Review BLAKE'S 7: THE WAY BACK - Episode 01

Discussion in 'Blake's 7' started by Doctor Omega, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Cloister56

    Cloister56 Member: Rank 2

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    That did get me thinking. Tel seems confident that with enough evidence it will "blow the lid of the whole thing". That would seem to suggest that he at least believes there is justice to be found and that the whole system isn't corrupt.
    It isn't clear at this point as Mad-Pac says if this is a truly evil regime to its core or a few people abusing power. If it is the second then Tel's reaction seems realistic. If it is the first is he naive or have things gotten much worse quite recently.

    It makes me think about how in Star Wars, Grand Moff Tarkin mentions that the Emperor has disbanded the senate, prompting one of the officers present to question how control will be maintained without the bureaucracy. A government can get away with a lot of evil if it citizens believe the facade that democracy is in place and their elected leaders are working on their behalf. I wonder where the Federation is on this spectrum.
     
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  2. Mad-Pac

    Mad-Pac Contributor

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    Yep, I better! :emoji_head_bandage: Well, that's one of the good things about getting so immersed in communities of a foreign language and culture as I'm doing, despite the inevitable risk of cultural shock. Even when the temperature gets inconveniently high it's always a good experience to learn how the subtleties of verbal communication work. I'll try and keep that "strains and sprains" whatever in mind in the future.
     
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  3. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Contributor

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    As Yoda would say.... "FACE ANT-MAC YOU MUST!"

    Don't end up like Luke Skywalker at the end of Empire! Stay on your toes, buddy! Or you'll be typing your reviews with only one hand!

    Metaphorically, that is! :emoji_confused::emoji_head_bandage:
     
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  4. ant-mac

    ant-mac Administrator
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    Shame.
    Okay.
     
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  5. The Seeker

    The Seeker Member: Rank 5

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    At this point it’s impossible to know. But I think he’s naive, because he never thought the fellow with all the information would rat him out. That points to a more systematic type of repression.
     
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  6. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    There are also some who just think their audience are morons. :emoji_relaxed:
     
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  7. Mad-Pac

    Mad-Pac Contributor

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    So true, but I wonder how much of that is the producers' fault.
     
  8. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    It will be interesting to see how that theme develops over the series. Assuming it does of course. Way too many TV shows introduce fascinating concepts or potential plots and then just ignore them. :emoji_angry:
     
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  9. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    That's almost certainly the case most of the time. I've seen a few interviews with writers over the years where they tell stories about how they were forced to "dumb things down" for the audience. And I guess there's a little bit of logic in that the producers want to appeal to the widest possible audience, including morons. But, as I see it, there are plenty of shows available for morons to watch (*cough*realityTV*cough*). Lets have something for the intelligent viewers to enjoy :emoji_relaxed:
     
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  10. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    As a fellow non USAian, I think that this is true. The US Civil War seems to have largely been conflated, in many people's minds, into a pro-slave/anti-slave conflict, where, as far as I can tell, it was about a far wider range of issues, with slavery not really the main consideration, but that issue became important because the economic status of the South was built on slavery far more than the North. In fact, I've seen a quote attributed to Lincoln that if there was a way to end the conflict without changing the status of slavery he'd take it. I'm not sure if that's correctly attributed or not but it does line up with what I've read of the general thinking of the era.
     
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  11. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    I just hope that this doesn't result in some people racing ahead. Part of what I'm looking forward to with this group is the discussion of individual episodes and the developing story. If some people are several episodes ahead conversations may become stilted or influenced by things people have seen in future episodes.
     
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  12. michaellevenson

    michaellevenson Member: Rank 5

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    Yes I hope that doesn't happen too. If we stick to the rule that in each thread we talk about that particular episode or anything gleaned from earlier episodes only we should be ok.
    I'm really glad so far no one had trashed the FX of the show. The three elements to fx, sets, costumes, and space scenes all come under scrutiny and by and large the sets and costumes look good. The model for The London ship was ok too. FX never particularly bother me so long as it doesn't destroy belief in the show by being so appallingly bad . Anyone who knows Dr Who 70's style will know what to expect here with regard to fx, it ain't Star Wars but so what.
     
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  13. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    Well, its about what you'd expect from a BBC TV show of that era. Sure the effects aren't great by today's standards, or movie standards of that time period, or US TV standards of that period. But, similar to Doctor Who of that era, given what the production team had to work with (in terms of both budget and time) they did a pretty good job and I've certainly seen worse. After all its not quite at Justice League Superman's moustache levels of bad. :emoji_grinning:
     
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  14. Brimfin

    Brimfin Member: Rank 2

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    This was my first time using my TV’s Smartcast feature to watch a show on YouTube, instead of on my computer. While it’s nice to be able to watch a YouTube video on the TV, I was frustrated that I could not go backward or even start over again after it took a few minutes to get the sound level right; I couldn’t even see how much of the show was left when I would pause it. I thought of starting my review by saying, “Well that was a frustrating aggravating way to spend 48 minutes; I hope it gets better later,” and then continuing, “But enough about my first efforts with Smartcast; let’s talk about the show.”

    Anyway, I’m brand new to the show and didn’t even read many of the posts of all of you discussing it, as I like to be surprised. This episode certainly didn’t fail to do that. We began with an introduction to our hero as a rather ordinary-seeming fellow being persuaded by two friends to leave his enclosed city to attend a secret meeting “outside.” He meets a secret organization trying to rally against the tyrannical government known as “the Federation.” (I couldn’t help but be amused by the irony that “The Federation” was the benevolent force in the STAR TREK series, and also that the symbol under the title BLAKE’S 7 looked like a sideways version of the insignias worn on the STAR TREK uniforms.) When they ask the man if he remembers someone named Blake who led an attempted insurrection it was only then I really suspected that he was the very Blake they were discussing. Sure enough, he is told of his capture and subsequent brainwashing and begins to remember some of it.

    I begin to wonder if some of these people will be part of his “7”. But that is not to be. In the first major “surprise” of the story, futuristic police arrive on the scene. Even though the leader tells him they will surrender peacefully, they instead open fire and slaughter all of them. Blake alone is spared because the Federation fears he would become a martyr for the cause if killed. They try to convince him that he imagined it all while they plot another means to discredit him. Remembering that old principle that if you want to destroy someone’s reputation make them out to be a racist or a child molester, they plant false memories in children of being sexually assaulted by Blake. He is taken to court and quickly convicted and sentenced to a penal colony where new arrivals are often executed, if I heard correctly. Oddly enough, as I watched the trial I was reminded of an episode of LOST IN SPACE where a law enforcement officer declared that they only had time for an “instant trial.” A talking judge’s head appeared on a large display. The officer and the defendants entered data into the machine and it made a summary judgment. The concept was similar here albeit a little more sophisticated with computerized balls of data entered into the system before a verdict was rendered.

    After the sentencing, the rest of the episode is really a macguffin of sorts. Blake’s lawyer gets suspicious about his case and investigates. He finds out what we already know – that Blake was framed. He gets evidence and even footage of the dead bodies from the massacre, that were conveniently still lying around rather than having been taken away and burned or something. He tries to arrange for Blake to be removed from the transport ship, but he’s not successful. And at the end of the story, both he and his helping hand wife are shown murdered. In short, the events keeps you occupied but they ultimately go nowhere – except that he did reveal to Blake for sure that he was set up.

    While on the transport, Blake meets some other people – one a thief, one a powerful woman. I suspect that they and the other ragtag members of the ship will be the rest of his “7”. (And please do not tell me if I am right or not when I speculate like this. I want to be surprised one way or another. I don’t want someone to respond, “Yes, they will be his 7, and the girl will become his girlfriend whom he’ll marry in Season 3 and...” or “No, they will get massacred like the first group in next week’s show.” Thank you for your understanding.)

    The end of the episode could also be like the end of a bleak movie. The attempted heroes are killed, and the traitor/spy of the resistance comments that a transporter accident will be forthcoming. The end. The bad guys win. But instead, as they pull away from the planet, Blake is told that’s the last he’ll ever see of it, but he says with hope and firmness, “No, I’m coming back.”

    Overall, an interesting pilot episode. Some of the sets – particularly the courtroom – suffer from a scarcity of props or even walls. But a low budget is acceptable to me when the storylines are imaginative; that’s what I liked about the original DOCTOR WHO. I’ll give this episode an 8 out of 10.
     
