Imagination Connoisseur, Ian Samuels, celebrates the classic BBC sci-fi show, BLAKES 7.
After discovering all episodes of Blakes 7 on YouTube I have now finished watching the first series.
Some people, those with a lack of faith in classic Science Fiction could complain about the props and effects. But this was 1970s BBC series budget and with those budget limitations and limitations on the effects available at the time they did a great job.
The characters are engaging and their stories compelling. Their leader Raj Blake, a true leader who managed to take a band of criminals and reprobates and turn them into a ship crew and a team willing to go out of their way for each other, a true Rebel leader on par with Mon Mothma or Princess Leia. Jenna Stannis, more than just eye-candy. She is strong and strong-willed and intelligent all the while still being great eye-candy. Kerr Avon, the incredibly intelligent and egotistical computer expert who continues to claim that his only goal is greed and feeding his greed with riches but due to Blake’s influence even he proves that he is willing to go out of his way for the rest of the crew. Vila Restall the nervous thief, able to crack any lock given appropriate motivation. Olag Gan, the great beast who has a limiter put in his brain after killing a guard who had killed his wife, Gan is now unable to kill due to the implant but is the true definition of ‘friendly giant’. Cally a low-level telepath able to project her thoughts into an other’s mind.
Then we get the protagonists, members of the Federation, a Federation very unlike the one in Star Trek, this Federation is more like a despotic dictatorship. First we meet Space Commander Travis who had previously met Blake having given the order that killed Blake’s friends and followers he had been shot and left for dead by Blake. A surgeon was able to repair much of him using synthetic parts, so he is almost a cyborg. And then of course we have the true villain of the piece, Servalan, more eye-candy but eye-candy who is devilishly intelligent.
The world into which we are thrust is a dark vision of the future. Blake is a damaged man, he is considered one of the most dangerous men in the Federation as he had attempted to lead a rebellion. More citizens and more planets are trying to leave the Federation then ever before and the Federation’s response is brutally officious.
Blake is put through a process where his mind is torn apart and new memories are put in their place. With help Blake begins to break through the memory blocks so as he is becoming a danger again so the Federation invent crimes that Blake is convicted for and is being transported to a prison colony in deep space.
Blake escapes with Avon, Gan, Vila and Jenna on an alien ship which has the final character to add to the crew, the ship’s computer Zen.
The series was created and much of the episodes brilliantly written by previous Doctor Who writer and Dalek creator Terry Nation.
It is a well written, excellently paced enthralling trip through space with great characters. And so I will add my suggestion to yours and urge fellow members of the PGS who, like me have not seen Blakes 7 to check it out.
– Ian S.