Even that's forgivable. I read it in an idle late night moment when I should have been sleeping and had no spare synapses for anything smarter than a simple, "Hey, remember that show? That was great," kind of article. It was brain candy meant to fill up a few spare moments, and it was fine...until the checkboxes.
As a fan of the pulp version of Buck Rogers, it was great to see his name on the list. The article does acknowledge the IP's deeper roots, but it's clear that they included Buck as a sop to younger Boomers and older Gex-X types who can't think of Buck Rogers without thinking of Gil Gerard. Back in the day, the plots of the 1970s version of Buck Rogers was too sophisticated for this Gen-Xer's young palette, but the adventure, the space fights, and the sci-fi trappings, and the pew-pew-pew! sure weren't. To say nothing of Erin Gray.
Which is all to say that a new Buck Rogers could be great. There's room in the market for a throwback style sci-fi, and a return to a wide-eyed, superversive and heroic action style of science-fiction in the new pulp style would be a great 'same but different' hook that media executives love because they think it gives them a safe and marketable property. The writers admit as much. So chalk one up for the un-named author(s) and authoress(es) of the article, their heart is in the right place.
So why can't they leave well enough alone? They are on the right trail, they're so close to understanding, and they just yank the wheel off into a ditch:
The ultimate fish out of water, space pilot Buck Rogers was frozen in time and woke up in the 25th century. There he fought interplanetary menaces, romanced beautiful women, and lived like disco was never going out of fashion.
The 1970s Buck Rogers was already a remake of an earlier version, but it was a remake that deserves to be remade again. A ripping adventure series, it’s the perfect vehicle for a more light-hearted sort of action and adventure than Battlestar Galactica or Space: Above and Beyond. There’s plenty of fun to be had out of the confusion created by a man centuries out of time – or maybe even a woman. After all, the 1970s show gave us the kickass Wilma Deering, who’s to say we couldn’t have a female version in a Buck Rogers remake?Bang! Car, meet bridge abutment.
Did you see that? They acknowledge that Wilma Deering kicked ass - and this was made 40 years ago - but that's still not enough. The main character has to be female, too!
They honestly believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the one thing that would need to be changed in a Buck Rogers remake is to gender flip the lead. Let me tell you why that wouldn't satisfy the very people who are most likely to demand such a pointless change.
|You never forget your first crush.|
The only way out of that quandary is to make Doe so hyper-competent that she doesn't need Wilbur around at all. Which sucks all the drama out of the premise. It completely negates the whole point of the exercise.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Buck was a hero partially because he was able to bring surprising 20th century ideas into the 25th century and show the future folk better ways of doing things. And you know what those better ways were, don't you? The very 20th century middle-American cultural touchstones that the very people who would want a Becky Rogers loathe. They can't have that, so they'd have to present the future as a feminist dystopia where Becky teaches the horrible patriarchy a thing or two about how feminism cures everything.
So what's the problem with that, you ask? There's a slew of them.
For one thing, the patriarchy is on the "wrong side of history". Showing the patriarchy victorious ranks as a serious no-no amongst the Not-OK crowd. It also means that Becky Rogers would be the only female character with any real agency, what with women being condemned to the hideous fate of raising children, building a home and a future, and other nightmares such as avoiding decades of drudge work in a cubicle farm. You can't have a show where women are oppressed, and at the same time the female characters are all fierce and strong and independent. Not if you want a show that makes a lick of sense, you can't.
More to the point, the examples of what you get when you mix gender swapped IPs with feminist screeds are legion. They've tried to make ripping adventures featuring light-hearted action and adventure married to political polemics about the patriarchy and girl power many times before, and every time they do that...you know what happens: