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4.5 Stars out of 5 for Blakes 7 Series 3
on 31 July 2006
The third series of Blakes 7 reaches to an area where many SCI FI enthusiasts won't reach. We are now dealing with a product that many people won't see being content with the classic series 1 and 2. In series 3 the fast pace of the early series is only present in some episodes. Things take a different turn here. The major characters of Blake and Jenna are no longer here and that has quite an effect on the feel of the new series. Avon is now in command of the Liberator and I expected him to dictate a strategy of wealth creation rather than Blake's moral crusade. This is not what happens and if anything the new character of Tarrant appears a more forceful leader. The new characters are worthy replacements and fit in well. Rather than attacking the Federation they defend the Liberator from Servalan trying to capture it. Curiosity drives them quite regularly into the trouble that is a hallmark of Blakes 7. The early episodes are in the same style as the second series. The episodes I liked were: Aftermath, Powerplay, Dawn of Gods, City at the edge of the world, Rumours of death, Sarcophagus, Moloch, Deathwatch and Terminus. Volcano, Children of Auron, Ultraworld were also reasonable. The only episode I disliked was Harvest of Kairos. Although I liked most of this episode its ending still jars. If you watch this you will be asked in the last 15 minutes to believe the most incredible series of events. The writer unfortunately gets a little carried away and this seems like something from `The A Team' rather than Blakes 7. The episode I most liked was Sarcophagus and I can't decide whether this or City at the edge of the world is the jewel in the crown of the third series. Sarcophagus is of completely different form to the usual assault on a centre. It is actually a little sinister but also beautifully written with imaginative singing and music. It really is an unforgettable episode and adds much to the series despite being very unusual. There is still the large source of imaginative ideas from cloning starships, space plagues, superbly advanced races, black holes etc. that we have come to expect from Blakes 7. I think more could have been made of criminal activity under Avon's lead and perhaps more made of the space war although this would be expensive. This series contrasts with the first two which have a strong direction, here things are much more loose but I don't dislike this. It is quite plausible that events could unfold in this manner. I noticed this for the first time in the episode Volcano which is early on in the series, it seems a bit aimless and you wonder why Tarrant and Dayna are there. The acting and characterisation are as usual first class. The comical Vila is there with a goldfish bowl on his head trying to avoid the space plague in Children of Auron and losing the teleport co-ordinates at a critical moment in Rumours of death, he remains a star character in Blakes 7. Tarrant evolves as a hard man who clashes regularly with Avon. The darkness is still there in the chilling Powerplay and Sarcophagus as well as the inevitable corruption and violence. All in all this third series does not quite manage the seamless quality of series 1 and series 2. It is still good however and for the enthusiast of Blakes 7 it is an essential item.