Glen A. Larson, creator of many beloved television shows including Quincy, Magnum, P.I., Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, as well as B.J. and The Bear, among others has died at the age 77.
Many science fiction fans will perhaps remember Mr. Larson as the creator of several of Sci Fi’s favorite and well-loved fandom shows such as; The Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the unforgettable Battlestar Galactica.
While Larson was truly an accomplished and multi-talented creative mind who wrote for and produced many notable shows, Larson’s fans will also be interested to know that he also wrote some memorable theme songs to many of his own shows. While Galactica alone has gone on to be reinvented with great success, both shows have gone on to captivate the imaginations of countless fans since they debuted in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It is also worth noting however that there have also been remakes of Knight Rider and even news of an upcoming Six Million Dollar Man movie starring Mark Wahlberg.
Speaking personally, Battlestar Galactica along with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, were among the few shows early in my life that captivated my imagination and helped spark my ongoing love for science fiction and space exploration. Whether it was his riveting space operetta story lines or the award winning special effects of John Dykstra, both shows depicted a reality in which humanity had been able to transcend itself beyond the petty narrow-minded reality we still toil within on a daily basis.
Battlestar Galactica along with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century also featured mythological and Hero-like leading men whom young minds could look up to and admire for years to come in the form of Richard Hatch, who played the caring and dedicated Capt. Apollo, along with Gel Gerard, as the time displaced U.S. astronaut, Captain William Buck Rogers. Both of these characters served as arch-types of the kind of well rounded, ethical and selfless people, regardless of gender; whom we all have the potential to be more like.
While Battlestar Galactica lasted just one season, the impact it had on science fiction in general can in no way be understated. Larson had the following to say of the much loved show, “I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that. But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies to get our sea legs.”
It is well known that the major reason behind Battlestar’s untimely cancelation, even as one of 1978’s top ten shows, and after only 24 episodes in the first and only season; were the huge production costs of each episode. Larson had often been quoted as saying that each episode cost well over $1 million dollars to make individually.
When speaking to TV Archive, Larson indicated that not only were his shows enjoyable to television audiences, but they also had a decent amount of humor inherent in them. He further went on to say that the shows, “All struck a chord in the mainstream. What we weren’t going to do was win a shelf full of Emmys. We got plenty of nominations for things, but ours were not the kind of shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think we brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
But I would have to say that Glen Larson was potentially being very humble when touching on his contributions to the entertainment industry where a lack of award winning shows might be concerned. Glen Larson will if nothing else live on within the legacy of the ideas he put out into the universe of science fiction with his remarkable vision of humanity’s future. Time and time again an inherent theme within both Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers alike is the idea that humanity is not merely the sum of its parts, but rather the collective totality of all possibilities inherent within itself!
What we must never forget are the ideas championed within Larson’s ideas of what humanity was truly capable of. And in those places where his imagination was allowed to roam through the cosmos, it never settled for mediocrity and always pushed its characters along with the audience to look inside of themselves to help pull out that which is perhaps most worthy in all of us; a truer vision of what humanity will one day become!
Like Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas and many notable others before him, Larson touched upon and spoke to a spark of greatness, which is still undiscovered yet ultimately possessed by each and every one of us, while seemingly realized or actualized by only a small number of humanity to date.
Glen Larson has given more to humanity than he has ever been given credit for, and it is at the very least apparent in the millions of Mr. Larson’s re-run watching and cosplaying fans, who are still running around throughout the world today, with many of these fans having contributed and made the world a little better in their own way. They did this as scientists, engineers, astronauts, artists, teachers, doctors, business owners, poets, lawyers and so many other professions, because they embodied a little bit of what they learned from watching his shows here and there. And in their everyday lives they went into the world as inspired children and fans of shows like Knight Rider, The Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica and they conducted themselves in ways that perhaps might have been just a little like Steve Austin, Wilma Deering or Michael Knight might have.
In each of these shows alone there was always one person or a singular group of individuals who against all odds, stood up for what was right in the face of great odds, diversity and personal danger. In essence, Glen Larson was teaching us all that everything we ever really needed to know about what it means to be good people, along with maybe a little bit of what it means to live a good life in general, we perhaps learned to some degree from watching Glen Larson’s terrific Sci Fi shows!
It is to Glen Larson that we, the Thirteenth Colony of Humanity as it were; should stop for a collective moment of recognition, thanks and gratitude. We should pay this homage to a visionary who tried to show us at least in some small ways, how we can each individually as well as together, begin to create a brighter future. Through science fiction and a vision of a more advanced human morality and sense of self, Mr. Larson was able to help illuminate humanity’s path toward the light in a small yet important way. A path on which humanity can work towards making a difference in this often times unfair world we live in, but also on a path toward recognizing the universality of our very existence as it relates to everything around and within us!
Rest well Mr. Larson and thank you for giving us so much of yourself, as well as for giving us even the smallest piece of the map needed toward humanity’s eventual evolution into the race we are beginning to understand that we have the potential to become!
SO SAY WE ALL!
Written by: Tye Bourdony
Tye Bourdony is a Sci Fi cartoonist and creator of ‘The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi’, as well as a science fiction reporter and the U.S. based content editor for Sci Fi Pulse. Tye is a graduate of the Barry University School of Law, SUNY Purchase and H.S. of Music & Art, and he currently works in Florida’s 9th Circuit as the Staff Family Mediator. Tye also serves on the Board of the Legal Aid Society of Osceola County and also has a regular self-published column in Sci Fi Magazine and you can visit Tye on Facebook as well as at www.thelightersideofscifi.com. You can also send him your thoughts and story/article ideas to [email protected].