Thursday, March 20, 2014


The British like to shit on their own television programming, certainly any show which tries to do Big American SF television with "BBC budgets". (The new Doctor Who suffers much, much less greatly because it has access to the latest wonderful digital visual effects technologies. And a free orchestra.)

Which brings me to this fine BBC4 half-hour television documentary, The Cult of... Blake's 7. (The Smight Ellipses are applied to the title because there were a few other tributes in the look-back series: ... Survivors; ... Doomwatch, are two.) The Brits love to play down the seriousness of their own dramatic science-fiction television programs by slipping in key phrases like "looks like crap", and "typical British cheapness". I've seen a few docs of this type and it's amazing how negativity pervades the material, especially through the narrator and his/her scripting. It's not all downer; there is no denying the covered series' attributes and cult appeal, and production people, critcs, and actors do spread praise, but these little overviews are not for the type of fan who takes the object of their basement affections with the utmost seriousness. (Do British basements have 'simulated wood' wall-panelling? That would give them even more kinship with their North American brothers.)

Nothing changes the fact that some of us think that Blake's 7 is, by any weight and distance of measure, a standout television series -- even if it was produced way back in the years of 1977-1981. I hardly consider myself a fanatic -- I have only really seen the first series -- but my own negativity with the typical SF television series, especially the ones generated in the last few years (hello Firefly and Battlestar Galactica; and all your annoying little brothers and sisters), only makes me appreciate the standouts from the past even more.

I am more than casually interested in special visual effects. But, and it's a big one: I don't give a rat's arse about special visual effects; if you get my drift. Ha, ha. Yeah, we get it. You can do anything your geeky heart desires, now. Tell me a genuinely interesting story; not boring crap featuring two-dimensional space characters sliding down arcs of turgid yakking. Pass me the Bromo-Fucking-Seltzer.

(Sorry, I've been drinking the wrong brand of coffee.)

Note: I've decided to go on a bit of a Blake's 7 stream with this blog after seeing the amount of hits that my posting on actor Paul Darrow has gotten. That piece is here: "Put me down."

Yeah, we'll put you down all right...

The Cult of... Blake's 7

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