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     Home »  Other Science Fiction/Fantasy »  Blake's 7
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    Blake's 7 Views: 3975
     Monday, December 11 2006 @ 10:35 PM EST
    Eh, I'm so terribly mild about B7.

    The truncated storyline is a real problem for me. It started out really well, I thought (maybe one of the most intriguing pilots ever), and was pretty good for its first season, but then it really nosedived. In their efforts to sorta flesh out particular cast members—and only particular cast members—they lost some forward momentum with the central story involving Blake. I sometimes find myself thinking some of the stories involve situations deliberately meant to put Blake and Paul Darrow's characters on opposite sides, just so we could get conflict.

    At the same time, they never significantly explored the female cast members, which eventually turned the show, especially during season 2, into this rather predictable fight for control of the ship (and, by extension, the show) between Avon and Blake. It not only got old; it was irrelevant to the promise of the pilot.

    I think they made a mistake, too, in whom they trusted to be the "voice" of the Federation. It went from being a fascinating, nebulous threat with its own, logical point of view to this Flash Gordon-esque, pulpy double act of Servalan and Travis.

    Worse, the show continued after Gareth Thomas departed the series, bringing him back only to have Avon kill him. So how was it really Blake's 7 any more? The ending is so ambiguous (and, I suppose the writers would say, "delightfully ambiguous") that overall it makes the story not worth telling. I understand that there are tragedies to be told in dramatic fiction, but something about that last episode just really makes my skin crawl. The tragedy wasn't set up well enough to make me believe that it was anything other than an attempt to manufacture a meaningful ending of some kind that was "suitably dark". (And, indeed, Thomas' contract did compel his character's final death in the episode.)

    I guess what makes this most disappointing is that the show had good network backing, yet they didn't really use the time wisely to bring the overall story to say anything interesting. The fourth season was particularly egregious, and a real example of a creative team just cashing paychecks.

    Overall, I found B7 to be not worth the investment of time. Ultimately, it says nothing coherent, but peters out after raising some interesting questions. It's most useful today as marking the beginning of the "anti-Star Trek movement" in televised SF—a pre-cursor to Firefly, and a pre-cursor to the reimagined Battlestar Galactcia.

    At the end of the day, though, I think of it as the Northern Exposure of science fiction, a cautionary tale of what happens to shows with good opening concepts that fail to understand that their titular characters, and not their interesting co-stars, are the show. In the same way that Northern Exposure was specifically about Joel's exposure to Alaska, Blake's 7 was about Blake. The moment NE became about the town's residents and B7 became about the ship's crew was the moment that both shows jumped the shark.

    "I think of myself as ambitious in casting terms, and I know that Bonnie [Langford] has the potential to make the part totally unirritating . . ." — JNT, 1986
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     Monday, December 11 2006 @ 11:28 PM EST
    Thank you, very well put and I agree totally.
    It played off in Dallas on PBS 13, home of the first and all of the original Dr Who.
    I was VERY disappointed in the obviously contrived
    ending.
    Where are all the principals today?

    Time is only imaginary, use it without reserve! Rock & Roll Forever
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     Monday, December 11 2006 @ 11:35 PM EST
    [Quote  by:  DarthSkeptical] Eh, I'm so terribly mild about B7.

    The truncated storyline is a real problem for me. It started out really well, I thought (maybe one of the most intriguing pilots ever), and was pretty good for its first season, but then it really nosedived...


    Yes, a well thought-out critique. But really, at the time, B7 was bloody fried gold.

    ...I'm that sort of a man.
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