Blake's 7
Blake's 7
| 02 January 1978 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    the audience applauded

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    This movie was so-so. It had it's moments, but wasn't the greatest.

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    if their story seems completely bonkers, almost like a feverish work of fiction, you ain't heard nothing yet.

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    The movie turns out to be a little better than the average. Starting from a romantic formula often seen in the cinema, it ends in the most predictable (and somewhat bland) way.

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    When this show was first launched - I was 5 going on 6 - kinda young to be into sci fi but this show was something that I just could NOT miss. I didn't get to see any reruns of this show, believe it or not, until I emigrated to New Zealand in 2001 and it was being rerun on one of the free to air channels. Wow. The tingle I got down my spine when the signature tune started was amazing. The nostalgia rush entirely unexpected but welcome. The episodes that were shown were from Season one and, as is typical in New Zealand, they took the show off air midway through with no explanation - Grrrrr! Fast forward to 2008 when I discover an amazing DVD store in Christchurch which stocks pretty much every rare DVD or video you could ever want. And they had all 4 Blakes 7 DVD Box sets. You see where I am going with this....As I type, I have just finished season 3 and out of all of the 39 episodes viewed thus far, was amazed that I could only remember about a half a dozen so was like watching with new eyes over again. It's easy to watch such things with 2008 eyes, having been spoiled with Visual effects from Mssrs Lucas, Spielberg and Jackson over the years, but I have learned to watch things in the context of the time they were made. Sure, there were shaky sets and if you look at the Liberator hard enough, you see three Fairy Liquid bottles staring back at you. Doesn't matter. What made this series for me was the characterizations and the sophistication of the story lines. My mother used to say she thought Paul Darrow was the worst actor she had ever seen.In retrospect, and having trained as an actor myself, I think she was very wrong. Paul Darrow ROCKED as Avon. He created the complexity of the man that was Kerr Avon like I think no other could. I wouldn't say that Paul Darrow was a good looking man but I would say that he had a real sexual magnetism that he played to amazing effect in his scenes with Servelan which made him very attractive and mesmerizing to watch( I am now talking as a 35 year old woman - not the 5 year old child!) - more on Serverlan later. My favourite character as a child with always Vila and I have not revised that opinion because I think he added that much needed humour to break the obvious tension between Blake and Avon and then, in season 3 and 4, Tarrant and Avon. Vila was the only character to appear in all 52 episodes and I think that is testament to Michael Keatings portrayal of the lovable rogue - always portrayed as a coward but I think, a very reluctant hero. I wasn't a huge Roj Blake fan. I felt that Gareth Thomas came across as a Shakespearian actor who looked and felt uncomfortable on a sci fi set. His booming RADA trained voice just didn't impress me and I felt that the series improved when he left ( Is that a treasonous comment?!!) I felt that all the other characters had their part to play and remember the shock when Gan was killed ( I remember that, particularly as a 5 year old who had previously been shielded from such things) and that was the great thing about the show - there was no such thing really as a happy ending; bad things could, and often did, happen and it was inevitable that the show would end the way it did - to have ended any other way would have been somewhat of an anti-climax.The villains - ah, the villains.....Servelan - Jacqueline Pearce. What can I say? As a child I HATED her. So Ms Pearce did her job well. She was superb in the role. It's easy to play an icy cold villianess but not so easy to play one who has her vulnerabilities and not be afraid to show them which we saw from time to time with Servelan. I read somewhere that it was Jacqueline Pearces own idea to have her dressed in such stylish and feminine outfits rather than the mandatory PVC skin tight black body suits that 'baddie' females tended to wear. The decision was an inspired one. I was disappointed that Travis was killed off at the end of season 2. Whilst I didn't think Brian Croucher was that good an actor, still, I enjoyed his performance more than Stephen Griefs ( another RADA voice) - perhaps it was the quietly spoken voice, perhaps the more regional accent, or maybe the piercing blue eyes- anyhow, I did enjoy the episodes he appeared in. Well, I am just about to go and watch season 4 over the next two nights. I know how it will end and I suspect I will remember more episodes as was 8 or 9 by the time this aired. What I do know for certain is that I will enjoy every minute of it and will be sad when it all ends. If I had to chose between storyline, characterisation versus effects, I would choose the former every time. So sad that programme and movie makers in the sci fi genre don't do the same nowadays. The nostalgia rush rewatching Blakes 7, for me, has been amazing. This show defined a time in my life that I can never return to permanently but watching it again has enabled me to return for a brief while and the experience has been priceless.

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    "Blakes 7"... well.. where do you start, but back when it aired, it was my favourite show as a child, making my parents tune in to watch it every week, it had wonderful characterisation, delightful banter between Avon and Vila, definitely the best characters of the show. Paul Darrow, what an inspired choice, being a Shakespearean actor, took the role and made it his own. Snarling, sniping... Everyone remembers the wobbly sets... who didn't from that time, didn't Dr Who have the same problem?... Unlike Dr Who you didn't know who was to be knocked off that week? Gan being killed off in the second series at that time, who saw it coming?Years later, having them all on DVD, thank god someone decided to release them, fantastic!!! And they do get better after multiple viewings... up there with firefly, and Babylon 5, best British sci fi? Not now, back in 1978, god yes!!! it was dark, bleak, a kind of robin hood and his merry men in space, but with bickering... what a good idea, bot like star trek, where everyone is nice to each other..One word. Brilliant

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    Lars Madsen

    I know that's a bold statement, but you have to consider the players in the field; Star Trek (in all its incarnations) was very hit-or-miss, Babylon 5 took two seasons to warm up and the final season petered out, the old Battlestar Galactica was pretty dopey, and a thousand others did little to validate the credentials of sci fi for broadcast TV.Blake's 7 has rotten production values, sub-par special effects, terrible acting, major continuity problems, and many planet-side shots seem to have been shot in the same gravel quarry used by every BBC studio since time began.That being said, the show keeps you riveted from the start, since you can't honestly say which of the main characters are going to survive from episode to episode. There's very little altruism here; the more ruthless characters leave each other hanging almost as a rule. Great fun.

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    Aven and the the rest of the 7 were cool...almost ridiculously so; I always thought Aven was Blake (surname or something) until I saw the episodes where they referred to Blake as another person and of course the episodes towards the end that actually featured Blake. Why is it that we British are so good at Science Fiction; DR WHO,THE PRISONER (though I only read about this one),HITCH HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY etc and yet we' bad at implementing or rather we cut them off before they can cross the pass. I think it comes down to perhaps the fact that SCI-FI makes people think even our hard drinking,football loving working classes would be stirred into intellectual activity of some kind and that's the last thing we need...I HAVE A SOLUTION! These Brilliant programmes should be made again...but show them late (11pm or midnight) when most people are tired and asleep from a hard evenings drinking. YOu make your money by Selling the shows to the USA, Japan, Europe etc...That way no compromise on intellectual quality and no worries about masses of drones getting uppitty....Everyones Happy.

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