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Discussion in 'Blake's 7' started by Doctor Omega, Feb 5, 2017.
Do you want the short answer or the long answer?
Short answer... No.
Long answer... Fuck no!
With VIla in charge though, they would never have attacked Control..
They would never have gone to Terminal.....
They would never have gone to Gauda Prime.
Blake and Avon were just reckless and, ultimately, self destructive idiots in comparison.
Admittedly, four seasons of Vila running away and not bothering the Federation at all might not have garnered the same cult following, but think how many lives could have been saved.
Whilst you make some interesting points, I still feel compelled to ask...
Do you want the short answer or the long one?
In regard to this particular question I'd definitely go with the long one.
Did anyone else read "Afterlife"?
If so, what did you think?
Unfortunately, yes. I read it about 30 years ago - or more...
A computer called Cora? A spaceship called Blake's 7?
And what was the point of bringing Tarrant back for 10 pages, just to kill him off - again?
I want one!!!!!
You can have that one.
I want a full size version.
Before Big Finish, there was........
And there was an audio sequel to the final episode......
Has anyone else read these books (on kindle only)?
Written by the same authors as the Adventures with the Wife in Space, a fan-husband and non-fan wife settle down to watch and comment on every Blake's 7 episode....
LAST EPISODE SPOILERS IN FOLLOWING CLIP!!!!
And that's about as polite as I think I can keep it.
The three Blake's 7 annuals.....
A Paul Darrow interview that was only available on the UK VHS tapes of Children of Auron/Rumours of Death - and that was only on the copies of that tape sold by Woolworths store.................
Mission of Mercy
From Blake's 7 Magazine, issue 1: October 1981.
Never republished comic strip set during season 4.
Mission of Mercy
‘Returning to the planet Xenon, the freighter, Scorpio, developed a serious engine malfunction. While sheltering from Federation scanners in the middle of an asteroid belt, Tarrant and Dayna effect emergency repairs.’
Scorpio is hiding in an asteroid belt when three Federation ships spot it. A quick firefight later, and Scorpio defeats two of the ships; the commander of the other retreats. Back at the Security Force’s Headquarters, Servalan punishes the commander for letting the Scorpio escape. Spotting Professor Ensor’s name on a cargo transfer sheet, she hatches a plan to trap Avon and the crew. Later, the Scorpio responds to a distress call, and is forced to bring a small ship on board to stop it being dragged down to a fatal crash with a planet. Once the ship is onboard, its occupant emerges: a killer robotoid invented by Professor Ensor and programmed by Servalan to kill our heroes …
The first thing to note is that it’s Season D.
Avon gets to shout ‘Battle Stations!’ again, like he likes to.
This first issue opens exactly the same way the first episode of Firefly does, with a Federation ship spotting the lead ship and assuming it is smuggling contraband. Proof that Joss Whedon owns a full run of this comic, and reads them regularly.
The artwork by the mysterious ‘Kennedy’ (it’s Ian, not Cam) is fine, with a nice painted feel to it. Likenesses are mostly excellent, but there’s clearly some issues with trying to fit all of the Scorpio crew into the same frame…
The Scorpio flight deck looks barely like the one we’re familiar with. It has a big main screen at the front.
There are several odd moments where dialogue is spoken by the wrong characters. Servalan and a Mutoid get their dialogue swapped on page 3; on page 5 one of Orac’s lines of dialogue is coming from Tarrant and one of Tarrant comes from Dayna; further down this page a voice from Scorpio appears to come from the wrong spaceship; and again with Orac’s dialogue on page 9! The letterer should be shot. Hard.
Servalan’s Mutoids have bobbed hair.
The Scorpio shots look beautiful. We’d go so far as to say the space scenes are better here than in the actual television series.
Servalan is referred to only as ‘Commissioner’ by her staff, though Orac refers to her by name later.
This is the only story where we see Scorpio’s cargo bay doors open, as it snatches a ship from space (we think the writer had the opening Star Destroyer / Blockade Runner sequence of Star Wars in mind, rather than that bit in Time Squad).
Characterisation is generally quite good – Slave is humble, Avon’s all cynical, Vila’s a coward. But there are a few dodgy moments – see Notable Lines below.
Dayna and Soolin are fairly nondescript, however.
Interestingly, Slave is uniquely played as if he comprises the whole Scorpio ship – when another ship bumps him as it enters the cargo bay, Slave feels pain.
