criminals in space sounds good... as long as it's not LEXX.
July 14, 2011 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Would I like "Blake's 7"? Where should I start watching?

I like Doctor Who (old and new), Firefly, Red Dwarf, classic Trek, Star Wars. Didn't care for new Trek, Farscape, Stargate, BSG/Caprica. Outright disliked Babylon 5 and Lexx. Would I like "Blake's 7"? And what's the best place to start watching, to get 'hooked'?
posted by The otter lady to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Start at the start... you need to get a bit of an idea of how they come together.

(of all the things you've mentioned, Blake's 7 is most like old Doctor Who)
posted by pompomtom at 4:35 PM on July 14, 2011

Well, I LOVE Blake's 7, and I'm also a big Dr. Who fan (classic and, to a slightly lesser extent, NuWho). I agree with pompomtom that it's most like classic Who (with maybe ever so slightly better special effects). It's a little on the cheesy side, as things were from that time period. I really liked the sort of dystopian vibe, it's a bit like Firefly (and Farscape) in that regard.

Plus, puffy sleeves. Lots and lots of puffy sleeves.

You should start at the beginning, cause really, there's not that much of Blake's 7 to go around.

Where are you located? I've not been able to find the DVDs in the US. Back when I lived in Austin there was an awesome video store with the whole run on VHS, but I've not seen it anywhere since, except the Region 2 import DVDs on Amazon (which the price seems to have dropped on...ooooh).
posted by DiscourseMarker at 4:40 PM on July 14, 2011

Best answer: I am probably MeFi's greatest Blake's 7 booster (and will fight anyone for the title who disputes this claim). I watched the show religiously as a child, bought fan fiction at conventions, and watched the entire series again about two years ago. I still have a die-cast Corgi Liberator from when I was a tyke.

I think it's essential to start at the very beginning; this is not like Dr. Who where you can just watch a five-episode serial and maybe it doesn't matter whether it's a Romana episode vs. an episode with Rose. Blake's 7 stands as an entire arc, though individual episodes can be amusing on their own. More than anything, the show is about the characters, and particularly about Blake, Avon, and Villa--and you won't be able to follow their development if you jump around. The other characters are great, too--but those three are the core.

Of course, the effects are terrible, some of the acting is horribly hammy, and episodes can be hit or miss. But, if you make it all the way to the end, I think there's a great payoff.

Please start watching the show now, and I will wait here to discuss the ending with you. Take your time, I'll be here.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:45 PM on July 14, 2011 [10 favorites]

>But, if you make it all the way to the end, I think there's a great payoff.

Yeah, I strongly agree.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:05 PM on July 14, 2011

Where can you watch Blake's 7? Netflix doesn't seem to have it. I remember it from when I was a kid, and even then I could see the effects were terrible but it was strangely addictive.
posted by Dragonness at 5:41 PM on July 14, 2011

Response by poster: I'm just hunting it down in little bits on YouTube; like this:
posted by The otter lady at 6:12 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

This slightly repackaged "redux" version is kinda ghastly. It's weird to have some updated graphics, and still have the "steel" bulkheads of the spaceships sway when the characters open and close doors. If you can, search out the unadulterated original.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:20 PM on July 14, 2011

HOw can you tell if the DVDs are the "redux" version?
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:27 PM on July 14, 2011

I dunno--I'm just going by the youtube videos. Maybe it's just a fan thing. Awful.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:43 PM on July 14, 2011

I never got beyond a few episodes but there's this great comment I read once (may have been from here), "there wasn't always a Blake and there weren't always seven."
posted by who squared at 7:48 PM on July 14, 2011

Of course, the effects are terrible

No, the effects are theatrical rather than pseudo-realistic. It really is all about the characters.
posted by flabdablet at 9:53 PM on July 14, 2011

There were mostly seven, so long as you included the computers. And blake wasn't that necessary since he was pretty crap, it's Avon that steals the show.
posted by biffa at 1:50 AM on July 15, 2011

Off topic, but seeing Paul Darrow (who played Avon) as Macbeth at the Liverpool Empire in about 1993 was one of the funniest evenings of my life.
When shall we three meet again?
Standard-by-seven to Dunsinane!
posted by lapsangsouchong at 3:13 AM on July 15, 2011

Just n-thing that if you like classic Doctor Who and can overlook the production values then definitely give Blake's 7 a try. It's not like they are forty years of episodes to go through.

I always suggest going in order, but in this case doubly so. And don't read too much about it, you don't want the ending spoiled.
posted by beowulf573 at 4:51 AM on July 15, 2011

Watch them in order, but do make sure to stick it out to the second series. The first series is frustratingly variable in tone from blackly serious to silly camp depending on the episode, but by the second series it hits its stride with its own unique blend of dark kitsch space panto.

I have to say though, it is literally the cheapest looking of any sci-fi series, and I don't mean cheap like Space 1999 or original Star Trek. It's not just that the sets are wobbly and the space ships are clearly made out of washing up bottles. It also has that horrible video look, with some appalling lighting, which really bring out the dodgy props and scenary. Not to mention clearly flubbed lines and missed cues from the actors. Personally that's all part of the appeal, but it's not for everyone.

Also, if you didn't like Farscape, you might not like Blakes 7, given that Farscape is in many ways a remake of the earlier series (with added muppets).
posted by iivix at 6:54 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, if you didn't like Farscape, you might not like Blakes 7, given that Farscape is in many ways a remake of the earlier series (with added muppets).

I don't think it's actually a deal breaker, having seen Farscape. While the basic premise of Farscape is similar, the characters are not quite as interesting (there is no Avon on Farscape, and B7 is worth it for Avon alone, IMO), and Farscape's got that annoying "I'm just trying to get home" thing that made ST:Voyager so annoying.

Also, this thread has finally sent me over the edge and I've just ordered the DVDs from the UK.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 12:07 PM on July 15, 2011

>you might not like Blakes 7, given that Farscape is in many ways a remake of the earlier series

Farscape has a number of very mildly interesting characters, and from what I saw, balanced the characters, their drives, and their screentime fairly well.

Blake's 7, on the other hand, has a single interesting character, off whom the rest play. It, too, is an ensemble piece... but only on paper.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:05 PM on July 15, 2011

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