David Thompson
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May 16, 2014

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dicentra

Good News: This sane dissertation on "rape culture" appears in Time magazine.

Bad News: No one reads Time anymore.

cm

The low-budget glories of Blake’s 7.

Oh, that takes me back! And from episode 2, Orac: "It is not a prediction. It is an immutable certainty. Space vehicle will be destroyed." Classic moment ...

JuliaM

Weren't they supposedly reworking 'Blake's Seven' at one point?

David

Weren’t they supposedly reworking ‘Blake’s Seven’ at one point?

I think it was being planned, briefly, for Sky or SyFy or something. Maybe the backers watched some of the original episodes and realised just how awful it was. Setting aside the no-budget effects, the alarming fashions and the endless running about in quarries, it had science fiction’s least compelling title character. Even as a child it just seemed shabby and embarrassing (compared to quality productions like… um… Sapphire and Steel). But I suppose you have to admire the cast for trooping on in such adversity. At least Jacqueline Pearce and Paul Darrow seemed to be having fun.

[ Edited. ]

rjmadden

From the Blake's 7 article:

"But the show's influence on genre television and storytelling in general cannot be underestimated."

Faint praise.

Henry

Sorry, David, I do question your taste in early sci-fi TV shows.

Blakes 7: the finest theme tune, and the best characters of the lot. And the more complex morality of "freedom fighters" instead of the usual goodies and baddies rubbish. Who cares about the special effects? It was the 70s!!

Nerdfact: orac was episode 11 or 12. Here's a similar Orac quote, though one would struggle to convey Orac's self-satisfied tone of voice here:

"Orac are you suggesting you know more about this subject than I do?"

"It is not a suggestion. It is a statement of fact"

David

Henry,

Nerdfact: orac was episode 11 or 12

Yes, but you can’t really hang a whole series on a slightly prissy computer. Though I suppose Servalan’s plunging necklines may have kept some viewers riveted. Didn’t Blake go missing for an entire season, to no great loss, and then return a year later, to no great effect?

sk60

Cat saves boy from dog attack.

http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/amazing-video-cat-saves-boy-from-dog-attack-in-southwest-bakersfield-051414

Minnow

Yes Blake was a weak character, he never really made 'his' seven do anything, but some smarter writing could do a lot with the idea which is terrific if it got a Galactica style re-working and production values and it has a cult following all teed up.

The correlations are very funny but I can't quite get over howe many people die each year from tangling in their bedsheets. Why isn't more made of this?

David

Yes Blake was a weak character,

I didn’t watch it much as a child so it’s possible it wasn’t all as bad as I (vaguely) remember. Avon and Servalan seemed to be the memorable characters, but Blake just seemed… well, dull. And apparently superfluous to his own series.

I can’t quite get over how many people die each year from tangling in their bedsheets.

Well don’t leave us hanging. There’s got to be more.

Rafi

Homemade Wolverine claws.

http://uproxx.com/gammasquad/2014/05/check-out-these-amazing-homemade-pneumatic-wolverine-claws/

Steve 2: Steveageddon

The thing I never liked about Blake's 7 was how grotty and low-rent it was.

All television shows are a product of their time and place. American 70's sci fi like Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica envisaged a shiny, feathery-haired, disco-infused future with good looking characters who were surprisingly cheerful given their horrifying back stories: everybody Buck knew or loved was dead, and the Battlestar gang were robo-holocaust survivors being pursued by big scary murderbots.

Blake's 7 looked like depressed geography teachers in space, and its sets were about as inviting as Jimmy Savile's caravan.

And the "sexy" one was Servalan? Spare me. She looked like one of your Mum's recently divorced friends. Stick a Silk Cut cigarette in her mouth and half a bottle of Blue Nun in her handbag and the look would be complete.

FACT: the best woman in 70's / early-80's science fiction was Princess Aura from Flash Gordon.

WTP

Ooh, I beg to disagree there Steve-o...

http://youtu.be/MsZV4soWM7c

Nikw211

Blake's 7 looked like depressed geography teachers in space

Puh ha ha ha ha ha awesome.

Enormous 3D collage made from repurposed books.

Awesome, but in a radically different way

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

David Thompson wrote:

Yes, but you can’t really hang a whole series on a slightly prissy computer.

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

TDK

Two more links for you

Godzilla has grown taller over the years

No he hasn't - it's a bit more complicated

David

Whatever Godzilla’s dimensions, the tickets are booked for Sunday morning. It’s good to start the day with an IMAX creature feature.

TDK

Chris Snowden proves you only live twice:

In this world, more people are claimed to die each year due to preventable causes (eg. smoking drinking obesity etc etc) than actual deaths

Nevertheless, the list of "preventable" deaths above totals 57.23 million deaths a year. That is a pretty amazing statistic when you consider that only 55 million people actually die every year. Are we to assume that all deaths are preventable and some people are dying twice?

