George Clooney is the latest big star to jump to television with his own show. Having previously been to outer space in Gravity, Solaris and his recent movie The Midnight Sky, Clooney is heading back again, this time starring in a reboot of Buck Rogers.
Buck Rogers was originally unveiled in the 1928 pulp novella Armageddon 2419 A.D. by author Philip Francis Nowlan. He was a hit, appearing in many other pulp stories, comic books, and radio serials following his intergalactic adventures.
That led to him transitioning to the screen, appearing in 1930s movie serials before getting his own ABC TV series in 1950, and another on NBC in 1979. His stories helped popularise science fiction as a genre for everyone, combining space exploration with his swashbuckling heroism. He was arguably the precursor to Hans Solo, and there’s probably no Star Wars without Buck Rogers.
It’s not confirmed right now that Clooney will indeed play the title character, but it’s reported he’s in talks to star in the series, so it seems like a logical guess. He’s producing alongside regular partner Grant Heslov via their Smokehouse banner, while Legendary is the studio behind the reboot. Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) has been tapped to write the series.
Clooney always felt too debonair and larger-than-life for TV, but the industry has changed, and he can probably harness that identity for the Buck Rogers role. The rebooted character will likely be older than his previous incarnations, with his best days behind him but still a popular figure. Sort of like the reboot itself.
It will be interesting to see how this performs. Clooney is still a big enough name to draw in viewers, but will younger audiences know who Buck Rogers is? However, that might not be an issue because the people who don’t know Buck Rogers probably aren’t watching traditional TV any more, so perhaps this show is being geared towards an older generation.