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YMMV / Blake's 7

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The TV series

  • Accidental Innuendo: In the episode "Death Watch", Avon teleports down to confront Servalan, saying he's guessed her Evil Plan and delivering a blatant death threat. He then calls for Cally to teleport him up again. Unfortunately the actors decided on their own initiative to acknowledge their character's Foe Romance Subtext by having Avon grab Servalan for a passionate "Take That!" Kiss. So when Avon then tells Cally he's ready to come up now...
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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": Everyone in the main cast is killed off in the finale.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Oh, dear God, everyone is up for debate:
    • Is Servalan just trying to keep the only stable government for billions of citizens intact, morality be damned?
    • Is Blake actually fighting for justice, or is he an Omnicidal Maniac who doesn't give a damn who gets hurt as long as the Federation burns? Gareth Thomas believed that the answer depends on which side of the fence you're sitting.
    • Is Avon even sane by Season 4? Notably, Paul Darrow doesn't think so.
    • Who betrayed who in the Bolivian Army Ending - did Blake betray Avon, did Avon betray Blake, or did they betray each other?
    • Dayna - Action Girl or Faux Action Girl? (This one, of course, is not helped by the massive helping of Depending on the Writer.)
    • Just how smart or cowardly is Vila, really? Does he play dumb in order to keep out of Blake and Avon's suicidal plans? Michael Keating believed that Vila was clever and determined to survive, rather than purely cowardly, and Vila-centric episodes show he's pretty damn smart when he wants to be. The fact that he constantly drinks doesn't help the issue, either.
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    • Just how much does Avon believe Orac is Just a Machine? Notably by the final series, they've each become the only crewmember the other has any respect for, making it easier to read them more like Vitriolic Best Buds instead.
    • Is Gan really a Gentle Giant? Or as "Breakdown" implies, just a Serial Killer with a Restraining Bolt.
    • Del Tarrant is introduced posing as Federation captain, with a backstory as a mercenary, smuggler and rebel sympathizer that doesn't fit his youthful appearance. Is he just exaggerating his past exploits, or is he a Dangerous Deserter who having found himself on the Liberator decides it's a safer option now the Federation has collapsed?
  • Awesome Ego: Avon is a fan favourite based largely on his high estimate of his own intelligence, his low estimate of everyone else's, and his acerbic way of making this clear to everyone.
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  • Awesome Music: To quote Martin Odoni, you know you've watched too much Blake's 7 when "you dismiss the works of Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Brahms as amateurish because they don't have as many major chords as forty seconds of Dudley Simpson". note  DUN dun DUNN da DUNNN...
  • Complete Monster:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Avon, to the point where many consider him to be the show's real main character, even in the episodes when Blake is still the official protagonist.
    • If your favourite character wasn't Avon, it was Vila.
    • While not as popular as any of the original Seven (except maybe Gan), Dayna was by far and away the most well-liked of the new additions from Seasons 3 and 4.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Servalan. Swans into a Federation base in a long white dress, orders an atrocity, exits while looking fabulous.
    • Avon's whole style plays up to this trope very effectively, though technically he's amoral rather than evil. (Mostly.)
  • Foe Yay: Between Avon and Servalan, who share a few dysfunctional moments during the third season. In "Death-Watch," it's hard to tell whether Avon is trying to manipulate her or just contriving an elaborate excuse for a hug.
    • Also, Servalan and Tarrant in "Sand".
    Avon: You believed her?
    Tarrant: Not necessarily. I think it was a gambit to gain my sympathy... in a nervous situation.
    Avon: And she got it too, didn't she? Your sympathy I mean?
  • Growing the Beard: While Season 1 doesn't have any episodes that are widely regarded as clunkers, it also doesn't have very many regarded as classics. Season 2, despite several episodes that misfired quite badly, started taking more risks, developed a more coherent overall storyline, and dropped the generally superfluous Gan in favour of the more memorable Orac.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    "Death is something [Blake] and I have faced on a number of occasions; I always thought his death and mine might be linked in some way."
    • For a Real Life example: It's a BBC show from the 1970s, Blake being framed for child molestation charges is a substantially ickier storyline now that we know there were genuine paedophiles lurking in The BBC and being covered up for at the time the show was being made. Of course, the show's creators and cast didn't know about this but someone at the top did.
    • Gan was the first main character to be killed off. His actor, David Jackson, was the first castmember to die in Real Life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Kim Newman once joked that it was hard to tell if Blake and Avon really hated each other or if they realy fancied each other.
  • Ho Yay Shipping: Generations of fans have read subtext into Blake and Avon.
    • Not only that, but in the 80's, a mix of different elements, including arguments over the ethicality of for-profit conventions, actor distaste for seeing their characters same-sex shipped, RPF, attempted fandom cleansing and the degree to which slash fic was exiled from the mainstream fandom resulted in a Slash War so long, bitter and far-reaching that even years later it was a delicate subject, and upon being supplied with the receipts by someone in the fandom at the time (who insisted on only sharing it with them after they made an inquiry into the subject on a forum) that the newbie commented that it was like watching a car wreck. Full details are at Fandom Lore.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Moloch, in its eponymous episode, is revealed to be a life form that serves as the heart of a machine which is also its life support. It lured the crew to its planet because it wants Liberator. It succeeds, gets a teleport bracelet and beams itself aboard, thereby detaching itself from its life support. It dies immediately.
    • The episodes "Hostage", "Pressure Point", "Voice From The Past" and "The Harvest of Kairos" require both heroes and villains to grab the Idiot Ball in order for the plot to work.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: You can basically guarantee that someone somewhere on the internet is currently shipping Avon with literally any other member of the crew (including Orac and Zen). Not to mention Servalan...
  • Love Dodecahedron: Though the show was very sparing with its romantic sub-plots, it's not difficult to read a subtext into the series that basically has Blake, Avon, Jenna, and Cally involved in one: Blake/Jenna and Avon/Cally both have heaps of Unresolved Sexual Tension (though mostly one-sided from poor Cally in the latter instance), while there's hints of Avon/Jenna engaging in some Belligerent Sexual Tension (above and beyond the BST Avon has with everyone, that is). Meanwhile, Cally's open admiration for Blake right from the time she joins the crew can read like a crush pretty easily. And that's to say nothing of the possibility of Blake/Avon and Jenna/Cally that's barely buried any deeper in the subtext than the heterosexual pairings...
    • The second crew gets in on it, too: Cally and Dayna are both pretty blatantly attracted to Avon, but there's also Vila with a none-too-subtle crush on Dayna; while Dayna and Tarrant have perhaps the only explicit, canonical romance between main characters in the show (though "romance" might be slightly too sentimental a term for what they apparently get up to). Avon meanwhile gives the impression of still just being Avon, while in particular having an implied Friends with Benefits dynamic with Soolin in the final season.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Avon, in one of the last episodes, "Orbit". Avon and Vila have tricked a Mad Scientist out of a powerful new weapon with a fake Orac only to find that he's somehow weighed down their shuttle so it can't achieve escape velocity. Our heroes are busy stripping everything out of the shuttle to lose weight (including the powerful new weapon), when Orac announces they only need to lose 70 more kilos. When asked by Avon (who believes Vila is out of earshot) what weighs 70 kilos, Orac tells him that "Vila weighs 73 kilos". Avon gets his gun and goes looking for Vila (who's gone into hiding!). Avon then finds the 'speck of Neutron Material' embedded in perspex that is really weighing down the shuttle, but can't persuade Vila to help him push it out of the ship because Vila thinks Avon is still trying to kill him. He manages to do it by himself, manfully. Opinion is divided on whether Avon would have actually killed Vila if it had come to it.
  • My Real Daddy: Terry Nation may have created the series and characters, but Chris Boucher gave life to both. In fact, some of the most beloved episodes were written by Boucher.
  • Narm: Three words. Brian the Spider. Oh, you wanted a little more detail? "The Harvest of Kairos" called for a terrible alien life-form that makes Kairos uninhabitable for most of the year. The special-effects department delivered a giant orange snail with legs, which wobbled oh-so-slowly towards our heroes as the otherwise scarily competent Dayna forgot how to use her own legs. (For this and other reasons, this episode is often seen as So Bad, It's Good by fans.)
  • Narm Charm: The series got by on Doctor Who's leftover props and set pieces (sometimes after the duct tape peeled off), the acting veered wildly between awesome and awesomely stupid, the fight scenes had all the coordination and grace of roadside sobriety tests, and Snark-to-Snark Combat was the order of the day. The show's two finest characters (Avon and Servalan) were completely unrepentant LargeHams. Add the fact that it was much Darker and Edgier than any TV sci-fi until 2005, and it was glorious.
  • Nightmare Fail:
    Shivan: Entrol your bloodbeard blabe to booster your emperor clam olts you enjoyyyy the reeeal fruits of powerrrr!
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Assuming you define "creator" in this case to mean both Terry Nation (the actual creator) and Chris Boucher (who was involved almost as heavily in the series' initial development), very much played straight. Out of the dozen or so other writers that worked on the show, the only ones whose work was especially popular among the fans were Robert Holmes and Tanith Lee.
    • The final season was made without Nation (who'd relocated to America) and producer David Maloney (who was busy with The Day of the Triffids and When the Boat Comes In). Boucher returned, but his only wrote the first and last episodes.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • None of the new characters introduced in the third and fourth seasons are especially popular (although Dayna has the biggest fanbase). Tarrant, however, is the one who gets real hatred from large parts of the fanbase, especially Avon fans, due to his constant in-canon attempts to take over group leadership from Avon despite lacking the abilities required, and out-of-canon suspicions that he was created as Mr. Fanservice despite most of the female fanbase thinking that Avon was already filling that role quite well.
    • Brian Croucher's version of Travis isn't exactly bad per se, but he comes across as far more thuggish Dumb Muscle than Stephen Greif's version ever did. It doesn't help that the mask they made for Croucher looks like a cheap Halloween costume.
  • Saved by the Fans: Vila was originally going to be the first character to be killed off, but his popularity with viewers saved him (polls ranked him the second favourite after Avon). So, the axe fell on Gan, who was the least popular.
  • Seasonal Rot: As legendary as the series finale is, Season 4 is widely considered to be by far the show's weakest season due to the loss of the Liberator, Cally getting a bridge dropped on her and being replaced by the much less memorable Soolin, the plot of every episode being "The crew try to find something with which to fight the Federation, and don't get it," and the episodes in the first half of the season just being generally very poor due to the hasty re-commissioning of the series.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The "fugitives running from a corrupt empire" premise has long since been harvested to death to the point where it'd be a unique subversion now to show things the other way around.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • With the same budget as a police procedural, what d'you expect?
    • Also, the "futuristic" bases the Seven visit tend to look a lot like 20th-century British oil refineries or nuclear power plants.
    • The final season had generally respectable effects for the time, thanks to advances in technology. The only real failure came from the very obvious matte lines in spaceship shots.
    • The Federation Security Robot that was introduced in "Seek, Locate, Destroy" and was intended to be a regular feature of the show. Unfortunately, it's a supposedly terrifying Tin-Can Robot that wobbles as it goes, is just generally poorly-designed and looks adorable rather than menacing. Its main weapon is also mounted in a... rather unfortunate place, which caused the cast and crew to instantly nickname it "the flasher". As a result of all this, its role in the episode was heavily reduced, and it only made one further, very brief, cameo appearance.
    • The third season episode "The Harvest of Kairos" is particularly exemplary. The better of the two main types of aliens seen is played by a rock... Many will say that the episode can only be enjoyed as a comedy.
    • "Gold" has a particularly jarring jump cut on the teleport effect, with actor Roy Kinnear obviously moving between cuts in the foreground.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Jenna was introduced as a tough, cynical Space Pirate and smuggler. She became gradually underutilised, particuarly in the second season, where she was often seen manning the teleporter, or would get captured despite her Action Girl status. Sally Knyvette left the series because of this, complaining that she was reduced to being a housewife. Thankfully, she got a series of audio plays that rectified this.
    • Gan was established as a good-natured, simple strongman with a limiter that prevented him from killing. He gradually became a Living Prop as time went on, and his limiter was never mentioned after the first season. Even David Jackson felt underutilisednote . He had precisely one episode devoted to him and his spends most of it either unconscious or going beserk. It was hardly a surprise when he was the first of the crew to be killed off.
    • Soolin was introduced in the last season as a tough mercenary and dgunslinger. She wound up being the most underdeveloped of all the main characters (even Gan had more character than her). It didn't help that she was hastilty added to replace Cally and for the first batch of episodes, most of her dialogue was meant for her. She didn't get any real backstory until the last episode and most of the time, she was just...there, really.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "Voice From the Past" has the intriguing premise of bringing back the judge who originally sentenced Blake in the first episode, and having him join up with the good guys. Unfortunately the script fails to deliver on this, with nearly every character holding the Idiot Ball with both hands, and the story is further buried by staggeringly incompetent direction, with the end product often regarded as a strong contender for the show's single worst episode.
  • Values Resonance: Blake rebels against a totalitarian government that drugs its populace. He gets framed for molesting children. Hell, the entire series starts with a shot of a CCTV camera monitoring the citizens—before said cameras became ubiquitous in the UK.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: The series often had strange costumes. But two in the episode "Weapon" take the cake: those of the weapons designer (the man in the picture) and the bond-slave (the woman): [1]. (As someone wrote, "It's hard to perform manual labor when you're dressed like Ming the Merciless.)
    • Part of the explanation for this was that Blake's 7 was often getting by on leftover props and costumes intended for (and sometimes rejected by) Doctor Who
    • In "Killer", we have the squeaky brown vinyl 'bug suits', the Michelin Man Hazmat Suits, and the firefighters who look like silver fried eggs with legs.
    • In "Warlord" to show an alliance of alien delegates, the wardrobe department really goes to town.
  • The Woobie:
    • In her entire run on the show, Cally never caught a break. One kiss from Avon doesn't count.
    • Vila. Horrible things happen to all the characters, but Vila's a Woobie because of his general nice-guy attitude and the fact that, really, none of this is his fault. Hits in the final series especially, as after Cally's gone, the only person with even a modicum of respect for him is Avon, and that becomes increasingly strained near the end.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Avon.

The audio dramas

  • Idiot Plot: In the Barry Letts radio plays, and how. Apparently Tarrant, self-proclaimed greatest pilot in the cosmos, doesn't know what sort of batteries power the Scorpio.

Example of: