June 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Blake’s 7 “Time Squad”

Blake gets the final member of his seven as he gets his first strike against the Federation.

I don’t know what it is about British sci-fi from this period, but it can somehow be both exciting and deliberately paced.  This is the fourth of 13 episodes for the first season, and only now has the entire seven-member party been assembled.  At the same time, there’s some good action and suspense on display despite the no doubt low budget of the series as a whole.

I mean, look at what happens here in brief:  Blake decides to attack a communication hub on another world.  There’s a pod of some kind with aliens in suspended animation, and alien plant life on the planet the crew visits that, we’re told, is possibly carnivorous and sentient.  Blake and his crew are armed with future weapons.  How does the show depict these things?

Well, like Star Trek, all involved know a teleportation system is a good way to avoid showing ships coming in for landings even as the models look basically like models.  Greenscreens show backgrounds as needed.  A color filter suggests the alien world is more alien.  The fancy weapons shoot invisible beams.  The communication hub looks like the same sort of power plant or closed factory that Doctor Who would likewise use to suggests everything from UNIT bases to alien fortresses.  What aliens we have seen so far are basically humans with maybe some odd wardrobes, bushy facial hair, colorful make-up and little else.  And teleportation is a fairly easy trick to pull off with a TV camera.

And ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  The episode here has Blake taking Vila and Avon down to find some resistance fighters and blow up the communications station.  Meanwhile, after finding a weird pod with a distress call yields some alien men in some sort of cryogenic sleep, Jenna and Gan need to take care of those things when they wake up silent and murderous.

That actually leads to a bit of clever background for Gan.  He went to the penal colony for murder of a guard.  The guard was armed, Gan wasn’t, and the guard had just killed Gan’s wife.  Now, Gan tells Jenna cryptically he can’t be alone, and there’s a reason for that when he goes to look into the mysterious aliens:  a chip was implanted in his head to prevent him from ever using lethal force again.  Not even in defense of himself or others.  For all of Gan’s physical strength, he’s a bit useless here, forcing Jenna to have to do more to save the day while he just gets severely injured.

As for the planetary mission, Blake finds Cally, the only survivor of the freedom fighters.  She’s a telepath of some kind from the planet Auron, meaning she can speak telepathically or verbally to the others, but she can’t only read the minds of her own kind, and she knows how to fight.  That means she’ll end up joining Blake’s crew, leading the men to the comm station where Vila can easily pick the locks and Avon can just as easily program the computer system to self-destruct.  No more comm system as long as Gan or Jenna can beam the foursome back to the Liberator, and by then, that weird pod grew another killer, so that means Blake can do some rescuing of Jenna.

All that means is Blake has a good crew of people who, for one reason or another, are willing to help him, whether its for hatred of the Federation (Cally), their own protection (Gan and possibly Vila), having no where else to go (Avon), or out of some loyalty to Blake (Jenna, the only one who seems to get a change of clothing on this show, and looking at the actress, I think I know why).  Counting Zen–the computer that Avon for one doesn’t trust–that means Blake figures he can do what he needs with a crew of seven, counting himself.  So, I got character introductions for the main cast by now, as well as getting to see what each of them can do.  So far, I really like what I am seeing, so I will be looking forward to more in the near future.