Chris graciously ignores the alternate possibility that health campaigners are exaggerating.

Andi Lucas

Weren't they supposedly reworking 'Blake's Seven' at one point?

It was fairly recently revived as an audio series with original cast members (see link below) by Big Finish, the same people who have been making Doctor Who on audio with original cast members since before it returned to TV... and with much more intelligence and subtlety than teh TV version.

Sam

see link below

Is it a very tiny link?

Sam

Oh that link.

WTP

IDK TDK, suppose you step outside for a smoke and you're run over by a drunk driver who is texting then die on the operating table due to medical error? Some might chalk that up to suicide.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

WTP - Are you kidding me? She looks like a character from Ulysees 31 or one of those weird Japanese cartoons. You expect her to come out with something like "I AM FULLY PROGRAMMED... FOR LOVE".

Princess Aura, on the other hand, was the ideal woman and I thought about her a lot when I was a boy. She had that striking combination of pulchritudity and pure evil that you usually only find in persian cats.

Does anybody even remember what the female goodie in Flash Gordon was called? No. And that's because good girls are boring, unless they're Supergirl or Powergirl. Wonder Woman is both boring and stupid, because an invisible plane is the worst idea since somebody invented a boomerang made of poo.

Remember Deanna Troi? Ultimate sci fi good girl, and more tedious than a Songs of Praise marathon. Also, she had that weird affair with Worf, which was pretty disgusting when you think that his three-testicled meat-bat'leth probably looked like an armoured Lion Bar.

Nikw211 - :)

It didn't help that Blake's 7 shared its special effects department with 1970's Open University programmes. I've seen more convincing space battles on Button Moon.

WTP

Well, yeah. She's a slut. Like we don't have enough mutating STD's floating around on this planet without daddy-issues Jezebels putting out for godknowswhat, seducing our virile young men and infesting them with the latest fashions in galactic gonorrhea. You can't trust such wenches. As their looks being to fade, they always return to their evil ways.

theophrastus

Pity that the article on margarine had to descend into continental pretentiousness:

"the cultural theorist Roland Barthes wrote a critique of mass culture called “Operation Margarine.” In the end, he argued, the imitation is always embraced over the original, and precisely for the qualities it lacks."

Really? And the evidence for Barthes' claim is? Why not refer to Foucault, too?

Incidentally, I don't eat butter, being allergic to milk; but I've come to the conclusion that olive oil is better than either butter or margarine. Not the thick slimey olive oil on sale in UK supermarkets (which is largely Italian and probably adulterated with Tunisian oil) but the finest Spanish:
http://www.worldsbestoliveoils.org/worlds-best-olive-oils.html

Chris S.

That "empty" suit launched out of the ISS? Clear proof that one of the astronauts is a replicant. Can't have two copies of the same person returning to earth can we?

On a more realistic note, it does seem kind of chilling given the current "No more US astronauts to the ISS" declaration from Russia. "Hate to see something happen on your space walk Ed..."

Steve 2: Steveageddon

WTP - I am offended, upset, and fed up with your interstellar slut-shaming.

Princess A is a healthy liberated young lady rebelling against the Space Patriarchy using the feminine powers the Goddess gave her.

What next? Are you going to pick on Baron Harkonnen just because of his body size?

Will you trigger Odo just because he's a trans*person?

Will you splurt your foul hate speech against Frost Giants just because their planet is a dump?

It's time to end all slut-shaming, fat-shaming, mythological-creature-shaming, shame-shaming, shampagne, shamepoo and Seamus Milne.

WTP

S2:S, I don't splurt. Certainly not in public. That Walmart video was altered by communists trying to discredit me. As if you didn't already know that.

Kevin B

So I cheered when I saw the weekly ration of Friday Ephemera was up and then I noticed the large number of comments made already. Then I got to the Blake's Seven entry and thought ahh...

Incidentally Steve, none of my mum's recently divorced friends looked anything like that. And Servalan didn't smoke Silk Cut, she smoked St Moritz. And she only drank Blue Nun towards the end of the month.

Certainly, to this adolescent boy, she was a lot more glamourous and sophisticated than those other BBC female icons of the time like Barbara Windsor or Germaine Greer. Or even Joan Bakewell and Hattie Jaques.

Darleen

Nothing like a 3-hanky video to start my Friday ... (3rd link)

Rob

I liked the way the ship in Blake's Seven used to wobble up and down while allegedly flying through space. Turbulence, I imagine.

David

Turbulence, I imagine.

Apparently space is littered with giant yarn and fishing wire.

Patrick Brown

One for the Darwin Awards (is that still going?). Woman uploads a selfie to Facebook. While driving. Because she heard a song she liked on the radio. Careered across the central reservation and died in a head-on collision exactly one second later.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/selfie-crash-death-woman-dies-in-headon-collision-seconds-after-uploading-pictures-of-herself-and-happy-status-to-facebook-9293694.html

Patrick Brown

I've been coming to the conclusion lately that my tastes in women, for good and ill, are largely the result of having seen Nastassja Kinski in Cat People at an impressionable age. Early adolescence, Channel 4 red triangle films, portable TV snuck into bedroom.

If Cat People had a plot, I have no memory of it.

Henry

David

Though I suppose Servalan’s plunging necklines may have kept some viewers riveted

Heh. Servalan did things to my adolescent head. Terrible things.

Minnow

Yes Blake was a weak character, he never really made 'his' seven do anything

I don't know. One of the trademarks of the series were the furious arguments between the crewmembers, Blake was the "alpha male", which Avon rather resented. They both knew that if it came to the crunch, the rest of the crew would follow Blake.

Avon was always trying to get them to think for themselves (probably with his own selfish agenda), and pointed out that by destroying the Federation's central computer system (in the Star One episode) Blake would be endangering the lives of millions - he accused Blake of "wading in blood" and he was right, Blake was a fanatical idealist, willing to sacrifice other people for the greater good - like our beloved Hobsbawm.

Hardly a lightweight plot, and I do think Blake was decently complicated. I mean compared to Captain Kirk he and Avon are practically Shakespearean in depth. Well, I exaggerate slightly..

James

Those Blake's 7 "making of" videos are perhaps more entertaining than the original series.

As an adolescent I found Servalan particularly easy on the eye, and she scrubs up pretty well thirty years on.

Am I alone in preferring Travis Mk1 to Travis Mk2? In much the same way, I thought Roger Delgado's Master in Dr Who better than the bloke that came after him.

David

Servalan did things to my adolescent head. Terrible things.

Jacqueline Pearce seems to have enjoyed her role as the villainous space crumpet.


Those Blake’s 7 “making of” videos are perhaps more entertaining than the original series.

My thoughts too. I don’t remember the series fondly, or remember it much at all, but I found myself watching all three videos anyway. It’s rather like Doctor Who – I like the premise much more than the actual thing that gets broadcast, which I generally find aggravating.

JuliaM

Paul Darrow made something of a 'comeback' as Irascible Judge in the UK version of 'Law & Order'...

Bless!

JuliaM

"If Cat People had a plot, I have no memory of it."

Incest with Malcolm McDowell. That's pretty much the gist of it. Cracking Moroder soundtrack too.

But it's not hard to spot where the director replaced seriously-dangerous-rip-your-throat-out-black-leopard for tame-dyed-black-puma for closeups with the actors, figuring all cats were gr.. err, black in the darkness of a cinema.

present & correct

@Patrick Brown,
Natassja K in Cat People.. a 3-hanky affair for different reasons to @Darleen's 3-hanky video mentioned above!

dicentra

Avon was always trying to get them to think for themselves (probably with his own selfish agenda)

Ain't that always the way? When the tyrant and his pernicious doctrines have no power, they call for tolerance and open-mindedness.

Then when they gain power, there will be NO tolerance and NO dissent.

As explained by Calvin & Muad'Dib.

dicentra

The comment section to this post is a performative of my last.

First is the specious argument that because the organization is private — and is not violating the First Amendment — what's your beef?

Second is the "speech has consequences, bitchez" argument, in support of mob rule.

Third is a new favorite of mine. Let's call it "Heads I win, tails you're racist."

Dave in Maryland
When exactly did Beale/Day declare himself to be Hispanic? Because it's news to me.

cargosquid
He's mentioned it quite a few times. Usually when he's declared to be a racist.

Dave in Maryland
So he was content to have everyone think he was Caucasian till it was advantageous to come out (so to speak) as Hispanic?

They do this to @yesnicksearcy almost every day. He adopted a black kid out of foster care, a fact he points out when being called racist. Immediately his accuser pivots to "how disgusting that you use your kid as a shield."

I don't know how these people live with themselves. But then, sociopaths always find a way, don't they?

David

As explained by Calvin & Muad’Dib.

Heh. Bingo.

They do this to @yesnicksearcy almost every day.

Twitter makes this place look upmarket.

Sam

Twitter makes this place look upmarket.

I always comb my hair before reading this blog.

David

I always comb my hair before reading this blog.

I like to think this place attracts a better class of punter.

ac1

I rather enjoyed reading the Blake's 7 transcripts.

http://www.lysator.liu.se/~calle/b7list/b7scripts/index.html

I think a remake would be hard to Foxtrot Up, but then I remembered how appalling BSG's last series was.

Jason Bontrager

And here I thought the Periodic Table of Storytelling would be the Periodical Table of Awesoments:-).

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