Series / Blake's 7
Left to right: Vila, Blake, Jenna, Gan, Avon, Cally. In the background, Liberator.

Vila: Where are all the good guys?
Blake: You could be looking at them.
Avon: What a very depressing thought.

Blake's Seven is an iconic British SF series created by Terry Nation, who had earlier created the Daleks and the After the End drama series Survivors. It ran for four thirteen episode series between 1978 and 1981. The series takes place during the "third century of the new calendar" (fans estimate this as approximately 2700 AD). The series is about the quest of a group of rebels to overthrow the evil and fascistic Federation that controls Earth and most of the known Galaxy. Though it is sometimes referred to as a Space Opera, it tended to the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, particularly after a certain point. The format had elements of Wagon Train to the Stars. It was also lower-budget, and looked it.

It is distinctive in that most of its leading characters are of the Anti-Hero type rather than your usual clean-cut heroes. In fact, Avon, the lead of the latter two seasons, counted as an Anti-Villain. It's often seen as Nation's attempt to subvert Star Trek — the B7 Federation's logo is the Trek Federation logo rotated through 90 degrees — and other subversions of what, at the time, were standard Space Opera tropes are common.

Roj Blake (or just "Blake"—in The Verse, people usually used only a single name) had led a rebellion against the Federation which had been put down. Brainwashed, Blake had renounced the rebellion he led and was leading the life of a normal citizen until he was brought out of his brainwashing by a new group of rebels. Again, that putative rebellion was quashed and Blake was framed for crimes he didn't commit (child molestation, though this wasn't mentioned again after the second episode) and sent to a prison planet.

En route to exile, Blake and a group of prisoners managed to escape from captivity and take control of a mysterious, and very advanced, ship which they called the Liberator and resolved to fight back against the Federation. The series then chronicled their attempts, which were usually unsuccessful, to overthrow the Federation.

Blake was perhaps the only "good" character amongst the Seven but, though he sometimes appeared to be The Captain, he never had the full authority and respect from the others to truly perform the role. The other main characters in the series were: Kerr Avon (Avon), an amoral computer expert who refused to trust anyone — a real Anti-Hero; Jenna Stannis (Jenna), a smuggler who was the pilot of the Liberator during the first two series; Vila Restal (Vila), a cowardly thief; Cally, a humanoid telepath with kamikaze tendencies exiled from the planet Auron; and Olag Gan (Gan), a Gentle Giant, but only because he had a limiter fitted to his brain after he killed his girlfriend's murderer in a rage. Liberator was controlled by a sentient computer known as Zen.

The Federation was represented by an array of troopers, usually outfitted in uniforms of black leather and gas masks. For the first two series, the Seven were pursued by Travis, a psychotic killer (and The Dragon) dispatched to "seek, locate and destroy Blake" by Big Bad Servalan, the impossibly glamorous Supreme Commander (later President) of the Federation.

At the end of the first series, the Seven beat Servalan to the supercomputer Orac (originally presented as a Weapon of Mass Destruction but downgraded when it was kept on), which was capable of finding information on almost anything but was also programmed with the personality of its creator, an irascible old man.

The second series saw Blake determined to strike at the heart of the Federation by destroying its central computer — the series had a Story Arc, but often the quest for information about Star One was little more than a MacGuffin. The end of this arc shooed out some of the crew and introduced Del Tarrant (Tarrant), a former Federation officer who'd deserted, and weapons expert Dayna Mellanby (Dayna). Despite the departure of Gareth Thomas, who played Blake, the series retained its title, with Avon now becoming leader of the Seven.

The rather grim Season 3 finale was supposed to be the end of the series (and, indeed, was the last episode written by Nation), but a year later, the BBC brought it back, though without the active involvement of Nation. Another post-season reshuffle introduced the computer Slave and the female assassin Soolin. If anything, this final season was even darker than before, with one of the most surprising endings to ever grace a TV show.

Blake's Seven was clearly a strong influence on Farscape, Lexx, and Firefly, as well as having a minor influence on Babylon 5 — J. Michael Straczynski noted that, in writing all of Season 3, he was doing something that hadn't been attempted in SF TV since Terry Nation wrote all of Season 1 of Blake's Seven. It had a much stronger influence on the sequel series Crusade, which became even more obvious when information began to leak about plot developments that would have occurred had the show not been cancelled.

In 2007, a new Alternate Continuity radio version was produced with some interesting twists to the story, and from 2011 Big Finish has made, and is continuing to make, audio dramas featuring the original cast. (For more, see the Audio Play page.)

Big Finish is also publishing a series of novels, including a trilogy about Avon by Paul Darrow which is largely set twenty years after the events of "Blake".

One of those shows that's perpetually on the cusp of a big-budget revival. A couple of scripts were ordered for a possible TV revival at one point. ...Then it was gone again. Then there was a possibility SyFy would reboot it. They even did concept art, but it appeared to lapse quietly back into Development Hell.

Some familiar plots used in the series:

There's quite a strong element of sexual tension within the show, though much of it is beneath the surface, mainly because it was originally shown in an early evening timeslot. Fans note much subtextual Ho Yay in many of the male relationships. Amongst British SF fandom, Blake/Avon (or Avon/Blake — the order can be very important to fans) slash fiction is very popular, as is Avon/Tarrant.

