Doran is a moron…

MolochSue: Ben Steed. Why does that name ring a bell?

Me: He wrote The Harvest of Kairos. You know, the story you refused to give any marks to the other week. You must remember it.

Sue: I’m still trying to forget it.

I neck a glass of single malt whisky (a Father’s Day present from Nicol).

Sue: The Liberator looks like it’s just been through a space ship version of a car wash.

Vila: We’ve been following Servalan for twenty-seven days…

Sue: Eh? What?

Yes, our intrepid heroes are currently chasing Servalan’s giant space crocodile.

Sue: That’s a turn-up for the books. I thought they were supposed to run away from her? That’s how this show is supposed to work. What’s changed?

Avon thinks his arch-nemesis is heading for the planet Calcos.

MolochTarrant: What would Servalan want with a penal colony?

Sue: I could think of a few things…

Me: Penal colony, Sue. Penal.

Sue: Oh. Sorry.

Servalan’s ship approaches the so-called Outer Darkness, but Avon is determined to follow her. When Vila protests, the crew turn on him.

Sue: Vila is the only person who’s making any sense. It’s the annoying way he does it that rubs people up the wrong way.

Servalan’s ship suddenly disappears from view.

Sue: Did they run out of special effects, or did the vision mixer fall asleep in the middle of a wipe?

The Liberator ends up bouncing off an invisible planet, which results in Vila performing a spectacular cartwheel.

Sue: (laughing) Excellent. I’ll give him 9.5 for that, the daft sod.

MolochOn the planet Sardos, two women have noticed the Liberator‘s near miss.

Sue: I’m guessing that Poola is a futuristic version of Paula, and Chesil is their version of Shazza. I’m also guessing that this is one for the dads.

I knock back another whisky, resisting the urge to wolf whistle at Chesil as she walks away from us in her skin-tight trouser suit.

Sue: Steady on, Neil.

Sardos is surrounded by an energy field that makes it impossible to both see or penetrate the planet. Not that it stopped Servalan from landing there.

Dayna: We should have killed her when we had the chance.

Sue: Which chance is she talking about? There’s been so many.

The Federation control Sardos, and they aren’t very happy with Poola’s decision not to report a strange object bouncing off the stratosphere. A mysterious voice seals her fate.

Moloch: Give her to your men.

Sue: Dear me. I don’t like the sound of that.

MolochServalan has arrived on the planet at the request of Section Leader Grose.

Sue: Is she Tony Blair to his John Prescott?

Me: Yes, he does look a bit like John Prescott.

Sue: And she’s committed loads of war crimes.

When Poola is handed over to Grose’s men, she is referred to as a “present”. I pour another double and brace myself.

Sue: And I thought The Harvest of Whatsit was sexist bollocks. I almost don’t know what to say. ****ing hell, Neil.

Chesil (aka Katy Perry) is violently assaulted when she tries to intervene.

Sue: Can I have a whisky?

Tarrant decides to hitch a ride on a transport ship that’s heading for Sardos, but he has to take Vila with him because he’s the only member of the crew who knows how to open a door.

Sue: I’d rather ask Dayna to blow the door open than take Vila with me. Vila will get Tarrant killed… On second thoughts, he should definitely take Vila with him.

Vila and Tarrant teleport to the transport ship, where a party is already in full-swing.

Sue: Are pirates singing behind that door? If they know any songs from The Pirates of Penzance, Tarrant won’t be able to resist.

MolochVila and Tarrant have teleported on opposite sides of a bulkhead door and it’s up to Vila to find a way through it.

Sue: So Vila’s found the ship’s glory hole. Now what?

Vila is interrupted by one of the ship’s passengers and Tarrant is forced to open the door himself.

Sue: We’d better make ourselves comfortable, we could be here a while.

Tarrant’s progress with a laser cutter is agonisingly slow, but the director is happy to stick with it anyway. And then John Prescott slaps a woman’s arse.

Sue: Am I allowed to give minus scores?

Me: It didn’t stop you when we watched Doctor Who.

Sue: How low can I go?

Servalan discusses the whereabouts of her battle fleet over cheese and coffee.

Sue: At least she arrived there dressed for dinner.

Me: She’s always dressed for dinner.

MolochServalan gives Grose a good dressing down.

Servalan: Section Leader, after your court martial, I shall give you an hour to get your personal effects together.

Sue: That was one hell of an annual appraisal. Nice canapés, though.

Grose isn’t perturbed by this reprimand and he wants Servalan to see something.

Grose: This is no ordinary planet.

Sue: It’s a rapist’s paradise.

On the planet’s surface, a group of men are singing while they march.

Prisoners: (singing) It’s great to be free! It’s great to free!

Sue: (singing) If you’re a man on this planet, it’s great to be free!

Vila has befriended a convict named Doran.

Doran: When they dragged me into that prison cell, they said, “Look at the sun! Look at the sun! Because as long as you live, you’ll never see the sun again.” And I haven’t. In fifteen years, I’ve never seen the sun.

MolochSue: He’s talking about Page 3, you know.

Doran: Or a woman.

Sue: I ****ing knew it. This is horrible, Neil. I never thought I’d see Terry Scott like this. June won’t like it.

Me: That isn’t Terry Scott, but never mind.

Vila loves his new mate and he doesn’t like it when Tarrant tries to break them up.

Sue: This episode just went back into positive score territory because Tarrant fell over. If they kill him off, I’ll give this episode 11 out of 10.

