Tag Archives: blake’s 7

No more Blake’s

In case anyone other than Tansy and Terri care, I’ve decided to give the rest of Blake’s 7 a miss. The new Travis really doesn’t do it for me, and I was finding it all a bit slow going. I have read the Wikipedia entry for the series overview (sorry Tansy), and I’m impressed by some of the later ideas the writers introduced and how ambiguous they appear to have kept the tone of the show. It’s not quite enough to get me to watch it, though.

Galactic Suburbia 42*

In which we discuss Orson Scott Card’s Hamlet, the agent who said no way to gay YA, Tansy’s Blake’s 7 dolls, the superhero who fights with her hair, and Alisa works through her issues with Doctor Who. You can get us on iTunes or download/stream us from Galactic Suburbia.

News
Subterranean Press address email complaints about “Hamlet’s Father” by Orson Scott Card (and the Rain Taxi review that started it)

The other big Internet Thing – agent says no gay in YA dystopia please & authors speak out 

New podcast – Live and Sassy 

Twelfth Planet Press opening for novel submissions

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alex: Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding; Blake’s 7; Hyperion, Dan Simmons. 
Tansy: Torchwood (non spoilery), Justice League comics (the new 52), The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson 
Alisa: Podcasts: Locus Roundtable (Gail Carriger and Francesca Myman; Kathleen Goonan, Eileen Gunn and Gary K Wolfe); Eurocon 2011 Gender in SF&F Panel; The Outer Alliance Podcast Episode 11, Season 3 Doctor Who
[Book calling for papers on the topic of race and Doctor Who]

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

* Alisa and Tansy recorded no. 41 without me, as a Spoilerific Book Club episode about The Hunger Games trilogy. It’s on iTunes or at the website if you’re interested. 

Lord Avon. And some other people.

The Discovery of Blake’s 7 (complete with spoilers)

1.11: Bounty

I didn’t get to see all of this episode because the disc was a bit broked and kept skipping. I saw most of Blake and Cally going to convince an ex-president of a non-Federatation planet that he ought to return to his planet and stop it being subsumed by the Feds, and I saw that the Liberator was under possible attack… but I had no idea by whom until quite near the end. I had thought Zen the computer was acting very strangely and that we were about to find out more about the shifty AI! But no. Sigh. It was just ordinary run of the mill space pirates.

I am enjoying Blake and Cally working together. Her telepathy is of course an enormous boon, and presumably is one of the reasons she is so often used on missions requiring scouting etc – not that she can ‘hear’ guards or anything, but she can warn Blake when they are near. As well as that, though, she is resourceful and good at fighting. Of the other characters, Vila is a coward and Gan has the limiter chip and Avon is still not entirely trustworthy and Jenna has to fly the ship, so she’s a good choice for all of those reasons too. And there’s no flirtation. In this episode, I enjoyed their interaction with the ex-president, too, especially his infatuation with mid-20th-century Earth stuff. It’s a neat little device used to show how weird things we take for granted today might seem in the future; Blake’s reaction to an automobile was priceless.

Overall this is a fairly by-the-numbers episode I think. It shows how tricksy and sly the Federation can be in getting other planets under its sway, it shows how resourceful the crew is… but that’s about it.

 

1.12: Deliverance 

It had to happen at some stage, I suppose. Avon being mistaken for a god, that is.

I think I’m beginning to figure out the general format for this show, and it often involves two parallel plots. With a crew of seven – even if one of them is constrained to the ship (I presume!) by virtue of being its computer, there are a limited number of plots that genuinely utilises every single one of them in a one-track story. So, two plots. In this case, after watching a spaceship ditch on a planet, the crew rescues one survivor and transports him back to the Liberator… while losing Jenna at the same time. So Blake and Cally stay on the ship, looking after the survivor and then being held hostage by him as he forces them to redirect the Liberator onto the course he had previously been following.

Meanwhile, on the planet, Vila, Gan and Avon are searching for Jenna, who has been kidnapped by a bunch of savages; the boys are saved by a mysterious woman in a cave who, naturally enough, greets Avon as a god. They manage to rescue Jenna and help out the mysterious woman, who is somehow part of a group of people who had been waiting for someone with just Avon’s talents to help them launch their own spaceship, packed with frozen embryos and seeds, towards a planet some 500-odd years away. Totally makes sense in context.

Once again it’s Avon who gets to be the most complex and interesting in this episode. For a start, his determination to save Jenna is a bit surprising – he has seemed mostly callous towards all of them previously – and is an indication that perhaps finally he is starting to feel some companionship towards the others. Mostly, though, it’s in how he treats his apparently divinity. Of course he makes light of it at times, and of course at other times there’s a glint in his eye that suggests he could get used to that sort of thing. But he does not, actually, take advantage of it at all. Instead he does exactly what the woman asks, fulfilling the prophecy and her dreams. It shows him to be a remarkably… moral, I guess, and peculiarly honest man. And there’s a wonderful exchange with Blake towards the end, where Blake asks him in an amused tone what he thought of being regarded as a god, and Avon asks back – somewhat archly, somewhat sarcastically – “Don’t you know?” or words to that effect. Blake looks at him, and acknowledges his point, and admits that he doesn’t much like it either.

 

So there’s one episode left in this series, and of course it’s on the next disc, so I hope Bigpond hurries up and sends it to me. I’m wildly excited to find out whether this is the sort of series that goes in for cliffhangers.

Snow and neurosurgery… and Avon

Yes yes, more Blake’s 7. I’m really enjoying it, okay?? Spoilers ahoy!

1.9 Project Avalon

The gender equity continues to impress me. Servelan appears again, observing Travis in his latest attempt at trapping Blake – more on that in a moment – and we’re reminded that she is Supreme Commander of the area. A key part of Travis’ plan involves an anti-Federation organiser named Avalon: also a woman. And is there any comment on these women being involved in the military or politics? Hell no. And Jenna and Cally, on the Liberator, continue to take a variety of roles – Jenna in particular playing a key part as pilot. And there has yet to be any suggestion of flirtation or sexual innuendo towards those women from the four men. I keep expecting to see Blake and Jenna ‘naturally’ pair off, but so far – nadda.

That said, Servelan and Travis are so an item. She is just so arch around him, even (perhaps especially) when bossing him around and wearing crazy outfits. I bet there’s just reams of fanfic on that. (Also on Blake and Travis I bet, but I don’t want to go there.)

Anyway. The plot here revolves around Blake wanting to make contact with Avalon. Travis of course gets there first – thanks to a traitor – where ‘there’ is a planet that makes Hoth look like a tropical getaway. He captures Avalon, scans a brain, tests a nasty plague… and then Blake breaks in and gets away with Avalon really quite easily. Bizarre? And just a little sus, yes. Turns out this Avalon is a kill-bot. Happily our heroes figure it out before any of them are killed and they turn the tables quite neatly on Travis, making him look quite the fool and getting away with Avalon in the end.

Another episode with Travis and Blake pitting their wits against one another, with Travis getting to be snarky at his capsicum-headed mutoids and wear his black leather pants and Blake getting all angsty at his crew having to break orbit and not beam them out right now. This seems to be getting towards a standard format.

 

1.10 Breakdown

Aaand as soon as I talk about a standard format, the show breaks from it. This episode reminded me a lot of the Firefly episode “Ariel,” because the crew has to risk themselves to get to a hospital. There, it was River, and the need to read her brain to figure out what was going on; here, it’s Gan, whose limiter is going on the blink and causing him to spin into uncontrollable, violent rages. Blake et al decide to head for an allegedly neutral space station in order to find a surgeon, although it turns out to be harder to get there than it ought to be: Zen flat out refuses to take them there directly, and refuses to actually explain why. Turns out there’s a gravity-something that means the crew have to be heroic, together, because Zen turns himself off for the duration. All very sweet. And that’s just half the episode…

This episode tripped a lot of my suspicions about Zen as a computer, and I’m wild to find out where the writers are actually going to go with it. The fact that it still hasn’t really been discussed just who developed the Liberator, and therefore who Zen originally interacted with, makes me very suspicious indeed. I really, really hope that this gets explained, because I have all sorts of suspicions about Zen being genuinely intelligent, either artificially or as an alien or… something else.

So the second half of the episode is the crew getting to the space station, taking the surgeon over to their ship, and waiting for him to deal with Gan – except that he’s a Federation stooge, so said surgeon notifies the pursuit ships of their location. Oh noes! The surgeon is played by Julian Glover, who I know I’ve seen in other British things.* Anyway, perhaps more interestingly than that  – at least for this Avon-phile – is the fact that Avon declares during the gravity emergency that he is outta there ASAP. He heads over to the station… and it’s at that point that my rented DVD started skipping. I never did manage to see all of this episode, and have no idea what the station captain said to Avon to make him go back to the Liberator. Which is just slightly annoying. But the upshot is Avon is still on the ship, Gan’s limiter is fixed, and the seven thumb their noses at the Federation yet again. Hooray!

*Turns out he’s Triopas in Troy, the voice of Aragog in HP & the Chamber of Secrets, and OH! Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!! and General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back!!

Destiny, blue women, and nuts

Continuing my dive into Blake’s 7… spoilers aplenty!

1.7

The team breaks the not-quite-format-yet by going to the rescue of a ship that appears to have been stuck in the same orbit for a long time. Turns out they’ve stumbled onto a classic locked-door murder mystery: the crew all asleep thanks to some gas through the filters, and one dead. They’re a group of non-Fed humans trying to take a crystal back to their planet which will save the colonists from starvation. Of course, said crystal is worth a very large amount of money, and one of the crew has made a deal to sell it and pocket the proceeds, to everyone’s loss. There are a number of red herrings, as you would expect from this sort of story, and I’ll admit that I didn’t expect it to be the innocuous-seeming blonde woman. It was quite a nice twist, actually.

Still loving Avon. I remember being impressed by Battlestar Galactica and its depiction of genuine fights between men and women, where the men were fighting another person, not a woman. Here, Avon totally decks Sara because she is a genuine danger to him and his. I really do appreciate that egalitarian spirit.

1.8

Mystical blue women (who turn out not to be blue) start this episode off, which immediately put me in mind of Farscape, although these women seem even weirder than Zhaan. And their place of worship is particularly bizarre, with what looks like people stuck in the ground reaching up. Creepy. (Also, Zhaan would have done something about getting a tshirt bra under that outfit.)

helLO Travis! There’s something peculiarly attractive about that eye-patch. (Maybe it’s the leather pants….) But your pilots look like they have black capsicums on their heads, which is a bit weird. They’re also mutoids, requiring blood serum for some reason, which is neither here nor there at the moment but I’ll bet it has some impact on the story arc (yup. Stranded on the planet with no serum). Mutoids were mentioned, I think, in the earlier Travis episode, but we finally get some explanation here: they’re people who have been modified in such a way that their memories are completely removed, as well as whatever else happens to them. Travis appears to get a perverse pleasure from telling his pilot who she had been, although she doesn’t respond at all.

Travis and Blake face off in their first full-on space battle in this episode, and it gets manipulated by the creepy mystic women for their own purposes; time distortion and stasis and everything (with oh such awesome 70s colour freakiness to demonstrate what’s happening). Their  calm in the face of the “primitive violence” of Travis is magnificent – especially given the history they reveal, of their long-lasting violent global upheaval. Ah pacifism. And yet they propose a duel apparently to resolve their differences! How quaint… and how nasty, involving Jenna and the mutoid from Travis’ ship, making it all the nastier! Travis enjoys this fight way too much… as does Giroc, the old creepy woman. She’s a bit too sadistic for my tastes. The effect of having the ships’ crews watching everything that’s happening is quite clever, too, although I don’t think they got enough airtime to make it worthwhile.

Avon once again gets the best lines. Travis and Blake up trees for the night: “unless they’re planning on throwing nuts at one another I don’t see much of a fight developing before it gets light.” Also, he admits that he does care about Blake, cutting Villa and Gan down with devastating po-faced wit, pointing that it shouldn’t be necessary to go irrational to prove you care – nor, in fact, why it should be necessary to prove it at all. Oh Avon, I really look forward to more of your story.

Galactic Suburbia 40!!

In which we hug the Hugos, plug the Stella, lament the loss of the Weird Tales team, and contemplate (briefly) our podcasterly mid-life crisis. Alex delves into the wonderful world of classic cyberpunk, and Tansy demands to know why on earth Alisa is  still watching Doctor Who if she doesn’t actually like it? We can be heard via iTunes or Galactic Suburbia.News

Weird Tales sold

Strange Horizons Fundraising Drive

The Stella

Galactic Chat: Kelley Armstrong and Ben Peek

Tansy’s win !

What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: Doctor Who Season 2, Outer Alliance Podcast
Alex: Trouble and her Friends, Melissa Scott; Only Ever Always, Penni Russon; Synners, Pat Cadigan; Blake’s 7.
Tansy: SF Squeecast #3, Panel2Panel (http://panel2panel.podbean.com/), Among Others by Jo Walton, Alcestis by Katherine Beukner, Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke, KINDLED

Pet Subject: Hugoriffic!
Were you there for the Hugo Twitter party? Or did you have to resort to sitting in the live audience?
The stats
The results
Hugos commentary round up.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Malfunctions, space spiderwebs and tight black leather

Alex’s Discovery of Blake’s 7 continues…

numerous spoilers, if you’re concerned.

1.5

Turns out telepathy in our new alien friend Cally might not be such a good thing after all. I really liked the cinematography when Cally was under the influence of the evil little homunculi, which by the way was very icky, especially when it’s revealed to be a corporate entity. Bit sad that it proved Jenna’s suspicion of Cally as worthy, and so quickly, although she does end up proving herself (again) and Jenna too falls under the telepathic spell.

These aliens (dressed in cling wrap), like the last set, are not particularly nice. They have plans to cull their run-away mutant experiments (dressed in papier mâché) who keep attacking them; and I’ll bet Tansy won’t be happy if I suggest that the female alien reminds me a lot of Luna Lovegood…. Blake and co are drawn to the planet by the experimenting telepathic psychopath so that they can get a power boost, and their ship (the Liberator) is kept there by a fungal space spiderweb analogue.

I was disappointed in Blake when he gave in so easily, giving the power cells rather than bargaining a bit harder for the cling-wrap aliens to leave the Decimas alive. However, when the experimental papier-mâché-clad types did get access to the base and not only destroyed the place but also their creators… well. I’m amazed that here, in the fifth episode, the writers have made the show quite so problematic. Those Blake wants to protect have twice proven to be nearly disastrous for the crew. And interestingly, despite their brutality, Blake still insists on defending the Decimas’ right to live. Perhaps this is one of the big things that differentiates him from the Federation.

Avon saved Blake from a bomb blast!! Aw, so cute. I bet there’s heaps of Blake/Avon slashfic out there… and I bet I get people at this post because of those words… it amuses me that Blake insists on seeing the good in everyone, while Avon keeps making snarky comments and even overt plans for what he will do when Blake is finally no longer in charge. Can’t wait to see how that relationship develops.

1.6

Blake’s crew carry their explosives in an esky. And the Federation’s security robots are even funnier than the original Marvin.

I don’t believe that it’s actually explained to the viewer what Blake et al is doing on this new planet at the start of this episode. Perhaps we are meant to go along with randomly progressing through the galaxy sabotaging our merry way. … Oh, turns out they’re after a cypher machine. Useful thing to steal.

I was just beginning to think that Vila’s extreme cowardice might eventually get quite wearing, when all of a sudden he sprinted to try and take down a guard! Remarkable. Perhaps he will continue to grow a spine.

Now there’s an idea: if Blake is Dorothy, what does everyone need? Avon needs a conscience, Vila bravery, Gan self-determination, Cally a purpose in life… can’t figure out what Jenna might be lacking.

It continues to be a really awesome aspect of this show that we get to see the perspective of Blake’s enemies – not just to see their evilness, but to watch their deliberations and understand their purposes. There’s not many shows like this that are either so confident in their viewers’ love for the good guys, or are so willing to show the grey realities of life.

The fashions continue to be spectacular. Supreme Commander Servelan’s ice-queen-and-diamonds outfit is particularly impressive (although I don’t yet understand why Tansy and others used #ignorethestrings on Twitter when discussing her…). And I’m guessing that, since our first introduction to Space Commander Travis is by looking at his butt in rather tight black leather, Travis will be an important character in this show. (I am also guessing this because I remember seeing a Blake’s 7 doll with a black eyepatch on Tansy’s blog.) I think I am going to enjoy Travis. His evil makes Avon look amateur. And the fact that Blake and Travis have A History will surely add some lovely nuances. Where ‘lovely’ is coloured by the fact that Travis has no compunctions about shooting unarmed prisoners, using drugs on Cally to get information out of her, and using the knowledge that Blake has a cypher machine to manipulate him. Everything a good villain needs to be capable of.

I’m now nearly halfway through this first season. If the format continues to be explode-Federation-base-and-meet-new-aliens, I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be able to go four seasons. However I will keep going, because for the moment it’s certainly entertaining.

Blake’s 7 finally becomes 7

Many spoilers in this second instalment of Alex’s Discovery of Blake’s 7.

1.3

So I was just getting comfortable with the idea of the prison ship towards the end of episode 2 when all of a sudden Blake, Avon, and the woman whose name I am still unsure of are in charge of an alien ship, running away from the prison transport and, somewhat bizarrely, towards Cygnus Alpha to pick up the other prisoners, so that they have a crew. Episode 3 opens with the three of them getting to know the ship, which includes interacting with a computer that, to my SF-cynical and AI-alert eyes, is exhibiting every symptom of a little bit too much intelligence for my liking (I couldn’t help but be suspicious when there was a room full of clothes for the humans to change into). As well as getting used to the navigational system, which is a whole lot faster than they were expecting, our heroes also discover a set of bracelets… which they somehow determine as likely to be transport devices (and hello, Stargate seems to owe something to Blake’s!), which Blake bravely decides to experiment with. Because they are now orbiting Cygnus Alpha, and it’s time to figure out how to get some prisoners back off again.

Of course, things are not hunky dory on the prison planet – how could they be? – and this is when things got all mind-bendy on me. Because from the original colonists has grown a lovely little cult which every new arrival is forced to join, or die. The prisoners are in the process of being introduced to their new way of life, including being told that they now have a deadly disease that can only be managed with a local drug (lies, all lies). There is, eventually, an awesome battle involving most of the prisoners, Blake, random priests and the leader of the cult – the mighty Brian Blessed, who is magnificent in this rather bizarre role.

This was quite a weird episode, although it does continue to develop the various characters. I am still loving Avon, much to Tansy’s delight; the fact that he very nearly convinces the woman to leave without Blake, when he is overdue from reporting in, is a measure of just tricksy he is likely to be. I’m really appreciating that there is a genuine diversity in the types of characters, from the cowardly to the brave and so on. Also, the woman is so the only pilot – I really hope that continues!

1.4

A sabotage mission and a rescue mission – this crew certainly like balancing their copy sheet.

I really thought, when I saw the two aliens in the cryo pod, that here would be Blake’s 6th and 7th. Instead they’re homicidal maniacs.

Gan is turning into a far more interesting character than I had initially anticipated. I thought he was going to be simply the brawn, but it was he who had the thought about the computer, Zen, having some sort of limiter on it, preventing it from helping the crew too much, and then his discussion of having to stay with Blake in order to survive (plus the view of his skull with something implanted in it, which turns out to be a limited so that he is incapable of killing)… well. I hope he develops more. The idea of a brain implant to control behaviour is yet another example of how evil the Federation is, and reinforces the need for what Blake etc are doing on Saurian 4 – destroying the interplanetary communication capabilities of the Federation as a whole.

Ooh, a female human-but-alien telepathic resistance fighter on Saurian 4! … unfortunately falls for very old tricks when fighting. Anyway, rather than suiciding in a blaze of glory she ends up helping our heroes. And joins the crew, completing the complement – because Blake counts Zen as a member. So, 2 women, 4 men, and a computer. Actually not bad for 1978. Sad they had to make Jenna (remembered her name!) a bit suspicious of Cally, because it can’t help but read as jealousy….

I’m loving Jenna’s boots.

Galactic Suburbia 39

In which we defend Mary Sues everywhere, point at superheroes with their pants down, plan a Hugo Twitterparti and reveal which of the three of us is secretly a hardcore horror fan.  But most importantly (according to Tansy), Alex is watching Blake’s 7 completely unspoiled and she loves Avon the best, hooray! You can get us from iTunes or download us from Galactic Suburbia.

News

The Mary Sue Conversation:

Zoe Marriott
Sarah Rees Brennan
Holly Black 
Elizabeth Bear 
“Sometimes a book is about a female character because there are female people in the world.”

What if Male Superheroes posed like Wonder Woman 
Gender Bent Justice League

Bonus, superheroes without pants (except Wonder Woman)

Cat Valente steps down from Apex Magazine as fiction editor, Lynne M Thomas steps up.
Alex wants to be in Reno. 
Join @GalacticSuburbs in whatever the right time zone is and Twitterparti the Hugos with us!
What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: The Hunger Games, Life on Mars UK, The Women’s Hour Podcast, Doctor Who
Tansy: Lords & Ladies, Terry Pratchett; Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Rob Shearman; Rob on the Big Finish Podcast, Xena & the mystical pregnancy
Alex: Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi; Blake’s 7; Across the Universe, Beth Revis.

Featured Feedback:

Grant Watson (and our producer) pointed out to Tansy that Jason Todd died in “A Death in the Family” and not “The Killing Joke.”  She is very sorry.

Kirstyn McDermott took us to task over our dismissive attitude to horror, and we decided to address her concerns and chew over our complicated relationship with the darker side of spec fic.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Blake’s 7: my education begins

Because I have finished the Discovery of Bujold, I have decided to move on to the next franchise people have been raving at me about: Blake’s 7.  This is a slightly different case from the Vorkosigan stories, though. For a start, it’s a TV show. For another, there are 4 seasons, not 14 novels… although there are 13 episodes in each season. And finally, it’s a TV show that came out of the BBC in 1978.

That year ought to give the non-Blake’s fans an idea of the costuming. Its origin in the BBC ought to tell you something about the budget and prop design.

I have watched the first two episodes now. When I announced this, certain people went TOTALLY gushy and fangirly and went wild at the idea that I might blog about this. So this is my response. I’m not sure I’ll write about every episode, and I’m not sure I’ll even watch all of them – apparently the format settles down after four or so eps, and I might find that gets boring (also my source of these discs is BigPondMovies, which is shutting down its service of actually sending discs in a fortnight, and iTunes doesn’t appear to have the show… so I don’t know how I’ll get them, now). Nonetheless, herewith find Alex’s Ruminations on Blake’s 7 (inc spoilers).

Going in, I had absolutely no idea what the show was about. I vaguely believed it was SF, because of Tansy’s unreasoning love for it, but that was all. So once I got over the hilarious costumes, and the fact that Blake is totally not good-looking, I was flabbergasted to discover that this was a political dystopia, with memory suppression and violent security forces and the mass murder of dissidents in the first 30 minutes or so. Seriously blown away. And then, to have the main character falsely accused and found guilty of child molestation, and his lawyer disposed when he got too nosy, while still in the first episode? That sort of thing doesn’t even happen in Spooks, let alone any other show today.

The first episode, perhaps needless to say, really impressed me. I liked that they didn’t make Blake remember everything immediately, I liked that the lawyer had to work for the information… it certainly starts out as a very tough show. With appalling fashion and terrible props, but you know – whatever. I couldn’t really pick up the character names in this ep, aside from Blake, so when various people started mooning over the favourite characters I was at a loss.

The second episode continues to punch as hard if not harder. Onboard the prison ship, probably bound for Cygnus Alpha but maybe about to be spaced to save the prison ship time and money, the prisoners hatch a plan to take over the ship – helped by having the world’s second-best hacker on board (who’s the first? The guy who caught him…). This plan is being cooked up while the crew are being distracted by a space battle around them, the protagonists of which are quite unknown. And for a while it looks like the prisoners might actually take the ship, until Raiker – the very very evil 2IC who would quite like to have the only female prisoner as his concubine for the duration – forces Blake, Avon, and Jenna to surrender by steadily shooting his way though the other prisoners. So in this, the second episode, we have several prisoners shot in cold blood, a young and eager prisoner dying when the crawlway is filled with foam after the hull is breached, the only woman look like she’s about to be made into a sex slave… and that’s maybe halfway through? I’m sitting there thinking, how the heck did this make four seasons? Surely it’s a mini-series! Or surely it jumps the shark and Tansy et al were either brainwashed or haven’t watched it in ages.

The rest of the second episode is taken up with the crew trying to salvage a probably derelict alien ship, which sends three of their crew mad or dead, at which point they send in Blake, Jenna, and Avon to check it out. They avoid en-maddening thanks to Blake, and make off with the ship – killing Raiker in the process (hooray!). They are apparently now going to follow the prison ship, rescue the other prisoners, and then Stick It To The Man.

One thing that really impressed me was the amount of time spent on the crew. It shows that they are not monsters (with the exception of Raiker): the young kid studying to get off the prison ship, the commander struggling to do the best he can with a pretty awful situation – they’re humanised, but not to the detriment of the prisoners’ characterisation. That’s a pretty impressive achievement.

I have to watch the third episode. I still can’t get over the fashion, although I am steadily developing those convenient blinkers that allow you to watch old Dr Who without being phased by bad SFX. I’m not yet sure whether I’ll turn into the fully fledged Blake’s tragic, but I can at least understand how that happens.