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    #54 Brimfin, Feb 13, 2018 at 3:44 AM
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018 at 3:50 AM
  15. michaellevenson

    michaellevenson Member: Rank 5

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    Lovely review Brimfin , yes I remember you like 70's Dr Who, this was made by the same team more or less, but with even lower budget, so like you I can forgive cheap fx if the story is good.
    We're told it was Blake' s relatives that were massacred on arrival, and not at a prison, but just their new home in the "outer worlds".
    Like North Korea today, you not just get rid of the troublemaker, but all their relatives. The implanting of rape memories into children is horrific and this tells us that in B7 the unified Earth administration is the result of the worst traits of humanity exemplified as compared to Star Trek's kindly federation. Obviously the latter we hope will come about, fortunately (probably) we'll never know.
     
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  16. ant-mac

    ant-mac Administrator
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    I'm glad you enjoyed the first episode of BLAKE'S 7.

    Sorry to hear of your "technical" difficulties. When I have problems with technology, I have a habit of hitting it until it either works or it doesn't. It can be an expensive habit, but it's always satisfying.

    It's also nice to see another original Whovian around the place.
     
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  17. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 5
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    Yeah that bothered me too. Even at the extremely fast past that the legal case seemed to operate, there should have been time for this to be cleared up. I wonder if it says something about the arrogance of the government (or those involved in the conspiracy) that they honestly thought no one would find the evidence? Or possibly it's just lazy writing? Who knows?

    If I recall correctly, I remember reading that Blake's 7 was often made using recycled Doctor Who sets and props and costumes.
     
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  18. ant-mac

    ant-mac Administrator
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    And vice versa... :emoji_wink:
     
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  19. chainsaw_metal1

    chainsaw_metal1 Member: Rank 8

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    Both true and false. There was a large number of abolitionists at the time who were trying to end slavery in the south by any means necessary. There were also business owners in the north who were upset that they had to pay wages to workers when there were those in the south who were making a large amount of money on the backs of slaves. The government knew they had two choices - end slavery completely and cause a rift in the nation, or keep going as we were, and allow the states with slavery still instated to keep on, but not allow it to spread to the territories, which was balked at by slave owners wishing to travel west. And yes, Lincoln did, indeed, state that he would have allowed it to continue if it it would end the war.

    There are some who will also insist that the Civil War was fought not over slavery, but over state's rights. This is in essence true, but they brush over the fact that the rights being fought over were the rights to own other human beings. Which makes those people assholes.

    Also, people will often bring up Lincoln enacting the draft, and that the rich were able to buy their way out of the draft. And while this is true, again, they miss the point that it was the rich who owned slaves, and the rich certainly weren't fighting for the cause. It was the poor, who never owned slaves, but believed that in such a society, they, too, could achieve that status. Oh, to dream of someday being rich enough to own other humans to do your work for you, so that you can make even more money. Again, assholes.

    Okay, enough of my backward country, and its stain on history, and how I'm part Native American, and we know how our country continues to treat my people. Fuckwits.

    Seeing :The Way Back" for the first time in far too many years, I was delighted in just how good it is. Sure, we can go on for hours about budget and effects and everything else, but dammit, this is a solid story. We are introduced to Roj Blake, a one-time revolutionary who was brainwashed into believing that he was led astray and became a model citizen. Terry Nation liked to take a lot of credit for many things, but he had some really great ideas, and like Roddenberry and Lucas, he created a brilliant futuristic story. The plot may seem to new audiences as somewhat cliche or derivative, but only because so much that has come since has been informed by this series. An innocent man is framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is sent away by a government who suppresses free thought and doesn't want him to be looked at as a martyr for any cause other than their own. Also, Blake isn't a classical hero, but comes off as an every man, who simply winds up in that "wrong place, wrong time" situation. He's charismatic enough to like, but not overly flashy or showboaty (is that a word? Screw it, it is now.). It is still as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. I am certainly looking forward to episode 2.

    Oh yeah, my rating. Like others, I always go x/5. So to adjust I will say it was a solid 9/10. Brilliant script, good dialogue that keeps the story moving with no extemporaneous exposition (say that five times fast after a six pack of lager), and it gives us just enough to want to move forward without giving us a two-hour premiere that bogs us down in long paragraphs of backstory.
     
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    #59 chainsaw_metal1, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:39 PM
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018 at 10:58 PM
  20. chainsaw_metal1

    chainsaw_metal1 Member: Rank 8

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    While this isn't a new concept by any means, it is intriguing that only a year before that, we saw something similar with the Stormtroopers in Star Wars. Another thing that does is it creates a lack of sympathy for characters like that, so when you see them die, you feel nothing for them, other than feeling that the bad guy got his comeuppances.
     
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