If you’re not already familiar with the opening titles of the late '70s/early '80s version of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, you should be. You may recognize it from a South Park parody, but this credit theme for one of Glen A. Larson’s beloved attempts to cash in on the success of Star Wars manages to both inform the viewer of the plot and then excite with a jazzy fun theme that only a sci-fi adventure of that era can truly pull off with sincerity.
But y’all, if you think that’s the best opening for Buck Rogers, you’re sorely mistaken. Hands down the superior opening comes from the original theatrical release of the show’s pilot. Devoid of show footage to cut together into an action montage, devoid of any real awareness of the show that would eventually exist after it, the only reasonable alternative that Larson and team could come up with was to feature several women, including the show’s two female leads, Erin Gray and Pamela Hensley, in various states of intergalactic silver-threaded undress.
All of this while Buck, our hero, sleeps on top of his own title logo, except when he's occasionally interrupted by apparently sleep sexy times?
He's aided in his slumber by a wistful tune of wonder about being lost in space, time, and perhaps even in himself. Sample lyrics:
Long before this life of mine, long before this time
What was there, who cared to make it begin?
Is it forever or will it all end?
Searching my past for the things that I've seen
Is it my life or just something I dreamed?
This Buck Rogers remake existed at the exact perfect time that it needed to. On the intersection of the '70s and '80s, when disco's brand of glam hadn’t quite given way to modern rock's, the two meet and shake glittery hands in the middle. That handshake is where Buck Rogers in the 25th Century lives. This credit sequence is like if the Star Wars opening crawl crashed into the theme song to a James Bond movie. It’s no wonder they had to replace this sequence with the opening we eventually got instead. No showrunner would want the task of having to follow this each and every episode.
You can watch the entire opening sequence here.