Buck Rogers, what could have been...

batguy

Sr Member
But a Buck Rogers reboot wouldn't be set in the '30s, it would be set in the 25th century just like the original serials and the '80s version. What's being talked about is not setting it in the '30s but making it using a '30 aesthetic sort of resembling the old serials.

Good point.

I could see a 1930s aesthetic working if they skip the sepia-toned look of the trailer. Give me color.

That 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' movie had a cool production design on the vehicles & costumes & stuff. But the filmmakers killed it with the extreme visual tone. Nobody wants to stare a flashlight pointing at their face for 2 hours.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't see why it couldn't work in the right hands. We all know that the basic classic serial premise can sell as long as it still basically a great story, well-told with wit, action, great characters and actors. On paper Raiders of the Lost Ark shouldn't work, but in the minds and hearts of Lucas and Spielberg it made perfect sense.

The retro aesthetic shouldn't be the core gimmick either. That only goes so far. At heart it needs to be good. The retro design, like good effects, is just frosting on the cake. The Rocketeer and especially Raiders did it right.

But I also agree that Hollywood isn't ready for this challenge today. I'd bury it, for decades if necessary, until it is safe for true auteurs to emerge again without being suffocated by today's well-intentioned but often overzealous social/political forces.
 
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ScourgiousJinx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Black and white would work just as well as color. Sepia is not a good idea for anything as it's way overused and immediately makes everything seem cheesy fake antique.

Leave Buck Rogers alone and do something completely new from the massive catalogue of successful science fiction novels or comics that have come out over the last 100 years.
 

blewis17

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I thought it was amazing that Cawley got both Gil Gerard and Erin Grey to do the test shot for him!

And he did have Gerard on his Enterprise set back in the day (it's James Cawley on the right of the photo, as Captain Kirk)

gerard_trek.jpg


...and here is Cawley with The Shat

shatnercawley.jpg
 

Funky

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sadly our hero’s of yesteryear are gone.
Let’s recap. Big budget, contemporary movies based off of pre 50’s hero’s. How many were successful?

Lone Ranger (twice)
The Phantom
The Spirit
The Shadow
Green Hornet
Flash Gordon
Doc Savage

None of these movies made money. Now, to be fair, most of these were stinkers on their own. Personally, I think that todays Hollywood writers simply don’t know, or understand yesterday’s hero’s.
 

ALLEY

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sadly our hero’s of yesteryear are gone.
Let’s recap. Big budget, contemporary movies based off of pre 50’s hero’s. How many were successful?

Lone Ranger (twice)
The Phantom
The Spirit
The Shadow
Green Hornet
Flash Gordon
Doc Savage

None of these movies made money. Now, to be fair, most of these were stinkers on their own. Personally, I think that todays Hollywood writers simply don’t know, or understand yesterday’s hero’s.
Add John Carter of Mars (although, I’m one of those weird people that liked the movie) and Tarzan to that list.
 

blewis17

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Black and white would work just as well as color. Sepia is not a good idea for anything as it's way overused and immediately makes everything seem cheesy fake antique.

Leave Buck Rogers alone and do something completely new from the massive catalogue of successful science fiction novels or comics that have come out over the last 100 years.
Or they could pull it off like The Wizard of Oz… where the 1930s are in b&w and the 25th Century is in color
 

Riceball

Master Member
There are huge volumes of great untapped sci-fi and fantasy literature from which to draw that isn't Dune or Philip K. Dick. We have barely scratched the surface of that gold mine. The problem is that Hollywood writers don't like to read anymore.
It's not the writers that are at fault, it's the studio heads/producers that are the ones that aren't reading. And even then I wouldn't say that they're not necessarily reading so much as over-risk averse. The major movie & TV studios are not looking at creating art or putting things on screen because it's something that they desperately want to see on screen, they are looking at making money, and movies and TV shows have gotten stupidly expensive these days. Because of that, they're less inclined to take risks and instead stick to what they think is tried and true. And this has been this way for quite some time and is hardly a new phenomenon. I'm old enough to remember when disaster movies were all the rage back in the '70s and it seemed like every movie studio was cranking out disaster movie after disaster movie. Before that, you had tons of war movies about WWII, and then Westerns were all the rage and Hollywood was cranking as many cowboy movies as they could.

I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have some new, original content, but it's never going to beat out your sequels, prequels, and reboots which most of Hollywood feels are safe bets. But don't forget, we did get the Expanse, a great series based on a great book series. We also got Altered Carbon, which was great until Netflix decided to play it safe with S2 and completely deviate from the book.
 

ALLEY

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
It's not the writers that are at fault, it's the studio heads/producers that are the ones that aren't reading. And even then I wouldn't say that they're not necessarily reading so much as over-risk averse. The major movie & TV studios are not looking at creating art or putting things on screen because it's something that they desperately want to see on screen, they are looking at making money, and movies and TV shows have gotten stupidly expensive these days. Because of that, they're less inclined to take risks and instead stick to what they think is tried and true. And this has been this way for quite some time and is hardly a new phenomenon. I'm old enough to remember when disaster movies were all the rage back in the '70s and it seemed like every movie studio was cranking out disaster movie after disaster movie. Before that, you had tons of war movies about WWII, and then Westerns were all the rage and Hollywood was cranking as many cowboy movies as they could.

I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have some new, original content, but it's never going to beat out your sequels, prequels, and reboots which most of Hollywood feels are safe bets. But don't forget, we did get the Expanse, a great series based on a great book series. We also got Altered Carbon, which was great until Netflix decided to play it safe with S2 and completely deviate from the book.
There is something to be said regarding the writing “talent” (or lack thereof) they are also bringing in.
 

blewis17

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great show when I was 4 and 5 years old….but trying to get through it now is extremely difficult. Remember, this was post-Star Trek by a decade so there was really no excuse for the low-grade schlock put out by NBC in this show:
Both BSG and Buck Rogers aired their 2 hour series premiers as theatrical releases, with some minor changes (Baltar's execution, etc.) While I remember seeing BSG in theaters, not BR. For shlock, you REALLY can not beat the THEATRICAL opening to the Buck Rogers movie, with lyrics!

 

Riceball

Master Member
There is something to be said regarding the writing “talent” (or lack thereof) they are also bringing in.
I'm not sure that producers are hiring bad writers so much as the writers are doing the best they can with mandates from above. While I'm sure some writers out there are pretty talentless and/or fully onboard with trying to bring their socio-political ideologies to the forefront of their writing, I also believe that many of these writers are quite talented and are trying to do their best under whatever directions the showrunner(s) are giving them. After all, unless the writers are the showrunners, they're writing for a showrunner who also answers to studio execs who have a certain vision for this show or movie they're writing for. And if a showrunner and/or studio exec says that they want X in the script, regardless of whether it's a really good idea or not, you write X into the script or risk starving while you try to find another production to write for or another line of work entirely.
 

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