A spaceship that travels through the galaxy with a crew that can beam down to planets and has a new encounter each episode may sound familiar, but that's about where the similarities with Star Trek end. For a start, here the crew are escaped convicts out to create a revolution against the tyrannical Federation. And very unlike Star Trek, they don't trust each other. The power games between Avon and Blake are mesmerising. Trying to work out everyone's real relationship with each other beyond the paranoia is fascinating. And having a 'real life' crew - they bump into each other in passageways and chat, they go off to 'lie down', get rounds of drinks in .. they get hangovers, they argue ... boy, do they argue ... swinging between anger, jealousy and affection for each other as they each try to establish where they fit in as a member of the crew.
Out of a group of misfits who just can't seem to get a plan together emerges an unusually powerful team. Enhanced by the undoubtedly Royal Shakespeare Company-esque thesp acting, these stories are compulsive viewing and I can honestly say I've never seen a series like it. As a fan of most sci-fi, for me it beats clearly other series such as Dr Who and Star Trek. The characters' relationships are the strong point of Blake's 7. The effects - for what little it matters - are non existent at the very beginning, even cardboard was stretching the budget, but one can see this change steadily as the series grew in popularity until they ended up as fairly respectable. Towards the end of Series 2 it all went a little odd, and so for me the first two series are the definitive Blake's 7. Here is a piece of genius from Terry Nation, creator of other mindblowingly imaginitive stuff from Rebecca's World to the Daleks. When watching this, you really do feel like you're watching a piece of good theatre.