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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 October 2014
Series 1 & 2 are probably the most similar 2 series of B7 and not just because they share the same title sequence (which many have said is the best one the series got covering themes so well in such a short set of images). They both deal with Blake's crusade to strike back at the Federation.
Having established themselves as a threat in series 1, Blake is now looking to an end game. he aims to get planets behind him "Horizon", make grand alliances "Voice from the Past" and destroy the heart of the Federation itself.
Blake is more fallible and the cracks in his armour show now. He frequently makes decisions and plans things, without telling the crew & the tension between him and Avon heats up. Both Gareth Thomas & Paul Darrow make the most of the opportunities given and show us a relationship between 2 men who don't exactly like each other but need each other and maybe have a grudging (very grudging in Avon's case) respect for each other. Gareth Thomas marvellously plays a scene where Blake realises Avon might actually hate him. When he asks if Avon wants to tell him about lost love Anna in "Countdown" it also suggests Blake thinks they have a greater friendship than they really do.
Terry Nation only writes 3 episodes for this second run as the show is opened up to new writers. In "Redemption" the Liberator's orginal owners capture the ship and aim to kill the crew who only have Orac to rely on for help. "Pressure Point" sees a strong adventure where Blake attacks central control on Earth. Pressure point is notable for killing off the 1st regular Gan. This is so well known by now I don't count it as a spoiler. Interestingly the fact that it is only Avon who can make Blake see things are not what they seem when they break in.
His 3rd story the taut "Countdown" places Avon with a mortal enemy his dead lover's brother who wants him dead blaming him for her death. They must work together to defuse a bomb.

Most important new writer is Chris Boucher who is the script editor. his 1st 2 stories "Shadow" where Blake plans a deal with crime syndicate the terra nostra and "Weapon" where a deadly weapon marks most of the crew for a delayed death are good but nothing special but by "Trial" a show trial is staged so Servalan can get rid of Travis to save her own skin while Blake tries to deal with his guilt over Gan's death & the smash ending "Star One", you'll see why some think he wrote even better episodes than Terry Nation!

Robert Holmes is a familiar name and serves up 2 good 'uns. "Killer" is a horror movie on budget as a deadly plague threatens a planet while Avon and Vila are stealing equipment & the fantastic "Gambit" (*1) where the pair try to break the bank at a casino while the others chase a lead makes them a great double act.

Allan Prior offers a mixed bag of tales "Horizon" where a colonial federation outpost captures some of the crew, "Hostage" gives a bit of Blake's backstory as Travis holds his beloved cousin Inga in exchange for the Liberator and "the Keeper" where a planet of goth/viking types may hold the location of Star One. All have great ideas but I think the scripting's a bit weak. Hostage is probably the best.

Roger Parkes (perhaps best known for wrting an episode of The Prisoner-McGoohan version, I think his one was "A Change of Mind") wrote one episode "Voice from the Past" and it has good ideas like Blake under mind control acting against most of the crew and the possiblity of an alliance. Some of it doesn't work e.g. the returning character Venn Glynd from the 1st ever episode is revealed to have been a good guy all along but nothing in his previous appearance even hints this could be the case. I'm sure it was unavoidable but recasting the role doesn't help. To be fair this would have been less of a problem to those watching on 1st broacast who may not even have clearly remembered what Venn Glynd looked like by then. It's an interesting episode but both his later scripts are better.

After Pressure Point there is a loose story arc as Blake then seeks to find another control centre Star One where he believes he can destroy the federation for good.

Apart form the 2 leads all the cast get some good moments. Unfortunately for David Jackson most of his are in his last story "Pressure Point" which features him more strongly than the rest.

Vila as well as the developing relationship with Avon, gets to go off drinking, stand up to Travis for a moment before finally giving in and work out what Avon's old friend is up to in "Killer."

