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Blake's 7: Spacefall

In episode one of Blake's 7, Blake got blasted into space with a shipload of criminals. In episode two, he's on his way to a prison colony, an eight month journey presided over by Johnny Briggs's dad, the bloke with the nice voice from Howard's Way, and serial bit part actor Aitch Fielder, with a very big gun. Everybody's a borderline psychopath, sociopath, or something similarly friendly, which nicely sets the tone for the rest of the series. And speaking of sociopaths, hello Kerr Avon.

Avon is the latest member of the Not Yet Seven, although he'd never consider himself so. He'd probably glare at you, threaten violence at the mere suggestion, and make some disparaging comment about it sounding like a cheesy dance troupe. That's the sort of person Avon is. A genius, he's also cold, sarcastic, deeply unpleasant to be around, and instantly the best thing about the show. He has all the best lines, all the best scenes, and a brilliantly antagonistic relationship with Blake that almost immediately turns into a weird mutual dependency. In no time at all, the pair of them are working together to take over the ship, whilst thoroughly hating each other, not trusting each other in the slightest, and yet nevertheless unable to accomplish anything alone. Again, this pretty much sets the tone for all that's to follow.

So off they go, with Blake proving as competent at rebellion in space as he was on Earth (ie: not very). His efforts are hampered to the extreme by Vila, who might end up being retconned into a closet genius in later episodes, and much loved by the fans, but who starts life as a complete moron, badly in need of shooting. He manages to accidently surrender to the guards, just as success is within Blake's grasp, in a manner so spectacularly idiotic that it's easier to believe in it as wilful sabotage rather than stupidity. Nobody could possibly be that much of a fool. Fortunately for Blake (and the viewers, as we'd never have got fifty-two episodes out of the gang sitting strapped to their seats), the rebellion is saved by a huge, fabulously advanced alien spaceship, that collides with the prison ship and causes havoc. Blake and co scrobble it, blast off into space, and celebrate having finally done something right. And they only got several dozen people killed in the process. Things are looking up.


Voyaging through space. That ship badly needs its exhaust seeing to. Possibly during the overhaul they can find out how it's managing to defy the laws of Physics by having an exhaust in the first place.

Avon. Professional bastard, and scene-stealer extraordinaire.

Aitch Fielder, with big gun. As the series progresses, you can entertain yourelf trying to spot him in a variety of places, playing somebody different every time.

Oleg Gan, another of the Seven (or he will be). In this episode he doesn't do a great deal other than intimidate poor Aitch (as pictured). Actually he doesn't do much of anything as a member of the Seven, either, but to be fair to the man, he does very little with great distinction.

Nova, a poor unfortunate who very much wants to be in Blake's gang, but doesn't manage to survive his first assignment.

Deadly sealant foam. If the ship's hull is holed by space junk, this stuff instantly injects itself into the gaps. "It hardens in seconds!" announces Jenna, merrily sticking her fingers in it. I bet she always superglues herself to her Airfix models as well.

Poor old Nova, would-be member of the Seven, gets shaving-creamed sealant-foamed to death.

Elsewhere, Vila is a total dickhead. How can you surrender by accident? How? And who thought that a brainless, comic relief moron would be a good addition to the cast? I know he's popular. I like him myself in later episodes. In this episode, however, he's on the list of People Who Deserve To Get Sealant-Foamed. Bring on the retcon, and quickly.

The Liberator. One of the most awesome spaceships in the history of science fiction. Yes, the interior does wobble quite alarmingly, and yes, bits of it do tend to break off in the crews' hands. But overlooking the budgetary limits, it's utterly brilliant.

Blake, Jenna and Avon escape from the prison ship, and fly away in the Liberator.

Blake and Avon contemplate a future where their fates are forever entwined, come what may. Their joy is wonderful to behold.

The BBC visual effects department. You've got to love them.

Next up, there's a crew to be assembled, and the beginnings of a never-ending cavalcade of confusion over why the show is called Blake's 7. As a title it tends to vary in accuracy week by week.


( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Aug. 4th, 2012 08:12 am (UTC)
Aug. 4th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
Perfect icon. :D
Aug. 11th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I get annoyed when they retcon characters, especially if it's done3-5 seasons into the series and usually never for the better.
Aug. 12th, 2012 08:57 am (UTC)
Retconning is usually the work of the devil, I agree. In this case I'm more than happy about it though! It happens very early on, when creators are often still toying with elements of a show, and Vila is so much the better for it.
Aug. 15th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
I have always loved the Liberator's wooden floors. The crew moves from one level to the other of their spectacular futuristic ship in a series of "clunks."
Aug. 15th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
It's for that authentic, period ship-faring experience. ;)

Even better is when the rocks make the same clunking sounds!
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
I'll have to listen for that. I generally notice how merrily the boulders bounce.
Aug. 16th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, bouncing boulders are always good. Have you ever seen "The Time Tunnel"? There's a great bit in one episode where the main character, Tony, is clambering about on some boulders. He gets a bit energetic, and puts his hand right through one!
Aug. 16th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
I have never even heard of the Time Tunnel.

Sounds like a perfect scene, though.
Aug. 16th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
It's a sixties sci-fi adventure series, about two scientists who get lost in time. Great fun.
( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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