The robotoid was an earlier invention of Professor Ensor, Orac’s creator.
Avon: ‘By the stars that robotoid’s a fearsome creature! Can nothing stop it?’
Slave: ‘Er, it would please me, Master to do your bidding… but after that horrible machine rampaging through me, Time Distort Three is all I can muster. I am sorry… Don’t punish me!’
Avon: ‘You’ll have to do better, Slave, or you will get a kick from me! Servalan knows where we are so we’re sitting targets in this sector! Move… or else!’
A good start to the run! If nothing else, despite rampaging robots, terms like ‘the star fleet’ and big space battles, this feels like Blakes 7. The story itself does seem a little rushed though, a series of set pieces rather than a plot. Several lettering mistakes with dialogue being spoken by the wrong characters don’t help. The whole thing could have done with the extra polish a few days’ more work would have given it.
Autona: Planet of Lies
From issue 2 (Nov 1981)
Autona… Planet of Lies!
‘Damaged in an enounter with Federation ships, the Scorpio is established in a holding orbit round ‘Autona’, a remote perimeter planet…’
A damaged Scorpio lands on the planet Autona, where he crw are taken to a lush underground complex inhabited by Wogan, Master of Autona and his two female assistants. Vila wants only to enjoy the company, but Avon is more suspicious. As the crew leave following a much-needed rest, Avon asks why Vila doesn’t want a drink to celebrate and him in the face. Vila has been replaced by an android by Wogan, Master of Autona, who seeks to escape the planet and sell his android creations to the Federation in exchange for a free pardon…
The master of Autona is called Wogan. Really. Wogan. Presumably Terry.
Wogan, Master of Autona appears to be modelled on Vincent Price.
More nice Scorpio shots here. The mysterious ‘Kennedy’ is clearly enjoying himself.
Avon realises that Vila is an android and shoots him in the head, purely because Vila doesn’t want a drink. At least Avon has faith in Vila’s alcoholicism.
The Vila android does give himself away a little, as he’s the one handing out the drinks. Why not just, y’know, not?
The plot involves Avon going to rescue Vila, which the creators obviously realise he probably wouldn’t, so a hasty bit of Avon dialogue is added: ‘For two pins I’d leave Vila where he is… but his skills might come in handy one day! Besides… I don’t like being used by anyone!’ Whatever.
The sight of the Vila android without a face is actually quite shocking.
Dayna and Soolin get nothing to do. At all.
The androids Wogan, Master of Autona keeps on his planet are all pretty girls. This is definitely in keeping with ethos of the series. Avon won’t leave Vila alone with them.
In a brilliant ending, Wogan, Master of Autona pours out his backstory, saying he was dumped on Autona by Federation guards, and only wanted to escape his endless misery alone on the planet. Avon responds by shoving him out of the Scorpio and flying off.
Not related to the comic, but in this issue of the B7 magazine, Paul Darrow lists his favourite dramatic actor as Marlon Brando, his favourite comedy actor as Donald Duck, and his favourite television programme as The Magic Roundabout. We think these three facts explain his performance.
Tarrant: ‘G… Good grief! Wires and things! Th… that’s not Vila.’
Vila: ‘Flippin’ androids!’
‘I’ll never drink with you again Vila! Just keep away from me! You’re double trouble!’
A standard run-of-the-mill Blakes 7 story. Again, very much in the style of the series, just in the style of those ropey episodes you always skip over when you watch your DVD boxsets. We’ve skipped over some of them many times over. The best thing is the ending, with Wogan, Master of Autona being honest and serious and Avon basically telling him to piss off.
There is no fucking way that Avon ever said this - or even thought this. Not in this universe or in any other.
From issue 3 (Dec 1981)
‘Tension mounted as the two ships closed…’
Servalan chases a renegade, Pangal, under sentence of death for the crime of knowing her history. Pangal survives in an escape capsule as his ship is destroyed. Falling down to Xenon, the capsule is spotted by Avon, who takes Pangal back to Xenon base when he reveals he is also an enemy of Servalan. But Pangal has a plan to trade Avon and the crew in for his freedom…
Servalan is still Commissioner Sleer. Pangal is sentenced to death for knowing her true identity.
The big battle at the start takes place above Xenon. Servalan takes part personally, without realising how close she is to Avon’s base
Tarrant comments on how paranoid Avon is becoming. They’re really trying hard with the characterisations here.
A big Terry Nation-esque creature rears out of a lake (of mutations) on Xenon and tries to eat Pangal.
Vila whacks Pangal over the head with Orac.
This artist (the mysterious Kennedy…) loves drawing Scorpio.
Pangal’s plan of handing the Scorpio crew over to the Federation in exchange for a free pardon was done with Terry Wogan in the previous issue.
There’s a big circular control console in Xenon base. It looks like a fat TARDIS interior.
Zen seems to be living in the Xenon base control room, judging by one of the panels behind Soolin. It’s round with little squares on it, like Zen was.
Avon’s at his best again. He kills the traitorous Pangal by teleporting him over to Servalan’s ship with a half-repaired teleport machine. Pangal materialises in a glowing mess and dies.
Though Avon does have a chance to destroy Servalan’s ship with her onboard, and lets her go, even though she knows Scorpio is based on Xenon.
We’d love it if Soolin or Dayna got something to do.
Vila: ‘You must be off your galactic trolley, Avon!’
Vila: ‘Uh? What’s he playing at? It’s not death or glory time again, is it?’
We love the caption, ‘As ever, Avon was right…’
‘RAARRG’ – the roar an angry snake-like lake mutation makes when you shoot it.
‘He was prepared to exchange us for his life. Even for a renegade… that price was too high. He deserved what he got. But Tarrant really killed him. He failed to repair the teleporter in time.’
Pangal is a bit of a non-entity, but it’s nice to see Servalan got a proper bit of action, shooting his ship down, planning to double-cross him, and then being let off when Avon has her at his mercy. Avon and Vila still get all the best stuff though.
From issue 4 (Jan 1982)
‘Holding stationary orbit behind the moon of Cignus 3 Scorpio is rigged for silent operations. On the flight deck is a tension which could be cut with a knife…’
Scorpio intercepts a battle fleet bound for a colonising mission on Xenon. Forced to crash land on the planet Cignus 3 in the ensuing battle, Avon and Tarrant attempt to repair the ship while Vila and Soolin investigate some smoke on the horizon. One of the Federation ships has crashed too, and Vila and Soolin are taken prisoner by Federation guards. Breaking free of their cell as the ship takes off, they discover the mission was not one of colonisation, but a biological attack on five possibly terrorist planets, including Xenon. Relaying the information back to the Scorpio, the pair are trapped on the cruiser as Avon orders it destroyed… and the Scorpio teleport isn’t working…
Vila mentions Roy Orbison’s song ‘You Got It’ at one point.
More space battles – the mysterious writer clearly knows what ‘Kennedy’ the artist likes doing.
Scorpio crashes on a planet, much like it does in TV’s Blake.
There are some oddly-shaped speech bubbles in this issue. One of them’s shaped like a dog’s kidney.
The Federation’s secret operation dossier on the five planets charmingly has the words ‘FEDERATION SECRET OPERATION FIVE PLANETS’ on the cover.
Yeah! Proper Terry Nation plot on display here. The Federation are planning to kill all life on Xenon by spraying the planet with a ‘mixture of radiation and biological agents’.
Soolin gets a meaty bit of tale here, teaming up with Vila and getting immediately captured by the Feds. They make a great team, as Vila’s cowardice and Soolin’s bravery is a nice reversal of what you might expect.
Dayna gets a line too.
Avon: ‘ This is not a democracy, Tarrant! We attack!’
Vila: ‘Avon’s finally killed us! I always knew he would…!’
‘SHTAAANG!’ – the sound of a plasma bolt hitting a spaceship.
‘ZAANG!’ – the noise made when a battle cruiser rams a Wanderer-class planet-hopper head on.
Tarrant: ‘I misjudged you Avon. You’re not as heartless as I thought.’
Avon: ‘Don’t you believe it, Tarrant set course for Xenon!’
We’re really enjoying this comic, genuinely! The artwork’s really quite good for a cheap telly spin-off and it all feels quite exciting. The likenesses of Avon and Vila continue to be handled well. This story’s another decent little action yarn of the Scorpio crew facing off against some faceless Federation ciphers. A bit similar in feel to previous episodes though, and we hope something different happens soon.
They really should have flipped that shot of the Scorpio crashing from right-to-left though.
This was an Open University Course that the BBC broadcast many years ago about the themes in Blake's 7 and Poldark.
Open University Analysis of Blake's 7: