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A great read if you like Blake's 7
on 19 February 2012
This is a great read for Blake's 7 fans, consisting of a thorough coverage of the episodes and featuring in-depth analysis of each. There's some great trivia and interesting background to the making of all four series plus the various follow-ups.
The literary criticism of the scripts will not be to everyone's taste. Any deep analysis of subtext can be given to cod psychology and pretension, and the authors fall into this trap. They can also be a bit selective in the facts they base their analysis on, and so they leap to some rather exaggerated conclusions about the characters. In fact, if the scriptwriters were so clever as to build in all the layers of subtext and character development the authors discuss, why did they keep making all the elementary plot blunders that Liberation's authors so delight in pointing out? The more plausible explanation might simply be down to cheesy and hasty scriptwriting to meet production deadlines.
However, don't let this put you off. I'm sure there's more than a little irony at work here, and it's all somehow fitting for a series that had pretensions way above its budget. This was a golden era of British TV sci-fi, with dodgy SFX and actors delivering technobabble as though they were on stage at the RSC. If you take the book's character analysis with a sense of humour, it's fun to read the retelling and explanation of the stories. Blake's 7 was an intelligent, groundbreaking series, dealing with sophisticated and grown-up themes. The authors are clearly fans, and do a good job of laying out its themes and setting them in context. Meanwhile, they don't hold back in teasing the show's shortcomings with affection and a wry sense of humour.
So if, like me, you're a fan of Blake's 7, this is a great book. It inspired me to start working through the DVDs again and, as another reviewer notes, it lends the characters a different light. Great stuff!