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In the third century of the second calendar, a corrupt galactic federation, with Earth at its centre, Narcotises its billions of citizens into placid submission. A rebel named Roj Blake, who once tried to organise a resistance group to overthrow the regime, was caught and his memories wiped. But Blake's revolutionary spirit is revived when he witnesses a mass slaughter by police which is covered up by officials. He escapes on-board a prison ship, and together with a lovable band of outlaws, takes over a vacant alien space cruiser of awesome drive capability. Christening their ship, "The Liberator", Blake and his group travel the Milky Way to seek any opportunity to undermine the corrupt regime.Written by
Kevin McCorry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I discovered "Blakes 7" (though it ought to be "Blake's 6," methinks) when I was five years old - and I dismissed it. I thought it looked boring and corny, and when I got hooked on "Doctor Who" shortly thereafter, I forgot all about it.
Well, like a wayward son, I have returned to "Blakes 7" all these years later. I've just finished the season one DVDs, and I enjoyed myself immensely. In some respects it's a very familiar show that borrows terminology and ideas from much older genre entertainment, like "Star Trek." But it's quite revolutionary in terms of structure - the arc plot is ahead of its time - and characterization. "Blakes 7" also features a surprisingly cynical world view; the Federation in this series isn't a league of whitewashed good guys, it's a corrupt organization that controls its subjects through military force and "1984"-like brainwashing.
The best character of the season is Avon, who is played in a wonderful sneering fashion by Paul Darrow. Blake is my second favorite; he's an idealist, but he's tough and he's not preachy (thank goodness). The other crew members, truth be told, are a little bland. I'm not sure why people seem to like the cowardly thief character Villa so much, since his role mainly consists of whining and cracking flat jokes. Jenna the smuggler is a pretty foxy lady, but she doesn't do much but get tied up and possessed - both staple pastimes for women in these semi-sexist old shows.
Certain plot elements are recycled in a tiresome fashion; in several episodes, half of Blake's crew is stranded on a planet while the other half contends with a problem in space. And of course, there's always a moment when the ground team is in mortal peril and needs to be "beamed up," but nobody's at the controls to do it. I complain too much, though - there are several genuinely surprising plot twists in the first season. And, even when the stories are a little clichéd, a great cast of British character actors is on hand to pick up the slack. Cool guest stars like Brian Blessed and Julian Glover reliably provide rock-solid support for the regulars.
The show is still easy to dismiss due to its low budget. But does it really matter that Blake's laser gun looks like a hair-curler? Not a bit. Flawed production values do very little to detract from "Blakes 7," which in the final analysis is clearly one of the more thoughtful and exciting sci-fi series I've had the pleasure to watch. The very first episode, which concerns Blake being framed for child molestation, is particularly gripping. It's highly recommended stuff.
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