Tarrant pulls a gun on his so-called colleague…

Sue: He just stepped over the line. I’m sorry, but you can’t do that. What a ****.

Avon wants to teleport Vila and Tarrant back to the Liberator before things get out of hand.

Sue: Paul Darrow is trying to make this sound really exciting, even though it clearly isn’t.

When Tarrant attempts to contact the Liberator, a man armed with an impressive-looking weapon appears behind him.

Sue: Is that a rocket launcher? For God’s sake, FIRE!

MolochTarrant is shot. I punch the air.

Me: 11 out of 10! There you go! You can’t go back on your word, Sue. 11 out of 10! Unbelievable!

Sue: EH? WHAT?

Me: You just got your wish. Tarrant’s dead.

I demolish another whisky.

Avon: Tarrant is not as important as the Liberator.

Sue: Yes, but even so, that was still a bit of a shock. I sort of knew they were going to kill him – they were setting it up nicely for him to die – but the way they actually did it was –

Me: Tarrant isn’t dead, Sue.

Sue: I know that, stupid. I’m getting my own back. You must think that I was born yesterday, you dick.

The man who shot Tarrant retrieves a card from a machine, which he then flaps around in the air.

Sue: Has he taken a Polaroid selfie next to the corpse to prove to his Facebook friends that he killed the mighty Tarrant?

Grose is still threatening to show Servalan something interesting.

Grose: You want to see something extraordinary? Very well then, Madame President – something extraordinary.

Sue: It’s his pornography collection. It really is extraordinary.

MolochDoran opens up to his new friend, Vila.

Doran: My problem was always women.

Vila: You like them?

Doran: No.

Sue: Right. So one of the so-called good guys is a rapist. Wow. Unless the Federation have made him think he’s a rapist when he isn’t actually a rapist. You know what the Federation are like.

Me: Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s a rapist, Sue.

Grose demonstrates a very special machine to Servalan.

Sue: It’s a 3D printer. So what?

The machine can replicate anything. Even Earl Grey Tea.

Sue: Just think, if they had a bigger box, they could stick the Liberator in it and make hundreds of copies.

Servalan has walked into a trap. Grose only wanted her ship so he could transform it into a fleet of giant space crocodiles.

Sue: Oh, I was so close. Do you know something, Neil? This is getting interesting…

When Servalan demands to know how Grose plans to operate his new fleet, he places a mouse in the replicator.

Sue: They’re going to pilot their ships with mice?

But the mice don’t work.

MolochSue: That’s a shame. I would have paid good money to watch mice shooting at the Liberator. That would have been brilliant.

Grose introduces Servalan to Colonel Astrid.

Sue: What the hell is that? It looks like a troll doll in a nappy. Urgh, make it go away!

It looks like Servalan’s time is finally up.

Moloch: Give her to your men.

Sue: I think I’m going to be sick.

I don’t think it’s the whisky.

Servalan: You will suffer for this, Grose.

Sue: Has there ever been a more aptly named character in a TV show? I’m actually on Servalan’s side this week. Sort of. I want Avon to swoop in and save her.

Doran has a “present” for Vila.

MolochDoran: I promised you a woman.

Servalan has been chained up in a tent.

Doran: Go on!

Sue: Terry Scott is channelling Blakey from On the Buses now. What the hell am I watching, Neil?

Servalan persuades Vila to join her. No, not like that.

Dayna and Avon teleport to Sardos and it doesn’t take them very long to find the replicator.

Sue: Wouldn’t it be funny if Avon opened the box and he found Tarrant’s decapitated head in there.

Avon finds an apple instead, which he eats enthusiastically. Meanwhile, Servalan and Vila are still searching for a way off the planet.

Sue: If this planet generates its own light, you’d think they’d turn it up a bit. I can’t see a thing.

They stumble upon a rapist building a fire. Vila tries to surprise him but he makes a right pig’s ear of it. Sue can’t help but laugh when Servalan rolls her eyes and intervenes.

MolochSue: Why use a heavy rock when there’s a gun right there? She’ll break a nail.

Servalan ends up shooting the guard anyway.

Me: Who was that, Sue?

Sue: That was Stuart Fell, Neil. Not his best fall, I must say. He should have done a cartwheel. He could have shown Vila how it’s done.

Avon and Dayna find the man in tank.

Sue: That would have ****ed me up if I’d seen that as a kid. It’s horrific – and shit at the same time. Didn’t it traumatise you, Neil?

I sink another whisky and shake my head.

The people of Sardos decided to predict what their race would look like in two million years time. It dawns on Avon that this machine could bring their prediction to life.

Sue: Why would anybody want to do that? What would be the point? Idiots.

Grose’s men take Avon and Dayna prisoner.

Sue: This is what happens when you don’t watch the ****ing door. How long have they been doing this sort of thing? Rule Number One: watch the ****ing door!

Servalan blasts several rapists to death with her sidearm, before grabbing two pilots and escaping in a space ship. It’s just a shame that this happens off-screen and it’s left to Tarrant to summarise the events.

Sue: I knew he wasn’t dead. I just don’t understand why.

The sadistic Grose decides to torture Avon, beginning with his injured wrist.

MolochSue: Paul Darrow’s startled sigh just then suggests to me that the bad guy wasn’t grabbing his wrist.

Doran bumps into Katy Perry.

Sue: Oh no. Please, God, no.