Cally is used more now for her telepathy than her freedom fighting skills. Contrary to her 1st appearance she can now read the minds of other species or at least does so in Horizon. Jan Cahppell does all this credibly and gets the odd good line such as when Vila slopes off for fun in "Shadow" and offers her a present "A necklace Vila, made from your teeth!"

Jenna is diluted in a number of stories in season 2 and is not helped by her costumes. some look like evenings dresses and one like she's changed for a ballet lesson! Together with scenes where she just waits to be told what to do by Blake are a waste of her former strong character. The few stories where she's used properly serve to show just what a waste this was.

Servalan remains a good character whether she's bitching with Councillor Joban, ordering Travis' legal advocate to see he is sentenced to death or flirting with a man she finds disgusting in Gambit.

Travis suffers from inconsistent development, it changes from one story to the next whether he's working with Servalan or not. Also now by having him still haplessly pursue Blake he's become Wile Coyote to Blake's Road Runner. You can almost see him popping down to the Acme store for in inflatable Liberator!
Perhaps had he been allowed to directly kill Gan in "Pressure Point" it might have re-established him as a threat? And also the re-casting doesn't help. the 1st few stories were written for Stephen Greif's more considered approach to the role but by "Trial" Brian Croucher is beginning to create his own version of the character. And by "Gambit" his world weary take on the role is working very well.

Orac is clearly a computer the writers like more than Zen because you can do more with him.

Some of the show's best touches are the humour, plenty of one liners especially for Avon

e.g. Vila "I'm entitled to my opinion"
Avon: "Where you go wrong is assuming that the rest of us are entitled to it"

And there are clever moments like where a Travis replacement in Hostage tries almost the same tactics Travis used in series 1's "Duel", only to find that Servalan isn't going to overlook failure as she did with the eyepatch man!

There are some lapses in logic e.g. how does Travis leaving the same time as the Liberator get to Del 10 in Gambit and Goth in the Keeper not only quicker than the Liberator but quick enough to have been there some time when the gang arrive?

Costumes mostly by June Hudson get a bit way out but in the extras June gives a detailed intervew about her choices.

There are some archive interviews in the extras too including Gareth Thomas on swap Shop showing he knows a thing or 2 about real space travel and keeping tight lipped about not returning for series 3!

He's also in a further one together with Jacqueline Pearce talking affectionately about the show and its fans.

There are some other bits too including Ballad of Travis 2 making a bizarre pop video of some clips of Croucher and a look at Mutoids and Orac. These are clip based too so no explanation why from series 2 onward some Mutoids wear Dick Emery style wigs!

Best as expected, are the commentaries with Brian croucher telling us "Big Tel" Nation wanted to bump off a regular character and Producer David Maloney wondering telling David Jackson he was being canned near a great drop was wise.

Series 2 is less consistent than series 1 but has more varied stories. Not as varied as series 3 but more variety than series 1. Extras could be better but if you've enjoyed 1 you will want 2.

(*1) There were letters at the time to the Radio Times calling it the best episode yet.
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VINE VOICEon 31 December 2011
Picking up where series 1 left off, with Blake obsessing over the image of the destruction of The Liberator, the 2nd series of this superb classic British sci fi series continues to impress with it's excellent scifi tales if it doesn't impress with the special effects. Villain Travis is now played by a different actor and noone mentions or comments on the reason behind his change of appearance. While it takes a while to get used to the new actor he does a fine job. The series ends on another fine cliffhanger, the gripping episode Star One, where Blake and the crew find the planet that has The Federation's entire computer system with the intent on destroying the main computer and making The Federation vulnerable only to discover an alien invasion. To Be Continued...This series is definately one of scifi tv's all time greats.
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on 14 July 2013
For the record - I bought all four series, and am only up to season 2 so far.

My decision to go all in and buy all four series was a top one. I have not regretted it.

Blakes 7 is gripping, nerve wracking, stories that string you along and draw you right, has it's moments of brevity - absolute classic.

Now that I'm into the second series, the personalities within the series are really starting to come to light. It's not just "Blake's 7 versus the Federation", there's a whole box of sub plots going on between the different characters. They're united, but only just. Again, you don't always get this kind of intra team tenseness in the modern "happy happy" Sci Fi series.

