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Customer Review

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last season of the best sci-fi series. Contains spoilers., 22 May 2006
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This review is from: Blake's 7 - Series 4 [DVD] (DVD)
I've just finished watching series 4 and am left again with that hollow feeling that no doubt everyone feels after watching the last episode. But that is why this is the best series ever. No other show dared to end on such an unfulfilling note and it is hard to see one doing so in the future.

People find fault with this series for a number of reasons, some well-founded but others are just misconceived.

Paul Darrow's over-acting? He's been doing it in every series and if he didn't then Avon simply wouldn't be himself. The character of Avon continues to develop and change in this last series, which is one of the reasons this is such a great show. Forever a cold-hearted pragmatist, Avon finds himself adopting a leadership role in Series 4 which he never really wanted but nevertheless feels compelled to take - what else is he going to do? Criticism has been levelled at Series 3 (in a great review on DVD times, I think? anyway) on the grounds that in the absence of Blake, the remaining crew just wander about relatively aimlessly and Avon, not a natural leader, is left without a real agenda. But I thought that was exactly the point and why series 3 is so interesting - Avon is forced into situations and associations for which he never planned and you get to see him struggle to find a purpose in the absence of Blake's 'simple-minded certainties'. After being so badly swindled in TERMINAL, it is clear that Avon is now hell bent on striking back in whatever way he can. So most episodes in Series 4 develop along the lines of Avon seeking to enlist the aid of various experts and specialists to get him the weapons/capabilities needed to fight the resurgent Federation - and finding himself double-crossed every step of the way. Avon as leader is unable to sit back and coolly evaluate the mistakes of others, and finds himself making errors in the heat of the situation - he becomes increasingly fallible. When combined with the stress of staying alive, Cally's death (ultimately his fault) and the loss of the Liberator, Avon becomes increasingly paranoid and reckless - to the point of shooting Blake in a moment of poignant misunderstanding to end the series.

Slave makes for a nice change from the efficient Zen and precocious Orac. His last words to Tarrant in the wreckage of Scorpio are another of the many memorable moments in the last episode. On that point, Stephen Pacey as Tarrant just gets better and better, and the scenes between him and Blake in the final episode are great.

Soolin and Dayna are strong, progressive female characters and Soolin shows herself to be perhaps the most canny of the group on a number of occasions.

Jacqueline Pearce, by Series 4, has perfected her role as Servalan (or Sleer) to the point where every motion, glance, expression and note in her speech is perfect. Witness her last appearance in Warlord - her smug self-assurance and treachery are mixed perfectly with sensuality and open manipulation - surely one of the best characters ever.

Series 4 does have some weaker episodes - but so did all the others and I always find something enjoyable in them. Stardrive and Power are probably the worst ones here and have several hilarious moments.

The effects have kept on improving and the direction and production are great as well - camera angles, frames and contrasts are very well thought out and when combined with the great stuff coming out of the BBC radiophonic workshop (I love the Xenon base background noise and the Zondor Brave New World horror scenes - 'you are loved' - great stuff) this is truly artful scifi.

Well I've had my rant - don't be put off by any bad reviews, enjoy series 4 and stick it through to the end - as a whole the entire Blakes 7 canon is unmatched.
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Location: Australia

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