Blake's Seven provides examples of:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills - "I was aiming for his head!"
  • Ace Pilot: Jenna and Tarrant. Everyone else learns basic piloting techniques, but anything complicated is left to them.
  • Action Girl - Most of the women in the series can handle themselves in a fight, but Dayna, by virtue of youth and sheer variety/depth of combat skill, stands out.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot - While Orac does not have homicidal tendencies, he is frequently reluctant to follow orders given to him, dismissing them as irrelevant waste of time. Zen, on the other hand, deliberately withholds information from the crew on more than one occasion until the crew takes "full" control of the Liberator at the end of "Redemption". It's also the back-story to the same episode (well, unless the enslavement of the entire star system including its builders was intended). Mueller's android is an evil, homicidal machine that can control any other machine, and wished to use this ability to conquer the universe.
  • Aliens Made Them Do It: Tarrant and Servalan in "Sand", and attempted unsuccessfully on Tarrant and Dayna in "Ultraworld".
  • Amazon Brigade: The mutoids used as soldiers by Servalan and Travis.
  • Ambiguously Human: Cally the Auron, whose nature unfortunately changes from season to season; she was initially portrayed and repeatedly described as a very humanoid alien, but later became an artificially enhanced clone from an isolationist human society. Might also be an example of Human Aliens, depending on what you believe.
    • Also, various planetary populations encountered by the crew who appear human but have ancient civilizations predating the Earth colonies. Some are explicitly stated to be Human Aliens, others are left ambiguous.
  • Anti-Hero: Avon.
  • Anyone Can Die: And how.
  • Arm Cannon: Travis's gun hand.
  • Artifact Title: A pre-and-post variant thereof; There aren't seven of them until the end of the third episode, when Cally joins. After that, the number usually stays close to seven, but varies... and after the end of series two, it's not Blake's any more.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Season one had two "meteor storms", with lots of rocks hitting the ship as if it were a heavy hailstorm or an avalanche.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Those metal gun-holsters in season 4 look very fancy, but more than once the characters have trouble putting their guns away. Blooper reels also show that, thanks to the trigger being built into the handle, they had a tendency to accidentally discharge when an actor picked one up.
  • Batman Gambit: Servalan in the appropriately titled "Gambit".
  • BBC Quarry - The surface of an alien planet is usually this.
  • Beeping Computers - Both Zen and Orac: with Zen making a variety of humming noises, and Orac making a particularly irritating set of high-pitched beeps.
  • Big Bad: Servalan.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Servalan is this to Space Command staff, most of whom seem to find her a charming lady. (Until she outmanoeuvres them.)
  • Black and Grey Morality: Especially in the final season, where there is nobody left in the regular cast who isn't a Nominal Hero.
  • Boarding Party: The original team is formed when, having lost several of his own men exploring a deserted alien ship, the commander of the prison ship sends a boarding party comprised of prisoners. Not like that's going to go wrong.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The final episode ended with all the heroes apparently getting shot. Had there been a fifth season it would have been revealed that basically, any actor who wanted to do Series E would "survive", but at that point the show got cancelled. Fanon has it that Vila, at least, survived, as when he is 'shot', he falls the wrong way, early - faking being hit , or so the story goes. And likewise, almost everything Paul Darrow was involved in afterwards, from the trilogy of novels he wrote to his involvement in Kaldor City as the suspiciously familiar "Kaston Iago", says Avon survived too.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Servalan benefits from a heroic version of this, especially from Tarrant in "Sand", when she was responsible for his brother's death in the previous season. It also happens a lot to Travis until Avon finally kills him in "Star One".
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Discussed in "Space Fall" when Gan threatens to take off the guard's hand if he doesn't use it to open the door with a palm scan. The guard wisely agrees.
  • Bus Crash ( Jenna), (assuming Blake is telling the truth, and not just throwing out the name to see how Tarrant reacts)
  • Butt-Monkey: if Vila isn't, nobody is.
  • Camp: A fair amount, intentional and not.
  • Canon Welding - Chris Boucher's spin-off works have suggested that the show takes place in the same time period and spatial area as his popular Doctor Who story "The Robots Of Death". It could have happened earlier and with a much higher profile, as Tom Baker and some of the actors from Blake's wanted to do a crossover story, and Terry Nation originally wanted the alien invasion at the end of S2 to be the Daleks from Doctor Who. Which would have been awesome.
  • The Caper
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: This series has several forms of Faster-Than-Light Travel; Time-Distort and Hyperdrives (which may or may not be the same thing) are used by the Federation. The Liberator uses a different, more exotic method that involves "crossing the antimatter threshold." In the 4th season, Scorpio is fitted with an experimental Photonic Drive that is faster than anything else. All these systems differ in maximum speed, with the Liberator and Scorpio outclassing just about everything else, but all of them are apparently very fast; the crew darts around the galaxy and is able to return to Earth to strike at the Federation's heart without too much extended space travel.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: Earth has experienced a nuclear war, though the environment appears to have recovered. People live in domed cities, but that's more for comfort and convenience (and it's implied, for social control) because they're not used to the outside world. The calendar has been changed, there's some Future Imperfect references and no discussion on the causes or outcomes of the conflict. Once the protagonists leave Earth, they encounter several planets that have reverted to barbarism due to war or social collapse.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Blake has a bad case; the Liberator crew's general exhaustion and frustration from mid-Season Two onward is a testament to it.
  • Cliffhanger: "FIRE!"
  • Cold Equation: "Orbit" and "Stardrive".
  • Combat by Champion: "Death-Watch".
  • Comm Links: The team's teleport bracelets also acted as Comm Links.
  • Computerized Judicial System: Aspects of Travis' trial in "Trial" and Blake's show trial in "The Way Back".
  • The Con: "Gambit" and "Gold"
  • Cool Starship: The Liberator, a mysterious, fantastically powerful alien craft; when they board it, Jenna and Avon find an on-board treasure room and a vast costume closet. It has numerous crew amenities, a teleport system, a BFG and a sentient computer.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Veron
  • Cradling Your Kill: Avon does this after he shoots Anna.
  • Crapsack World: The show is generally extremely cynical, and gets even more so as it progresses. The "good" characters are generally either Nominal Heroes or Well Intentioned Extremists, the victories against the Federation are minor and temporary, and increasingly rare in later seasons. The Federation is nearly destroyed at the beginning of Season 3 by the Andromedan invasion, but gradually gets back up to full power despite the resistance's efforts. And of course there's the notorious ending.
  • Crossover: The Daleks would have shown up in the Season Finale to Season 2. (Terry Nation created and owned them, after all.) This did not happen. However, a guest character, Carnell, turned up in a Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel, Corpse Marker by Blake's 7 Script Editor Chris Boucher.
  • Cult Colony: Cygnus Alpha, under BRIAN BLESSED.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Mutoids have their memories (and thus personalities) wiped. They also feed on blood.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season 2 carries a noticeably darker undertone than the first season did, exemplified when Blake attempts his first major assault on the Federation in "Pressure Point," which ends in failure, and Gan paying the price with his life. Season 3 was nearer the first season's adventurous tone, but was followed by Season 4, by far the show's darkest season despite some early goofiness.
  • Dating Catwoman: Avon and Servalan in Season 3. Or at least awkwardly making out with Catwoman.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Avon, all-consumingly. The rest of the cast qualifies as well, just not to the same extent.
  • Death in the Clouds: Recycled In Space in "Mission to Destiny". The crew of the Liberator come across a space freighter with its pilot murdered, the controls sabotaged, and the crew all unconscious. The Liberator has to take the freighter's valuable cargo to its destination, while Avon and Cally stay to help with repairs and (of course) solve the mystery.
  • Debut Queue: Vila and Jenna get introduced to Blake at the very end of the first episode, Avon and Gan are introduced in the second, Zen in the third, and Cally finally turns up to complete the original team in the fourth. When the first major round of cast changes happened at the beginning of the third season, Dayna and Tarrant were respectively introduced in the first and second episodes.
  • Decoy Protagonist: New viewers watching the first episode might assume the thoroughly likable Varon (Blake's lawyer) and Maja (Varon's wife) are going to be major characters, as they have a lot of screen time, and spend much of "The Way Back" attempting to help Blake. New viewers would be wrong in this assumption.
    • In the following two episodes it's also left up in the air who the rest of the Seven will be, with characters introduced only to be killed off. The full compliment is only established in "Time Squad", and one of them is a computer.
  • Depending on the Writer: Happened to Servalan, Avon and Vila, Tarrant and Cally in later seasons. After Terry Nation left the show this got so bad for the character of Avon that Paul Darrow gave up and started playing him as slowly losing his mind to compensate for it.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Egrorian in "Orbit" — although initially he's very closely attached to his one-time student Pinder, he has no problems blowing him off in favour of a relationship with Servalan. Also Krantor in "Gambit", who similarly is strongly implied to be same-sex lovers with his sidekick Toise but flirts heavily with Servalan as well.
  • Diabolus ex Machina
  • "Die Hard" on an X: "Powerplay"
  • Downer Ending: Especially in series 3 and 4. Had there been a series 5, there might have been some redemption from the down-ness of series 4's ending.
  • The Dragon: Travis
  • Easily Conquered World: In Season 4 the Terran Federation is suddenly able to reconquer several planets they lost during the upheavals of the past year. Turns out they've developed a drug called Pylene-50 that blocks the production of adrenaline. It's hard to resist a tyranny when you can't get angry or aggressive about it.
  • '80s Hair: Not every woman, but Jenna definitely (especially in series 1), actually being the 80s notwithstanding.
    • Tarrant has the male equivalent. In fact, most of Servalan's high ranking male subordinates at Space Command seem to have this as well. Since Tarrant is a former Federation officer turned deserter and smuggler, this kind of makes sense.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Xenon Base
  • Eldritch Abomination: The dark entity that tried to take over Cally in "Shadow."
  • The Empire: Though it's called The Federation (occasionally the Terran Federation), it's not The Federation in anything except some of its own propaganda. Puppet states and rigged elections on its frontiers are par for the course.
  • Enemy Mine: Season 2's cliffhanger.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil - Most prominently Servalan, also Morag, Major Thania, and others.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Avon snarkily explaining how the door panels work in "Space Fall", thus showing off his love of computers and his love of being rude to people he thinks are dumber than him. (Which is, of course, everyone.)
    • Cally knocking Blake over with her gun, and speaking to him telepathically combines her fighter nature with her dislike of actual violence, and demonstrates her telepathy.
    • Vila trying to take Blake's watch shows he's a thief in "The Way Back", though it's presented initially as being a compulsive behaviour rather than something he does because he's good at it, as in later episodes.
    • Gan threatening to tear a guard's hand off in order to make him open a door.
    • Dayna's Big Damn Heroes moment by saving Avon from some angry natives with her bow and arrow.
    • Tarrant, disguised as a Federation officer, casually introducing himself to Avon and Dayna and asking what they're doing on his ship.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In "City at the Edge of the World", Beyban the Butcher (played by Colin Baker) speaks fondly of his mother ("Wonderful woman. Truly evil personality.").
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Beyban again, who is disgusted that Blake edged him out of the #1 spot on the Federation's "Most Wanted" list by resorting to quick n' easy politics, unlike Beyban's earning that honor over the course of a long and brutal career.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Happens a few times, usually when someone's cracked a joke at Vila's expense. However a more notorious example is in "Children of Auron" when Avon cracks a lame joke and everyone laughs after almost every member of Cally's race gets killed with biological warfare, including her sister.
  • Evil Is Hammy: "Evil" is an open question, but it's certainly true that the more embittered and compromised Avon becomes, the more studs he wears, poses he strikes, and lines he delivers in staccato barks.
  • Explosive Decompression: A few times people apparently explode after being teleported into space. However, it's explained the first time it happens that this isn't them exploding under internal pressure - it's the result of teleporting somebody over too long a distance so that the device can't put them back together again. On one occasion when a person gets Thrown Out the Airlock, we see a model body drift away without exploding.
  • Faceless Goons: The Federation's always gas-masked troopers. Subverted in some episodes where we see them take the masks off for breaks, or if you the viewer are going to have to remember which one is who.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The ending of a very large number of episodes involve this trope.
  • Fake in the Hole - Avon throws a stone into a nest of Federation troops, shouting "Grenade!" The troops reflexively dive for cover, and when they realize it was fake and look up, the heroes have them at gunpoint.
    Avon: "It must have been a dud. Sorry about that."
  • Fake Memories: Some children get ones of Blake molesting them in the pilot so he can be wrongly sent to a penal colony.
  • Famed In-Story: Blake. Servalan tries to stamp this out by putting in place a total news blackout in regards to him.
  • Fan of the Past: A number of planets resembled 20th century locations, and this was used several times due to the famously low budget.
  • Fantastic Drug: Shadow from the episode of that name. There's also "adrenaline and soma" in episodes written by Allan Prior, a Shout-Out to Brave New World. The adrenaline is drunk as a stimulant (whether it's actual adrenaline or just a brand name is unknown) with the soma presumably a downer to take the edge off.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel; Time-Distort and Hyperdrives (which may or may not be the same thing) are used by the Federation; the Liberator uses a different, more exotic propulsion. In the 4th season, Scorpio is fitted with super-fast experimental Photonic Drive. All of these propulsion methods are limited to travel within the Milky Way Galaxy. The alien invaders from Andromeda, however, have an unspecified "intergalactic drive."
  • Faux Affably Evil: Servalan, with her creepy smile and slippery charm.
  • Final Season Casting: Glynis Barber as Soolin.
  • Fix Fic: The episode "Sand" appears to be a Fix Fic for the dubious characterisation of Servalan in the earlier episode "The Harvest of Kairos".
  • Frame-Up: Blake is the subject of one in the pilot.
  • Freudian Trio: The "Power Trio". Blake, Avon and Jenna, the three strongest personalities aboard Liberator and her first crew.
    • Id: Blake — idealistic, charismatic, and the leading figure of the Rebellion
    • Superego: Avon — holds self-preservation as the only real value (and wealth the best tool to achieve it)
    • Ego: Jenna — quite possibly as ruthless as Avon, respects Blake for his ideals but won't follow him off the metaphorical cliff
  • Friendly Enemy: Avon and Vila have this sort of relationship. On a personal level, they despise one another. On a professional level, they have tremendous respect for each others skills (Avon as a computer expert, Vila as a master thief).
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Federation troopers as noted above.
  • Gender Flip: Servalan was originally a man.
  • Ghost Ship: "Sarcophagus".
  • Gilligan Cut: In "Dawn of the Gods" the rest of the crew try and persuade Vila to put on a spacesuit and take a look outside the ship
    Vila: Oh no. Not me. Not a space suit. Well, it wasn't my idea. I never did trust those things. Nothing, absolutely nothing in the whole galaxy can or will persuade me to wear one. Not a chance.
    (Cut to the air lock where Vila is wearing a spacesuit)
    • In "Rescue", the only spacecraft on the planet is on the other side of a sealed door, so our heroes leave Vila to get it open while they look for another entrance. Their search is futile, but their Master of Unlocking must have the other door open by now, surely? Cut to Vila next to an open the wine cabinet.
    Vila: There's something very suspicious about a man who keeps his booze under lock and key.
  • Girly Run
    • Blake and Avon run like girls. It's oddly appropriate when you consider Blake is an engineer and Avon is a computer tech.
    • Travis gets one too, from the hips down (he was being doubled by another actor); in a documentary on the series, they point out that the director wanted a pell-mell run, but the set was so small that doing that would have resulted in smacking into (or, just as likely, straight through) the far wall. The attempt to find a compromise between artistic vision and safety results in sort of a bouncy, skipping... thing...
  • Good Is Not Nice
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Dutch metal band Star One is named for the series, and their song "Intergalactic Space Crusaders" is pretty much a progressive metal Filk Song with the two singers playing the parts of Blake and Avon.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: The cult on Cygnus Alpha's fake medicine, plus the various tricks pulled by The Government back on Earth to keep people in line, from fake memories to tranquilizers in the food on nearly every Federation planet. The Federation also turns out to have a hand in the production of Shadow, a dangerous narcotic. In Season 4, the Federation develops a pacifying drug that enables them to quickly reconquer the empire they just lost, and there's a story arc involving the attempt to develop a countermeasure.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • On the prison transport in "Space Fall" they station a lone guard inside the prisoners' room, whose palm print can open the door from there. Naturally, once the camera is taken out he's overpowered and coerced to open the door by Gan threatening that they'll simply take off his hand if he refuses.
    • From a review of the episode "Bounty":
    " say nothing of the guards' color codes, which include Red Standby Alert (apparently meaning stand around and do nothing), Red Mobilisation (wander around outside the house), and Blue Mobilisation (allow the President and his daughter to escape in a vintage car accompanied by two terrorists)."
  • The Gunslinger: Soolin.
  • Gut Punch: A notorious one at the end of the very first episode. The hero has been framed for child abuse by the evil government and is about to be sent to a penal colony, but his heroic Crusading Lawyer and the lawyer's girlfriend have discovered proof of the government's corruption and are about to blow everything sky-high. Then in the last-but-one scene of the episode the lawyer and his girlfriend are casually blown away by government agents. The prison ship takes off. The end.
  • Hammerspace: Dayna's preferred weapon is basically an explosive, heat-seeking roomba that she carries around... where?
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Most of the cast; Avon is the earliest and most prominent case (unless we're willing to count the Federation trooper in the intro sequence).
  • Hero of Another Story: (Or possibly villain) The System, the race that created the Liberator.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • As noted in the description, Blake and Avon themselves were favourites among early slash writers. "Terminal" especially.
    • "Rescue" is basically The Picture of Dorian Gray IN SPACE! with much of the subtext intact.
    • It usually pops up in one form or another in Creator//Robert Holmes' episodes, most notably between Krantor and Toise in "Gambit," and Egrorian and Pinder in "Orbit". Although the standards of the time meant that they couldn't actually be called lovers on-screen, Holmes made it pretty much as obvious as you can get without outright saying the G-word. (They are also inevitably villains. Well, half of them anyway; Krantor and Egrorian were outright villainous, but Toise didn't really care for Krantor's schemes and just wanted to focus on running the casino, while Pinder was neutral.)
  • Human Aliens: Some Planets Of The Week are inhabited by descendants of human colonists, others, whose inhabitants look human, are explicitly stated to be Human Aliens.
  • Hypocritical Humour: In "Space Fall" it's suggested Avon may collaborate with their captors to get himself set free. Vila calls him a "cold-hearted, murdering..." and then immediately suggests they kill him now before he can do it.
  • Idiosyncratic Season Naming: The series rather than the episodes, but (probably due to the production codes) it's become traditional to refer to the four series as A, B, C and D rather than 1,2,3 and 4.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Everyone wears wonderfully bizarre clothes, which never appear to get in the way of their adventures. Skin tight leather, very long dresses, cleavage (and not just the women) and puffy sleeves abound. Jenna, for example, once saves the day in a gorgeous blue ankle-length evening dress and high-heel boots, even though her coming to the rescue would have involved climbing a lot of ladders.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Blake's lawyer in the pilot realises the man he's talking to is involved in the conspiracy when he mentions tunnels, which the lawyer hadn't brought up.
  • Infant Immortality: Tragically averted in "Children of Auron" when Servalan destroys a facility full of cloned foetuses, particularly significant since she emotionally broke down immediately after (in a tearful pained way, not an angry villainous way). She'd had her genetic material implanted into some foetuses but had been tricked into believing it had been removed, but as soon as she'd fired she said knew they were hers and she "felt them die".
  • Insult Backfire: "He was calling me a machine. But since he undoubtedly defines himself as a human being, I shall choose to take that as more of a compliment than anything else." You'd have thought Vila would have known better than to try and insult Avon in such a fashion.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism: Used by Blake in the episode "Bounty."
  • Invisible President: We are never shown the unnamed President, though we see a number of his underlings. This is quite brilliant, as it suggests the Federation is vast, and the President has better things to do than run around after Blake. This unfortunately get averted when Servalan becomes President, and appears to have all the time in the world to chase after Avon. (Presumably the original President didn't have Unresolved Sexual Tension with Blake like Servalan has with Avon.)
  • It's All About Me: Vila and Servalan. Avon pretends to be this.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Avon spends most of Series 1 and 2 trying to get everyone to try a pair on, with varying success.
  • Jiggle Show: famously parodied on radio show The Burkiss Way.
    Attention Earthlings! if you do not surrender immediately we will be forced to put on the ill-fitting clothes and the thinly disguised motorcycle helmets, and ponce up and down in the high-heeled leather boots, in the company of lots of women with no bras on!
  • Kangaroo Court: Blake's trial is decided ahead of time, since he was framed. However, he didn't help his case by refusing to even offer a defense, because he was innocent.
  • Kill 'em All: The series finale.
  • Kill Him Already!
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Blake turns into this.
  • La Résistance: Lots of planets have their own Resistance cells against Federation control, and there are elements of an interplanetary underground of freethinkers opposed to the Federation.
  • Large Ham: Many, especially by the end. Well-acted, but not understated.
    • "Is it true? Have you betrayed us? Have. You. Betrayed. ME?" (Shatner would be proud)
  • Licenced Sexist: Avon becomes a hardcore sexist in any episode written by Ben Steed. The most blatant instance is in the episode "Power", where he actually lectures a female villain on how women are inherently less strong than men, and how they should learn their proper place in society. Fortunately the other writers treated Avon in a much more even-handed way, giving him much respect for his female colleagues and even Servalan to a certain extent.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In season 4, when they're in reduced circumstances, the cast wears the same clothes episode after episode; it's not a perfect example, because they do change once or twice, but it's pretty striking after three seasons of lavishly Unlimited Wardrobe.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: A major second-season death.
  • Locked in a Room
  • MacGuffin: In damn near every episode.
  • Machine Empathy: Jenna can tell the hyperdrive of the London "needs restressing, by the feel of things."
  • The Mad Hatter: By the final series, Avon is clearly well into a psychotic break. In the final episode, he implicitly describes himself as a psychopath. Paul Darrow considers Avon "under stress" rather than actually mad, at least up until that point.
  • Magical Computer: Zen, Orac, Slave.
  • Magnificent Seven
  • Married to the Job: Servalan, who states that "power became [her] lover" when her boyfriend left her. It has to be said that the rebel's work-life balance is also terrible.
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture:
    • The series had the System, a civilization controlled by the three powerful defense computers of the three inhabited planets of their solar system, which built the starship DSV-1. The System was administered by Altas (either cyborgs, androids, or augmented humans) and black-armored guards that appeared to be cybernetically augmented humans. There were also thousands of human slaves, descendants of the people who had built the computers that had taken over their civilization.
    • Similarly, the Ultra of Ultraworld in Series 3 are blue-skinned humanoid creatures either summoned or created by Ultraworld (a living, artificial planet/giant computer centered around an enormous brain) to interact with captured starship crews, whom Ultraworld intends to absorb into its gestalt. They walk with a jerky gait and speak in odd, robot-like cadences. The "menials," assimilated humanoid servants, are also examples of this trope: their identity, memories and emotions are recorded on a tube and stored in a library. They behave mechanistically as they toil about, maintaining Ultraworld.
    • The Federation has rigid autocratic tendencies, computerized trials, and Star One, a computer complex that controls various functions of their society. They have "grades," hierarchical classes of citizens, and Federation colonies are highly controlled environments with pharmaceuticals pumped into the air and water to pacify the people. The Federation could be said to be an example of this.
  • Mind Rape: Apparently Standard Operating Procedure for The Federation who will do it for pretty much any reason to their opponents (Blake was brainwashed into forgetting his dissident past), and even to innocent children (They brainwash several children into believing they'd been molested by Blake so they would have some credible witnesses with which they could smear and exile him).
  • Mirror Match: Soolin gunslinging against herself in "Games".
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Avon pretends to be this but is in fact the most philanthropic member of the crew.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Blake's case, in which he was framed for molesting children with fake memories, convicted and sent to a penal colony.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Way down on the soft end in the original series and the Big Finish revival. Way up at the hard end for the reboot audio dramas though, which have retooled away Time Distort drives in favour of talk about fixed mass points and delta-v, depict the Federation as lacking artificial gravity technology, and even remove Liberator's teleport.
  • Mook Mobile: Any Federation Pursuit Ship not commanded by Travis or Servalan.
  • Morality Chip: In Gan.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tarrant, quite consciously if you believe Word of God. Avon also has a lot of fans.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Notably the marble-sized plague sphere which came within a gnats whisker of killing the crew in Project Avalon. There should have been any number of ways of smuggling that weapon about the Liberator, and it would have been a short show if Servalan had bothered to try.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Federation pursuit ships were often more effectively conveyed through pinlights than model shots. It also added a sense of distance to the space battles.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Vila's favourite way of getting out of anything dangerous. Some fans speculate that Avon sees right through it, and his grudging admiration for just how good Vila is at it is the reason he never quite resorts to cold-blooded murder.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The President's offsiders Rontane and Bercol, who are sent to threaten Servalan on the President's behalf.
  • One Extra Member: Inverted. The team never had more than six human members. You had to include one or more of their sentient computers to bring the group up to seven.
  • Only One Name: All the main characters are known by one name only, and it is inconsistent as to whether it is their first or last name. It's not established in the case of Cally, Soolin, Servalan and Travis if they even have another name.
    • It seems to be that upper class folks use their family names, while lower class characters use their given names.
  • Painted-On Pants: Common among Liberator crew members. Apparently, Paul Darrow once wore a pair of leather trousers that were so tight, he had to be helped up and down in scenes where Avon was kneeling down to do something technical.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Vila, the noted lockpicker, when stuck in a hatch (also an example of Hypocritical Humor).
    Avon: (on vox) Use your delicate, skillful touch.
    (Vila kicks the hatch open instead)
    Vila: I used my delicate, skillful boot.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Played with in "Ultraworld". Dayna has a microgrenade hidden in a tooth, which she primes by putting it back in her mouth and adjusting it with her teeth.
  • Planetary Parasite: Zil is one of a humanoid species of parasites who live on the surface of a living planet called "Host."
  • Planet Terra: The Terran Federation.
  • Playing Drunk: At one point, Vila pretends to be drunk so he can make a suggestion on how to fix the current problem (atmosphere leaking out of a hole in the hull) in the form of a rambling reminiscence, but not be called on to undertake the repair himself (because you couldn't give such a dangerous task to someone who was obviously drunk).
  • Pretty Boy: It is established in canon that Servalan likes to surround herself with these, leading Travis to sneer at her "decorative staff men".
  • Pretty in Mink: Servalan, often.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Several primitive tribes, including the Goths, Hommicks and Sarrans.
  • Psychic Radar: Cally, the Auron telepath pulls this trick to sneak up on Blake when she's introduced.
  • Psycho Sidekick: Avon while he's second-in-command to Blake, though he only went really round the twist when Blake vanished and left him in charge for the next two seasons.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Practically everyone we see in the Federation is either worldly weary and just trying to get on with their day, or cooly indifferent.
  • The Quincy Punk: The Space Rats are violent Outlaw Bikers IN SPACE who have gigantic mohawks and glam-rock facial make-up. Not so much "stereotype punk" as "three different countercultures shoved in a blender".
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The entire crew is basically this.
  • Raygun Gothic: As much as the budget would allow
  • Rearrange the Song: The inappropriately jolly end credit theme on the final season.
  • Rebel Leader: Blake, though he ventures into morally hazy territory. Avon from Series 3 onwards, not that he wants to be. A number of others appear over the course of the series, including Avalon and Kasabi.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized/The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Depending on the point of view of the character. Blake, of course, thinks the latter.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Only two characters, Avon and Vila, made it through all four seasons as regulars. (Peter Tuddenham appeared on all four seasons, but playing three different regular characters.) Michael Keating (Vila) was the only actor to appear in every episode of the show, as Avon wasn't introduced until the second episode.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Federation Mind Raped Blake into condemning his own revolution, imprisoned him, drugged him to keep him docile, murdered his family and eventually framed him for child molestation and sent him to a Prison Planet. His decisions subsequently are driven at least in part by a desire for some payback.
  • Robots Are Just Better: In "Death-Watch" a war is fought via Combat by Champion, but one side cheats by using an android. When the two champions agree to settle matters with a Quick Draw showdown, the android instantly outdraws his opponent, despite the latter being an experienced gunfighter famous for his Quick Draw. The question then becomes for our heroes, how do you defeat an opponent who's faster than human?
  • Rousing Speech: Blake likes to try and give these, much to Avon's eternal annoyance.
  • Sanity Slippage: Avon and Travis most clearly. Some would also say Blake.
  • Sapient Ship - the starship Liberator is fully sapient but entirely mechanical. In the recent audiobook remake/reboot of the series, the ship is at least partly biological and considerably more sinister, attempting to assimilate the crew into itself and being rather predatory in its attempts to survive.
  • Science Is Wrong: A subtle but quite clever example in "Cygnus Alpha". When Blake points out that the speed the Liberator is apparently travelling would "cross the antimatter interface", which is thought to be physically impossible, Avon points out that people used to think the same thing about the light barrier.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • The number of planets featured on screen and their close proximity to each other in almost any given shot of the Liberator flying through space is absurd.
    • In "Duel", Travis exhalts that the other Federation patrols have pushed the Liberator into this galaxy. One assumes he meant solar system.
    • In "Star One", a space minefield blocks the invasion route between our galaxy and Andromeda. Minefields are only effective when they guard chokepoints. In this case the invasion fleet could simply maneuver around it.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You
  • Season Finale: Each one ended in a cliffhanger
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: The Liberator had self-repair circuits allowing the ship to repair itself without help from the crew. The speed of repair generally depended on the level of damage; the worse the damage, the faster the repairs. Justified by minor damage being harder to locate.
  • '70s Hair: Tame, perhaps, but certainly present. In particular, Vila has significant sideburns, and Blake's hair is curly and 'fro-shaped.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Blake is this In-Universe.
  • Sleazy Politician: Abound, as this is a Crapsack World. Servalan is the most prominent example.
  • Sour Supporter: Avon
  • Space Clothes: A classic example; pulpy and elaborate, with lots of weird Elizabethan touches.
  • Space Opera
  • Space Pirates: Jenna is a 'free trader' i.e. a smuggler. Also, her...ex-colleagues, the Amagons.
  • SpaceX: All over the place. Apparently this is part of Terry Nation's Signature Style.
  • Spiritual Predecessor: To Farscape. Grayza's resemblance to Servalan is an acknowledgment.
  • Spit Take: Avon does a rather big one in "Gambit".
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The show might be called Blake's 7 but Avon is in more episodes, is more popular with fans, and is more interesting.
  • The So-Called Coward: Vila's unwillingness to put his neck on the line stemmed from the fact that he didn't especially care about Blake's revolution and most of his alleged comrades-in-arms seemed to regard him as expendable. When it came to the lives of anyone who treated him with a modicum of respect, however, Vila could be surprisingly badass.
  • The Squadette: Every armed resistance group or Federation base appears to have a single female member in a speaking role, while everyone else is male. There are never any female mooks in the background, silently working their way up the ranks to the position of Supreme Commander or Rebel Leader.
  • Tsundere: Fanon would have you believe that Avon is a male version.
  • Star Trek Shake
  • Story Arc: An early example and sometimes a slightly meandering one, but when the arcs get going...
  • Stuff Blowing Up
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: All the incoming leads are of the same gender as departing leads, and will usually fit the general archetype of a departed character. (Except that Tarrant, of course, is nothing like Blake when it comes to his motivations. On the other hand... bouffant hair, steers the Liberator, is a bit of a space pirate... yep, he's actually the new Jenna).
    • And then there's the Scorpio. For the first three seasons, the Liberator is the cast's greatest asset because it has two technologies that the Federation cannot match: its speed and its teleporter. When the Liberator is destroyed at the end of Season three, they find a new ship, the Scorpio. It also has a superintelligent talking computer (something not seen on most human ships) and a teleporter system! What are the odds? But it's not very fast... until about the fourth episode of the season when they find a new super speed technology.
  • Synthetic Plague: Used by Servalan (apparently not the same one both times) in "Project Avalon" and "Children of Auron".
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: If there is an occasion that the crew of the Liberator do something together without snarking at each other, we are never show it. On the other hand, they do quite genuinely look out for each other, though Avon likes to pretend he doesn't.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Liberator and Scorpio both possessed teleports, which required bracelets to operate. The bracelets were also communicators. A few other aliens could teleport, too, either psionically or using technology. The matter-transmission system on Keezarn appeared to function more like a physical gateway than a teleporter.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Several episodes would feature a couple of bored Federation flunkeys discussing politics or the local situation before being drawn into the action.
  • Title Drop: Notably averted; "Blakes' 7" or "The Seven" is never uttered once in the course of the series. It isn't even used much among fans, who tends to refer to the cast as "the crew of the Liberator" or "the crew of the Scorpio".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Fourth-season Avon, debatably; he spends decreasing amounts of time fixing the computer and increasing amounts of time shooting people and smiling coldly in a studded leather jacket, but he's about as effectual as usual.
  • Tragedy: The whole four-season mega-arc could be read as Avon's, with his great flaw being the inability to trust.
  • Tragic Mistake: Followed by a record-settingly abrupt downfall.
  • Trash the Set: The Liberator at the end of season 3, the Xenon base in the penultimate episode, and the Scorpio in the finale.
  • True Companions: One example among many: After Avon saves Blake from an explosion:
    Blake: Thank you...why?
    Avon: Automatic reaction. I'm as surprised as you are.
    Blake: I'm not surprised.
    Avon: (uneasy look)
  • Tyop on the Cover: The official Blake's 7 logo has no apostrophe, rendering it simply "Blakes 7" (something for which it has been gently mocked more once).
  • Unperson: Happens to Servalan during "Terminal", when she is overthrown by the Federation High Council while hunting the Liberator to replace the Federation fleet. They install a new government dominated by the secret police instead of the military, and officially erase her from existence and pretend her period as president did not occur. She hides under an assumed name as Commissioner Sleer and manages to become a high ranking secret police commander and oversees a program of retaking Federation colonies that declared independence after the alien invasion using mind control drugs. People recognize her and she murders them as needed to hide her true identity.
  • Unresolved Cliffhanger: Contrary to what the final episode showed, there were plans for a fifth season, but the BBC decided not to renew the series. As a result, the show was Left Hanging.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Avon and Cally. One kiss when she's under alien possession doesn't really count.
  • Used Future: The low budget alternative to Raygun Gothic, used creatively to hide the holes in the budget. The look of most Federation ships and facilities (played by industrial locations) contributed to this.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The Federation seems to be this, judging by the various detached bureaucrats attending meetings about "the Blake situation".
  • Villain Ball: At the end of "Rumours of Death", Servalan has Avon dead to rights, but she tells him to signal for a teleport before she kills him, so she can send his crew a corpse. Naturally she's distracted at the critical moment and Avon survives.
  • Vinyl Shatters: In an early episode, there's a Fan of the Past who spends a lot of time listening to a song on an antique 20th century gramophone. (The writers have admitted that this was a ruse to fill in time because the script was too short.) Near the end of the episode Blake snatches the disc off the turntable and smashes it.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Andromedan invaders at the end of Series 2 assumed human form through a difficult process and struggled to maintain it; they reverted to their amorphous, green form upon death.
  • Vulcan Has No Moon: Many exterior shots of the Liberator flying through space (e.g. in the opening titles of season one and two) feature lots of big spheres in view at the same time.
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: especially the third season.
  • Walking Disaster Area: The Seven tend to leave the places they visit littered with more dead bodies than when they arrived....
  • Was It All a Lie? - Avon and Anna Grant in "Rumours of Death". Anna even says "It wasn't all lies."
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction
  • We Can Rule Together - Servalan offers this to Avon. He rebuffs her, well aware of her Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist - Blake was descending into this by the climax of the Star One story arc. Destroying the Master Computer for the whole Federation (apparently We Will Use Dumb Terminals In The Future) would severely weaken the Federation's hold over its territory, but at the cost of a massive humanitarian crisis and a complete breakdown of law and order.
  • Wham Episode - "Star One", "Terminal", and "Blake" are the big three. "Pressure Point" deserves a mention, having the first death of a main character.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Notably, the fate of the clone of Blake from "Weapon" is never revealed. Some people believe that's why Servalan seemed so certain Blake was dead - she may have encountered the clone again. Blake in the finale notably can't be the clone, because he was with Jenna.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Scorpio, after obtaining a "Photonic Drive," goes from "obsolete freighter" to "fastest ship in the galaxy."
  • White Void Room: At the end of "Pressure Point".
  • With Lyrics - Briefly considered for Series Four, to be sung by the actor who played Tarrant, but discarded. You can see why.
  • Woman in White: Servalan until late Season Two
  • World of Snark
  • Would Hit a Girl
    • Avon in "Mission to Destiny": "I really rather enjoyed that."
    • Also Soolin: "There are only two ways to deal with a hysterical woman. You didn't expect me to KISS her, did you?"
  • Writer on Board: The three episodes written by Ben Steed ("The Harvest of Kairos", "Moloch" and "Power") all feature a Men Versus Women conflict and are, especially when contrasted with the rest of the series, unbelievably misogynistic. All the regular characterisations are sacrificed for the writer's message: Supreme Commander Servalan allows herself to be pushed around without killing anyone; Avon, an equal-opportunity misanthrope, sneers at women; Dayna loses a fight.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Belkov in "Games"
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Blake, Jenna, and Vila in "The Way Back". Avon and Gan then meet them on a prisoner-transportation ship in "Space Fall".
  • You Have Failed Me: Not uncommon in the Federation, but appears to be standard operating procedure for Servalan specifically (Travis is the major exception, and even then he eventually has to go on the run). Carnell in "Weapon" is smart enough to anticipate Servalan's reaction and does a runner beforehand.
  • You Fool!: A favorite insult of Avon's, often not unfairly.
  • You Shall Not Pass: The finale of Series Two. A gigantic alien war-fleet begins to move in single file through a gap in the anti-matter minefield protecting the galaxy — so the crew of the Liberator move their own starship into the path of the fleet and take them in a head-on battle, trying to buy time for the Federation's warships to arrive and counter the attack.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Federation claims that Blake is a terrorist. Some people believe it - most notably Professor Kayn from the supposedly neutral Space Station XK72.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Anna Grant with Avon.
  • Zeerust: The notion that in the future a human could defeat "the best chess computer available", let alone six times in a row, has now become ludicrous. The last year any human was able to beat the best chess-playing computer in the world was 2005. In S02E03 "Weapon" Carnell might have saved himself the small fortune he spent. Or maybe he is into antiques? The thing he uses looks exactly like the 1977 Chess Chalenger 3.