Me: They offered this part to Arthur Mullard, you know.

Sue: Please don’t. I feel queasy enough as it is.

Doran misses Vila terribly.

Sue: You know, this would be sweet if he wasn’t a serial rapist. But he is a serial rapist, so I’m finding it hard to give a ****.

But there’s a method to Ben Steed’s madness: the convicted rapist and murderer decides to trust the Katy Perry look-a-like with the tight-fitting trouser suit and revealing cleavage. You know, instead of just raping and killing her. Can you see what he did there?

Sue: Need more whisky.

Tarrant, Vila, Doran and Katy Perry join forces to storm the computer room. A tense stand-off ensues.

Sue: It’s turned into Reservoir Dogs. But with demented rapists instead of bank robbers.

Doran starts shooting the place up.

Sue: Yay for the convicted rapist!

Doran is killed a few seconds later, along with Katy Perry.

Sue: I can’t believe they didn’t get their own spin-off.

MolochMoloch finally reveals himself.

Sue: Oh my God. It’s a hairy Dalek!

Moloch is basically a Muppet with delusions of grandeur.

Sue: I told you it was a bloody stupid idea.

And then she roars with laughter and points at the screen.

Sue: Look at the bracelet dangling from its wrist! How ridiculous is that? He should have put it round his waist!

So what does Moloch want? I’ll give you three guesses…

Moloch: The Liberator. A perfect vehicle through which to express myself. Servalan was merely the bait to bring you here.

Sue: Did you catch any of that?

Me: I think he said, “Swerverling was merely the babe to bring you here.”

Tarrant tells Moloch that Cally will never teleport him to their ship.

Moloch: She will… She will… She will… She will…

MolochSue: He’ll take her over. The episode has almost finished and Cally hasn’t been taken over yet. There’s still time.

Moloch impersonates Tarrant’s voice and she promptly teleports him up.

Sue: To be fair to Cally, Tarrant’s voice is unique; no one sounds like Tarrant.

Me: I reckon Matt Berry could get pretty close, but he was only a small child when they made this and his voice wouldn’t have broken yet.

Avon has a brainwave.

Sue: They should copy hundreds of bracelets before they leave. It’ll give Lesley Judd a nice break.

Me: Lesley was killed in the war.

Sue: Oh yeah. The war.

Moloch dies as soon as he leaves his life-support system, which just goes to show that in two million years time, humanity will be as thick as two short planks.

Sue: It looks like one of Buffy’s old toys, the one she used to chew the life out of. You know, the one that looked like a chicken. Well, there it is, Neil. There it ****ing is.

Zen detects three alien spacecraft in a hostile formation, so the crew rush to the flight deck, leaving Moloch on the floor, all tattered and torn.

MolochSue: Don’t zoom into it! We don’t want to see it again. It’s rubbish!

Servalan’s ships are bearing down on the Liberator.

Dayna: Do we fight?

Avon: Certainly not. We run.

Cue credits.

Sue: Finally, things are back to normal again. This is what they should have been doing in the first place. Just think, Neil, if they’d been running away at the start, none of that would have happened.

The Score:

Sue: That was really bad but it wasn’t that bad. I liked the idea behind it, but it was ruined by a thoroughly pointless appearance from Servalan, that ridiculous cuddly toy and the horrendous sexism. Did we really have to root for a rapist? Ben Steed has some serious problems. But Paul Darrow was really good in it, so I’ll have to give it some marks for that.


I’ll repeat what I said last week: Sue’s high scores are really beginning to worry me…

Next Time:




  • Visit site
    June 18, 2014 2:16 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I thought Sue would roar at “yes, that is how I reasoned you would look”.

    • June 18, 2014 2:21 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      I think she did. She was roaring with laughter though the whole scene.

      • Visit site
        June 18, 2014 2:25 pmPosted 4 years ago


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    June 18, 2014 2:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Does Moloch look a bit like Gareth from The Office?

  • June 18, 2014 3:37 pmPosted 4 years ago

    The 3/10 is entirely understandable. Once again we have an episode that is horrifying without actually being horrible, which is the big problem with Ben Steed and probably one of the reasons he got to write more for the series. Generally speaking the characters are entertaining and compelling and believable, not wooden and melodramatic as in the worst episodes. The treatment of women is appalling (and Doran one of the scariest characters on offer, even as he pals up with Vila), but it does — rather cheaply, and probably unintentionally — ramp up the concrete evil on a show that portrays pacification drugs and mass murder as business as usual. In other words, it gives me, at least, a reason to care.

    Not that I expect Steed was seeing it from the same angle. Once again we get that dynamic where women are for using but men are for true, close friendships. I don’t think it’s intended to be homoerotic, nor do I find it so — I think it must just be the way misogynist minds work. Of course they form their most intimate attachments with other men, since they hate women. I wonder what a Steed script looks like before Boucher edits it? I wonder if Boucher edits it?

    Of course, nothing can really get us past that Muppet. Once again Steed writes in an impossible special effect, which is his primary sin as a writer, ignoring his politics and predilections. Once again it’s technology turning out to destroy what makes us human and take away our self-determination, which is a tiresome theme to keep hammering, but at least he’s consistent.

    As in “Rumours of Death,” here again we see that Servalan’s insistence on doing the field work herself has consequences. Not in a “she’s a woman and shouldn’t be on the front lines” way, but in a “she’s a politician and shouldn’t expect she won’t be shot at and captured” way. Though of course she proves she can handle it — one of the many things I love about her.

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      June 18, 2014 4:08 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      There are three unpleasant things in particular to take note of about the world-building on show here.

      1: We don’t get to see any native male Sardoans with the script treating them as if they don’t exist at all.

      2: All the native women we do see are seen or implied to be horribly killed off with ‘give her to your men’ a convenient method of being written out.

      3: If that really is an accurate snapshot of society on Sardos, then not only is the situation not resolved by the end, but the consequences of a bunch of penal colony sadists being left there with everything they could possibly want except a way off are shrugged off as a realitively minor inconvenience. “Stuck up bunch on Sardos,” says Vila. Yes, stuck up on spikes probably.

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        June 18, 2014 4:19 pmPosted 4 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Ben Steed is clearly doing something wrong when the most sympathetic character in the episode manages to be Servalan, for being well within her rights as a commander in chief as well as the closest thing to this episode’s straight man.

        Also, we’re expected to believe that Sardos is basically Star One, but without a functioning sun. So if there was no sunlight and energy before the matter/energy converter was installed, and the computer can’t replicate a functioning life form, then where the f**k are all those constant bird calls coming from?

        • June 18, 2014 8:12 pmPosted 4 years ago

          I agree with most of your comments (like I said, horrifying without actually being horrible — those can’t be the biggest plot holes in a Blake’s 7 episode, can they?) but I actually find it quite interesting and worth watching on those occasions when Servalan evinces some sympathy. It’s doubly interesting considering what Steed did to her last time.

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      June 20, 2014 4:56 amPosted 4 years ago

      Women are for using? Or in Servalan’s case, women are for outwitting the dull idiot men, ruthlessly killing, rescuing her people, and attempting to take the galaxy’s best ship, while being President. I have no problem with that. And it isnt really necessary to balance every male friendship with female ones. I didnt see ‘women are for using’ at all. They appeared brave, determined and competent… there were certainly plenty of them.
      As for male friendships, broke down pretty badly between Vila and Tarrant and you cant expect Vila to be anything more than personally sentimental. He’s like that. Could anyone have imagined if the woman had not been Servalan, Vila would have raped her?
      Doran was awful but he was also very lacking in the head.
      I think Ben Steed is getting a bad rap for nothing here. It made me look again at Harvest…and after all, Servalan still came out top in that relationship, didnt she? Sent Jarvik off to fight Tarrant mano a mano. “if it amuses you”: the minute Jarvik said those words, he gave away the store. ‘Fuck fighting Tarrant, make me a sandwich’…now that would have been sexist.

      • June 20, 2014 5:23 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I’d agree that not every female character (or indeed, every male character) in a Steed script embodies that principle. Here I was primarily thinking of the way Doran was portrayed. And I must admit I too am confused by the apparent assumption that because something is shown onscreen it’s necessarily to gratify some peccadillo of the writers rather than being an attempt to demonstrate character (usually, the villainous character of a villain).

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    June 18, 2014 3:52 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    A Blake’s 7 writer whose needless
    Sexism makes Sue like Ben Steed less;
    Faced with woman-baiting
    Concludes that he’s probably seedless.

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    June 18, 2014 3:56 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Amusing aside here; when I was doing year 8 English we did a module on Sci-fi and other involved writing a story and for some reason I ended up ripping this episode off. Only I replaced Servalan with a not – all- a Travis-rip – off called Hunter. I think the idea of Moloch inspired me more the actual episode. Also I made the Avon figure a woman.

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    June 18, 2014 4:29 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I am about halfway through this and at the moment really enjoying it. I dont see it as sexist. The bad guys abuse women. How is this sexist? Its a bad thing, right?

    Vila doesnt do it. he’s a good guy.
    And the villains in this are truly villainous. That pockmarked one is just horrible and the ‘pal’ of Vila’s, there are no words.

    However, the weird white thing with the red-shock hair….I had some kind of doll…were they called gonks?

    I cant watch all now….

    • Visit site
      June 18, 2014 5:31 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      What’s wrong with it is that right up until the every end, nobody outside of the few expendable technicians we see – and for all we know, they could have been the only ones on the planet – acknowledge that the human situation on Sardos is fundamentally wrong. It’s Moloch that’s seen as the aberration, even though the creature’s existence is a consequence of events, not the instigator.

      The script knows this is untenable, and counters by sweeping the rest of the population right under the carpet and allowing no interaction with any of them. Avon and Dayna teleport straight into the computer room, and then straight out again. Tarrant is unconscious for the portion of the episode where he’s not required to be on screen. And Vila’s last line, “they’re a stuck up bunch on Sardos, from what I’ve heard”, speaks volumes because the only people he could have heard this from aren’t exactly the most impartial of witnesses to it.

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        June 18, 2014 6:00 pmPosted 4 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Also, does anybody ever remember the names of the technicians as soon as the episode is over? ‘Cos I don’t, and it can’t just be because none of them get so much as a name-check when they get escorted off the premises by security, even though Doran does.

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        June 20, 2014 5:06 amPosted 4 years ago

        Well how are they supposed to ‘acknowledge its wrong?” How are the Liberator people to even know about it? The girls are certainly acknowledging its wrong. And also, since the guys are contemptible villains, surely it can just be taken as read that its wrong! They abuse women, they rape and beat them. They are bad guys.
        That’s just ridiculous, the idea it should be plot centre. Why should it. It makes for excellent villainous background.
        Also, the girls themselves, while doing the best they can, bravely, to survive, are in fact hoping someone will rescue them. That would seem to acknowledge it to me.
        Script also allowed Servalan to look even more ruthless by completely ignoring the girl who was being dragged away. Would have expected no less.
        So how else to acknowledge it?
        Blake might have, yes. We must help these captive women. Do we really expect the same from Avon, Tarrant, or any of the others?
        Seriously, imagine it. Avon says, these Other Women, whom I Don’t Even Know, I’m going to take risks to help.
        It would be beyond absurd. The fact that none of them give a fuck about the women just adds to the whole bankruptcy of the group without Blake’s idealism.

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          June 20, 2014 2:12 pmPosted 4 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          That’s the point – Ben Steed has every chance and no reason not to inform his characters, but doesn’t take it or write any consequence in as a result. Viewing the episode by today’s standards, rather a lot of commenters come away with the impression that it says more about Ben Steed than it does about about the episode; if nothing else, it’s bad storytelling form to raise an issue in such a way that the viewer would expect to be resolved, but then not bother to tie it in to the main plot structure.

          Mind you, Sue has yet to witness the result when he *does* do that. Yeesh.

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            June 20, 2014 2:19 pmPosted 4 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            I take your point about direct intervention, but there are other ways the status quo can (and should) be influenced by what should be a major event, in the hands of a good writer. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Liberator crew act at the end like they performed a major accomplishment, even though none of them did anything after planet fall that couldn’t have made the situation intolerably worse. ‘Good’ only ‘wins’ in this episode because ‘evil’ is dumb, and don’t think this the last time the Spaceballs tropes will come into play before we’re done. 🙂

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            June 21, 2014 3:53 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Yes, actually, they essentially did nothing…I cannot even remember without going back to check why they even went there. I do wish the writers had thought of some coherent story arc, just some purpose. But still, a society set up to violently oppress an entire gender: I dont see what a spaceship crew could do, plus it seems to me far more in keeping with their individual characters to ignore it.

            Tarrant, he was a smuggler. People smuggler, maybe, who knows. He’s a ruthless little creature and never shows compassion.
            Vila is so sentimental he will make a pal of a rapist because the rapist is dumb in a cute way and is nice to him.
            Cally would care, but she’s on board and nobody listens to her anyway.
            Dayna seems to be without opinions on anything and I havent seen her volunteer an idea or demand yet…nothing like “Avon, Tarrant, we must free these girls”
            And as for The Man Himself, well lets look at his oppressed people, saving of, form:
            There was the the Decimas thing, Blake was most agitated, Avon at his most eye-rolling: “Ah well, if it concerns you…but if it’s a choice between them and us…” so don’t look to the pretty one, Decimas.
            There was Mission to Destiny: “I don’t care if the entire planet turns into a mushroom” plus the belting of Sara and the follow up ‘I really rather enjoyed that”.

            There was Killer: “It could be Blake…[warning people of danger]…he has these noble impulses sometimes” “noble impulses” could be replaced with “disgusting perversions” from Avon’s tone of voice. “Blake takes risks for Other People…sometimes people he Doesnt Even Know..I could never stand Heroes”. Impossible to replicate the depth of Avon’s contempt. Amazing Vila doesnt simply die on the spot from it.

            And so on. Actually, I think its pretty interesting and unusual to create such a set up, send in the heroes and have them just fuck off leaving the bastards with their ‘presents’…that’s if there are any left of course. Maybe the girls are all dead. In fact, if that brown-hair girl hadnt got herself killed with Doran, Avon might have run her off a bracelet and taken her away. They probably would have.

  • Visit site
    June 18, 2014 4:38 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    I’d also love to know what possessed them, after hiring Deep Roy to voice the miniature monster, to not dress him in a functional costume and mask rather than trying to make something which Paul Darrow describes as a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken. If David Maloney and Mary Ridge can figure this out, why can’t Vere Lorrimer?

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    June 18, 2014 4:42 pmPosted 4 years ago

    As stinking a pile of BS as one can hope to encounter in a lifetime of cleaning stables.

    Obviously the man’s mental–but those who enabled him are worse.

  • Visit site
    June 18, 2014 4:49 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    It’s pretty bad, but not as bad as the Web.

  • Visit site
    June 18, 2014 4:56 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Feel just a bit guilty because I have always enjoyed this episode. I found the puppet monster hysterical and laughed like a drain when Avon’s ‘ I reasoned that you would look like that” was said. I enjoyed the scenes between Servalan and Villa and cheered like Sue when Tarrant got lumped. Avon pointing imperiously to a room ( and Dana meekly obeying) and snatching the apple from her made me laugh out loud. I even chuckled at the appalling Doran. However- watching it again yesterday I recognised its disturbing element – a bit like watching a pantomime and having Widow Twankey tell the audience that he was in drag solely because he wanted to shaft Jack or Baron Hardup renaming himself Baron Hard-on and sharing rape fantasies of Cinders with the Prince. Oh dear. Perhaps a little less than 11 out of ten .

    • Visit site
      June 18, 2014 9:27 pmPosted 4 years ago

      “Widow Twankey tell the audience that he was in drag solely because he wanted to shaft Jack or Baron Hardup renaming himself Baron Hard-on and sharing rape fantasies of Cinders with the Prince.” Isn’t that Jim Davidson’s “Sinderella” version?

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        June 18, 2014 10:37 pmPosted 4 years ago

        God I hope not but I expect you’re right.

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      June 20, 2014 5:23 amPosted 4 years ago

      I liked the apple thing. Oh it’s not so bad to have the guys act like guys once in a while. World is getting dull. There’s an orthodoxy has fallen over everything.
      After all, I am getting heartily sick of all these impossible women I see on TV. Whereas they used to be bimbos, now they are bimbos with advanced degrees and ju-jitsu. Its no less oppressive a standard.
      Its like, now, the guys are allowed to be human and bumbling and stuff but the women are always so competent…its intimidating. Its why I loved Bridget Jones. I loved when Bridget did a time-and-motion study on herself to see how long it took her to get out of the house in the morning and it was 3 and half hours….how I empathise…

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    June 18, 2014 5:31 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Gareth M

    Like Harvest of Kairos there’s some nice ideas in here, but it’s all got a bit lost.
    The problem seems to be with this and many other stories that some writers don’t seem to know what to do with the length of the episodes or all of the characters.

    Does Cally get to do *anything* in this story? Aside from being the teleport operator? I guess it’s punishment for being taken over every other day by every passing alien.

    I had forgotten about all the rapists in this story, or maybe I didn’t read it like that the last time I saw this story.

    The replicating machine, putting stuff concept into it and seeing what the result is, that’s a good idea. The hidden planet also a good idea. The security women with their delete button and whatever that’s a nice concept.
    The rapists just seem like padding to fill out the story and make it a bit horrible.

    I’m surprised Sue gave it such a high score above 0. Yet I still like this story. I like the bits where Avon works out what Moloch is and how it works.
    I think Astrid in the tank is well realised.

    There’s a surprising amount of cast and extras in this story considering they don’t really do all that much. They must have used all their Federation uniforms they had for the marching scenes.
    Though it was nice to see the London model shot again for this story.

    There’s also some nice rushing to the flight deck acting at the end. That’s always nice to see.

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    June 18, 2014 5:48 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Wow. For this story to get above negative points is no easy task… especially as “Kairos” is his one story that uses the fewest cliches…

    I will say this – the worst B7 stories are all made more entertaining by Sue’s commentary.

    The good news is, Steed doesn’t write any more for series 3…

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    June 18, 2014 6:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Molloch(s) get’s my vote as *the* worse episode of ‘Blake’s 7. I absolutely struggled to get through this one last week having not seen in years. Wrong on every level with no redeemable features and Chris Boucher wasn’t even bothered to inject a few witty lines for Avon or for any one.
    This made me laugh:

    Sue: It’s a 3D printer. So what?

    This is exactly what I thought when i sat through this eppy 🙂

    The pain generated by a poor episode of Blake’s 7 is awful as there are only 52 eppys but the next two are absolute gems that will pull at the heart strings.

    Moloch rating -1/10

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    June 18, 2014 6:28 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I should add that this eppy feels like an ITV version of B7 or a mid-season Dr Who effort produced by John Nathan Turner (God bless him).

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    June 18, 2014 7:02 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    3 out of 10 is about right I’d say. The pervading atmosphere of misogyny is most unpleasant, but at least it’s pretty clear that these guys are the scum of the earth and in no way to be admired, unlike Ben Steed’s previous story. The replicator pre-dates the one in Star Trek by several years, though arguably the food machine in the TARDIS does the same thing decades earlier. And the pairing of Vila and Servalan is a definite high-point, they should really have based the episode around that and junked everything else.

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    June 18, 2014 8:42 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Wow, I’m stunned by three out of ten and surprised the telly isn’t smashed in after Sue had to sit through that. I’m (probably) a sexist git and even I’m uncomfortable with the rapey stuff.

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    June 18, 2014 8:54 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I watched it again recently expecting to hate it but strangely didn’t think it was that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very bad, but there is quite a good sub-Dr Who plot with interesting concepts in there that could have been turned into a much better episode. These concepts aren’t necessarily followed through very logically. How can they have produced the “future man” when they can’t replicate a living mouse? But still I like the basic idea – rogue colony has stumbled across some very advanced technology, and produces a projection of the future of the human race. The resolution of the episode depends a bit too much on Avon being a know-it-all to an implausible degree.

    But of course this being Ben Steed he couldn’t stop there. One thing I remember from this episode as a kid is Vila being upset that his friend is killed, so it’s a bit disturbing to find that by this time he has already found out that he’s some kind of convicted violent misogynist. The rest of the episode doesn’t bother me in isolation, as the colonists aren’t supposed to be the good guys, and it’s not the first situation left unresolved in Blakes 7 (this isn’t Dr Who where injustice and oppression are generally resolved by The Doctor). It does bother me when seen in the context of other Ben Steed epsiodes though. You wonder what was going on in his head.

    The other thing I remember as a kid was the appearence of the “future man” which seemed pretty exciting at the time. It was a monster just like in Dr Who, so that was good enough for me. I’ve got a vague idea I watched it on my gran’s portable b & w TV which may have masked it’s deficiencies slightly. Now it obviously just looks shit. But if you had to choose between watching these scenes as they are or these scenes with a CGI monster inserted, which would be more entertaining?

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      June 20, 2014 12:23 amPosted 4 years ago

      I thought the life support system being integrated the replication, so that is why Moloch is alive. At least that is how I read it as a kid.

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      June 20, 2014 5:33 amPosted 4 years ago

      Cally was instructing Avon on how to run things, it seemed to me. She isn’t operating the teleport, she’s fixing it and reconfiguring it. Didnt this used to be Avons delicate and skillful job?
      Plus…Cally and Avon, how not shagging? For sure, right? They are like an old married couple, nearly. Look when they were all on the sofas..Cally was sat damn near on top of him! She had the whole sofa to stretch on, but she was in such a position if Avon had leaned back he would have been resting on her lap. That kind of snuggling would have, at one time, caused Avon to retreat to the other side of the Liberator, if not the galaxy.

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    June 18, 2014 8:57 pmPosted 4 years ago

    “Did they run out of special effects, or did the vision mixer fall asleep in the middle of a wipe?”

    No, in fact it’s a special effect so brilliant that they showed it twice in the space of a few minutes, just in case you missed it.

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    June 18, 2014 9:12 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Lector always reminded of John Craven (only facially of course!).

    Didn’t realise Doran was a “convicted rapist.” Must have missed that somewhere.

    Deep Roy is terribly wooden in this one again when delivering his lines.

    Really surprised Sue gave this 3, I was expecting a minus score easy.

    Nice idea for a story but really BADLY executed.

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      June 19, 2014 12:34 amPosted 4 years ago

      “Didn’t realise Doran was a “convicted rapist.” Must have missed that somewhere.”

      You’re right it doesn’t say that anywhere. It does imply that he did something nasty to women though.

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        June 19, 2014 1:53 amPosted 4 years ago

        From the way he was looking at Vila in some of their scenes together I got the impression that it was him he wanted to do nasty things to! 😉

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        June 19, 2014 11:32 amPosted 4 years ago

        From the way he was looking at Vila in some of their scenes together I imagined that it was him he wanted to do nasty things to!

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    June 18, 2014 9:23 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Marky Mark

    Avon : “Aah – careful of my wrist, Vila – it’s had enough”. How amazed was I that probably the (unintentionally) funniest line in Blake’s 7 didn’t get a mention in the blog !

    Another pretty forgettable episode, but, unlike Sue, I adore Servalan, so was pleased to see her back.

    But the Moloch did look even more shit than the stupid Guy Fawkes mannequin in the bubbly liquid.

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    June 18, 2014 9:31 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Katie C

    The chicken escaped but alas
    His life support wasn’t attached
    Avon said “Look you 4,
    That’s what happens when your
    Peccadilloes are not up to scratch”

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    June 18, 2014 9:32 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Mix a little bit of this and a little bit of that
    In the matter transport.
    I have reasoned that, when the energy flows
    It’ll look like that.
    Not a duck, not a drake just Kentucky nightmare
    A new evolving species, chicken rat.

    I have reasoned that because I’m clever
    He’ll end up dead cos he’s not smart
    When he appeared I nearly called my agent
    Was it time to follow Blakey and depart?

    With a word or two of this and a phrase or two like that
    Could he be Australian?
    He accent is so thick it puts Allo Allo to shame
    Like talking through a spoon.
    Although he bottles any threat there’s no need to break a sweat
    He’s sesquipedalian
    And his only mode of speech is ‘ foreign loon’.

    I have reasoned most of this and reasoned most of that
    because I’m clever
    And a little bit of pain caused by twisting of the wrist
    Don’t bother me
    My arrogance has swelled to egomania
    I even eat my fruit dramatically.

    When I point my hand like this, when I point my hand like that
    Obey don’t question.
    It’s My cleverness alone (forget Tarrant he’s a drone)
    Will free you from this hen.
    Molloch’s quite commanding you may reckon
    But I won’t order ‘Give her to your men.’

    This song could go on longer. This song could never end
    But even Molloch’s bollocks
    Will shrivel in the end.
    Now join in the malarkey and begin again, my friends

    All together…..

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      June 18, 2014 9:45 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Katie C

      Epic Annie! The chook’s in the post!

    • June 18, 2014 11:19 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Alex Wilcock

      Oh, wow. That’s awesome.

      Knocks the Bananarama version of Time and the Rani I was writing into a cocked hat.

      Comment on Moloch? …I’d rather not.

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      June 20, 2014 5:36 amPosted 4 years ago

      Annie…..there are no words….

      (bows down in awe)

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        June 20, 2014 10:17 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Oh wow – thanks guys. Glad you enjoyed it. It was something to do while watching boring or nail biting football.

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    June 19, 2014 2:05 amPosted 4 years ago

    “… A perfect vehicle through which to express myself…”

    I’d forgotten how crazy this episode is.

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    June 19, 2014 3:56 amPosted 4 years ago
    Chris Allen

    Avon’s sense of curiosity seems to be improving.

    Picture the scene: The Liberator, out in the far reaches of space, following a Federation ship where no Federation ship ought to be, a strange barrier around a planet that nearly wrecks the Liberator.

    Yes, I’m talking about the episode “Horizon” from series 2.

    In that episode, Avon’s attitude to Blake was: “Oh, you are curious. Well, I’m glad we have a worthwhile purpose”. Now his attitude to Tarrant is: “Well, then, we would never know, would we?”

    Anyhoo, back to “Moloch”. It has the seed of a good idea in there somewhere but I guess 3/10 seems fair (well, unless you compare it to the score “Trial” got).

    “The resolution of the episode depends a bit too much on Avon being a know-it-all to an implausible degree.”