Blakes 7 should be mandatory viewing for all aspiring screen writers - it's that good!
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on 16 March 2006
Season two begins where season one ended, with the crew facing Orac's prediction. Terry Nation's opening episode "Redemption" is a fast paced action adventure which clearly builds on the cliffhanger ending without letting the fans down. We finaly meet the race of beings that created the liberator, and Nation explores the idea of the ship being a "living entity", although the snake like powercable "bleeding" on the floor goes a bit too far ! There is one powerful scene where Zen gives a status report as Blake is being tortured showing that Blake has lost command, and confirming Zen's emotionless impartialy.
The scripting for the rest of the season was shared with other witers incluing Chris Boucher, Alan Prior and Robert Holmes. These writers all input their own ideas into the series, but still kept its dark tones. All the script writers made excelent use of Orac who / which was given some of the best lines in the series. Robert Holmes developed the "Avon Villa" relationship to the point that the unlikey pair became almost a comedy due. The main Story arc of Season two involves Blake and crew's search for Federation Central control. This results in a series of very powerful episodes. In "pressure point" a main character is killed off showing that the crew could be beaten. Cast and crew give some wonderfull perofrmances, including Jaqueline Pearce as the venomous Servalan. Her interactions with Karnel and Jobain in "Weapon" and "Hostage" respectivly show her at her most condescending...Brilliant!
Season two is let down by some poor prodction values. Asteroid PK72, for example, is a painting that would put a primary school production to shame, and seeing the Crimmos being killed by Polystyrene blocks in "hostage" just looks silly.
The series peeks in the last few episodes as the crew get closer and closer to Star One. The epsiode "Gambit" is a fantastic episode full of plotting, sub plotting, betrayal, double crossing, a game of chess, and the BBC costume departement going wild ! Aubrey wood gives a magnificently camp performance as Krantor and Pearce also gives one of her best performances, showing servalan at her most devious. The Costume department had a wonderful time in "The Keeper" showing that Sci Fi can take place in Low tech "dark age" style environments.
"Gambit" "The Keeper" (magnifent performance from Bruce Purhcase) and Star One" bring the story Arc to a fitting climax and Paul Darrow gives a wonderfull expression when Blake announces "For what it is worth, I have always trusted you". This performance is evelavted to retrospective shakespearian Irony after Season 4 is witnessed.....
The only other dissapointment is the casting of Brian Croucher as Travis. With all respect to Mr Croucher, his portrayel of the Space Commander as a bumbling cockney fool doesn not always work.
Minor isses aside, Season two is simply Blakes 7 at its peek. Some of the best episodes, best performances, and the strongest story arc of the entire series. Enjoy.
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A five disc dvd set containing all thirteen episodes of the second season of the bbc science fiction show Blake's 7. The discs are housed in a fold out box, which fits into a slipcase cover when folded up.

All episodes run for fifty minutes [approx.] There are four to each of the first four discs, and one on the fifth. Which also has extras.

The season picks up from the cliffhanger ending to the first one. And whilst it might work as a jumping on point, you're still better off starting with that.

Some changes came to this season. Regular computer voice over artist Peter Tuddenham took over the voice of Orac, as the original actor wasn't available. Same goes for Blake's arch enemy Travis, who is recast as actor Brian Croucher. He takes a little bit of getting used to, but does manage to make the part his own.

Show creator Terry Nation wrote less of the episodes than he did in season one. And the show also did something that is commonplace today, but pretty much unheard of back of then. A story arc. Blake sets out to bring down the Federation by destroying their central computer control base, the loss of which will cripple the Federation irrevocably.

But the quest turns out to be more complex than expected, and some high prices will have to be paid. By the end of the season, the crew of the Liberator will never be the same again.

Full credit to the show producers who wanted to make sure the audience didn't think Blake and his crew were invincible. Those who saw this season at the time will never forget it as a result. Whilst the season does have some episodes that feel like they were written by those not familiar with science fiction, the main ones in the story arc are superb. And there are some scripts from veteran Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes. A very skilled tv scriptwriter who brings that talent to this show with great results.

It also plays with some interesting moral concepts. Is Blake a freedom fighter or a terrorist? The issue is discussed in the season finale, and lets the viewer draw their own conclusions. Which is good writing.

Unfortunately Jenna and Cally do get rather overlooked in getting a share of the action, and are usually left minding the Liberator. But that's the only real complaint about an otherwise excellent season. Which ends on a stunning cliffhanger episode.

The only language and subtitles options on the disc are in English for both.

There are some excellent cgi main menus.

Three episodes have commentaries from various cast members, and/or the script editor Chris Boucher plus producer David Maloney.

Extras on disc five are somewhat patchy but not without merit:

Episode synopses: Single text page descriptions of each.

Introducing orac: A short clip of him from a third season episode.

The mutoids: Dialogue about the federation troopers of that name played over clips and images of them.

A trailer for the third season, which can be watched in either widescreen or pan and scan.

The ballad of Travis II: a fan written song about the character, played over clips of him.

Multi coloured swapshop: nineteen minutes of footage of Gareth Thomas [Blake] and Jacqueline Pearce [Servalan] being interviewed on the bbc Saturday morning show back in 1979.

Scene today: an eleven minute clip of the duo being interviewed on another bbc show back in 1991, when the show was first released on video.

Saturday superstore: a five minute long clip from another bbc one Saturday morning show, this from 1983, of visual effects man Mat Irvine showing how some of the effects on Blake's seven were done.

Mat's models: a twelve minute long interview with Mat Irvine, recorded in 1991.

Model world: a bbc show from 1980. This episode ran for eight minutes, and shows more of Mat Irvine's work.

June Hudson's costume collection: a seventeen minute long interview with the costume designer from the first one and a half seasons of the show.

A decent enough box set for an excellent season of a classic show. It belongs in all cult tv fan's collections.
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on 18 October 2011
Shakespeare in outer space. Absolutely brilliant to watch Blake and the crew hamming it up in their camp outfits. I particularly like Paul Darrow who would have made a great villain in anything written by Bill The Bard.
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on 23 February 2013
series 2 and first port of call is tying up series 1's cliffhanger ending. then its off on another trot around the Galaxy fighting the Federation and weird aliens while hunting for the mysterious "Star One".
Strong follow up to the first series but things were changing and from series 3, cast changes including the disappearance of Blake and Avon stepped up to leader would send the show off in a new direction before even more changes in the surprisingly commissioned 4th and final series.
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on 12 February 2008
Excellent follow up to the first series. I missed a lot of these first time around (night school for my apprenticeship at the time and no videos/dvds back then) so it filled in gaps in my "Blake" Knowledge. As others have said this series was more glossy than the first, some lovely costumes for the girls and the glamorous Servalan. Favourite stories are the series opener with The Liberator returned home, Gambit with speed chess baddie Klute, Star One the last of series 2 that ends on a mighty cliffhanger (also good is the sparring between the Liberator Crew esp Avon and Villa) imagine having to wait a whole year to find out what happens next. Good job I am yet to start on the series 3 box set.
There are some good extras on the dvd too, Mat Irvines Models and past interviews with cast members. Well worth a look. Although the effects may not stand up, the plots and acting do make you think, something modern telly seldom does these days.
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on 4 September 2010
I loved this program, long term fan who needed to see it again and i still love it.
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on 15 October 2010
I loved the first 2 series of Blake's 7 when first broadcast and am delighted to be able to get them on DVD. Series 3 and 4 lost a lot with the loss of Blake and Jenna, particularly the loss of the antagonistic spark between Blake and Avon. I find the DVD of Series 2 just as good as the original. Series 2 builds on the relationships between all the characters and the stories gain from the variety of writers.
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