Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Far Beyond the World I've Known..."

A cheap sale on DVDs and a nostalgic parent provided four children of the 21st century the opportunity to see “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” It is an enjoyably cheese 70s look at the far future, with plenty of disco bass and feathered hair. Along with all that, it is also one of the most straight forward examples of where science fiction attempts to comment on current society through story.

Buck Rogers is a man from the late twentieth century living 500 years in the future. The problems they face are illuminated through his ancient perspective, but coincidentally they are also the sort of problems viewers and the culture in which the show aired faced. It is typical if somewhat more obvious than usual for the genre.

There is a scene at the end of the pilot episode that is particularly interesting from the perspective of a cross-cultural Christian and a TCK. Buck is offered a job working with the leaders of society in the future. They value his “outsider’s” perspective and the fact that he is not adjusted to their culture. They know that he will see things differently and offer ideas that they would never consider. They understand that they have a lot to learn from him. Also, the fact that he has not grown up in their highly bureaucratic society gives him some freedom and a license to make cultural mistakes that could serve him well as he seeks to help them change the flaws in their culture.

That is a pretty perceptive insight into some of the ways this crazy fish-out-of-water life can have its advantages.

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