NBC.com