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A new Blake’s 7?

April 16, 2013
Blake's 7

How about a make-over?

The news isn’t exactly fresh anymore but, it has been announced that SyFy has order a 13 episode remake of the classic British science fiction series Blake’s 7.  Before I got my multi-region DVD player a couple of Christmases back, I managed to find myself a gray market copy of Blake’s 7 in order to finally watch this classic series.  I have only gone through the first season to date.  I keep scheduling the second season as I have really wanted to go back to that particular universe and, even with the other stuff landing in my lap running interference, I’m sure I’ll get to it soon.  For those not familiar with the series, Blake’s 7 is series about a gentleman named Rog Blake who is imprisoned for a failed rebellion against the tyrannical stellar government known as the Federation.  He is falsely accused of being a pedophile before being shipped off to a prison colony with a number of other undesirable elements.  On the way, the ship encounters an alien vessel that has apparently been abandoned in a recent space battle.  The Federation officers on the transport see an opportunity to improve their standing by attempting to board the ship and claim it as salvage for the Federation government (their job is transporting criminals and it’s pretty clear why this is still their job at this point).  After losing a couple of Federation personal (read: real people) they decide to send over some prisoners instead.  You can pretty much guess how this works out as the series is about a group of freedom fighters and/or criminals using an advanced technology alien warship called the Liberator in an attempt to destroy the Federation.  If this sounds a bit like Farscape or Firefly, it should as this was one of the inspirations for both these series as I mentioned in my article on foundation genre tv series.  While the show’s acting and writing are pretty solid, it was hampered by insanely poor visual effects work.  I watch classic Doctor Who regularly and even I find the special effects difficult at times.  The series was created by Terry Nation who created the Daleks for Doctor Who.  He also wrote all of the first season episodes, as well.

So how do I feel about the proposed re-make?  Cautiously optimistic I would say.  The new Battlestar Galactica was a huge success but, can similar luck be had with Blake’s 7?  I think the possibility is definitely there.  Part of BSG’s big success, at least in the US, was that I felt it was exorcising a lot of America’s post 9/11 demons at the time.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice the overall theme of the series with the destruction of civilization by a surprise terrorist attack and the survivors fighting to rebuild their lives in a now much more hostile world being a metaphor for recent events.  Most Americans at the time could easily empathize with the plight of the Galactica and her crew.  Given our increasingly communication and surveillance saturated world, a series that features a group of people fighting a totalitarian regime using such methods to oppress the masses could easily find an audience today if the writers can tap into people’s concerns over this intrusive technology.  And I haven’t even mention the whole drone thing.

Any attempt to reboot a classic series is always going to be a gamble but, I’m hoping that Blake’s 7 proves to be a success not only for itself but for the original series as well.  The reason for this is that I would like to see the original have its visual effects redone in much the same way that they were redone for the original Star Trek series awhile back.  I think Blake’s 7 is a perfect candidate for this make-over because, like I said earlier, the visual effects are really the only thing keeping the series from receiving the recognition it deserves.

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From → News, Random Thoughts

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