    Hmmm… could this be an early appearance of a character I call “Sherlock Avon”? We’ll be seeing a LOT of him in series 4. With the rest of the crew reduced to clueless Watson’s (Nigel Bruce stylee).

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      June 19, 2014 1:08 pmPosted 4 years ago

      The earliest appearance of “Sherlock Avon” was in “Mission to destiny” – and as to curiosity, he says he doesn’t like an unsolved mystery… maybe he was just being hypocritical in “Horizon” and using any weak argument he could in attacking Blake (his favourite hobby).

    • June 19, 2014 5:23 pmPosted 4 years ago

      There’s also the possibility that Avon is missing Blake more than he’d ever admit (not in a slashy way, either) and is in some ways playing both their roles. We may see more to suggest this is the case very soon.

  • June 19, 2014 12:39 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Neil Perryman (Author)

    A quick apology: Death-Watch will be a little late. Sue’s really busy at work, England are playing football and our cat, Captain Jack, has a poorly bladder again, so that’s fun. Anyway, I hope to publish the last two episodes of Series 3 next week. Sorry for the delay.

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      June 19, 2014 4:37 pmPosted 4 years ago

      You do realise that this delay may well lead to another tedious bout of poem making? Hope Captain Jack recovers before you run out of floor wipes and patience, that England win and that Sue’s workload diminishes. O God if England win it’s brace yourself for a clash with Germany and the agony of watching them demolish us – or even worse beat us on penalties. 5 -1. Remember 5-1? Please please please.

    • June 19, 2014 5:22 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Every day you delay is another day this project’s not over yet, so I for one have no complaints. Hope Captain Jack feels better soon!

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      June 19, 2014 6:04 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Mat Dolphin

      Death watch is never easy Neil, you know that…

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      June 20, 2014 1:28 amPosted 4 years ago
      The Grouchybeast

      Poor kitty! I hope he recovers soon. Our cat had a couple of episodes of bladder problems, but fingers crossed they seem to have been fixed by switching him to wet food only and putting him on a diet.

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      June 22, 2014 6:54 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Derek Handley

      Sorry to hear about Captain Jack. Get well soon to him!

      And hope work settles down for Sue again soon.

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    June 20, 2014 1:33 amPosted 4 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    The thing about Ben Steed is that he actually come up with some fun SF-ish plot ideas. But then everything is viewed through his deranged distorting prism of ‘technology is evil because it allows weak women to dominate strong, manly men’ and it all goes to hell.

    So on the one hand, give her to your men, WTF, Ben? And on the other, at least it’s more engaging than the average Allan Prior episode.

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    June 20, 2014 4:46 amPosted 4 years ago

    How was it sexist? It was dull but not sexist. Bad guys abuse the women. That’s because they’re bad guys! What are you talking about, technology lets women dominate men! There was no hint of any such thing. The women were cool and the guys were mainly evil or fucking up.
    Servalan was completely cool, totally undisturbed, got her pilots, killed about 10 people.
    Avon was apparently completely dependent on Cally’s engineering know-how…used to be Avon that fixed the ship. That’s not sexist. Dayna was the action girl..”I’m coming with you”
    And the women on the planet were brave under oppression, deleting stuff even though they knew they’d be likely to face becoming a ‘present’.
    It should have been good actually, because that pock-marked guy was simply horrible. And his sidekick.
    But it was flat and uninspired and the gonk didnt help.

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      June 20, 2014 5:40 pmPosted 4 years ago
      The Grouchybeast

      I am unsure how providing examples of women using technology is a counter to my theory that Ben Steed thinks technology is bad because it degrades men, and that technology allows women to compete unnaturally with the physically stronger men. (Especially since sexism doesn’t require that all women are shown negatively, and all men positively.)

      It’s the linking theme that runs though all Ben Steed’s episodes. Jarvik spells it out directly — nature is better than machines, hand-to-hand combat is better than guns. Moloch represents the future, a man literally reduced to a helpless puppet because of relying on technology. Talking about his other episode would be spoilers, but that only makes it even more explicit. It’s either Ben Steed’s favourite topic, or a really, really weird coincidence that all three episodes just happen to feature the exact same nature v. technology theme.

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        June 21, 2014 4:10 pmPosted 4 years ago

        But I dont see where you get the idea that technology degrades men and gives women the upper hand.
        What Jarvik said was in fact true: dependence on technology does divorce us from instinct and nature, rendering us weaker. He was trying to convey this to Servalan, help her to see it, help her see what she was missing…he was right. It was the way he did it, not what he said. I cannot see anywhere it implied that technology is bad because it empowers women, at all. Its bad for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because it obscures while seeming to clarify.

        In fact, looking at Harvest again, I think the years of adjusted feminist viewpoint might have obscured some of the good points made. Its too bad Jarvik had to express himself by throwing his weight around literally. If he hadnt said “Woman” and gone on about Tarrant being a which he only really meant the code of knighthood..and if he hadnt chucked Servalan on the couch, would he seem so bad? After all, powerful people frequently want someone who will give them a run for their money. She liked it…and why not?

        In a way Jarvik was showing Servalan respect…respect as a person. He was cutting through all the bullshit she usually endures from those who are afraid of her and talked directly to her as a human being, fearlessly. He clearly admired her, and didnt see her just as a figurehead

        The relationship of Jarvik and Servalan was really one that could have been highly successful. A man with the nerve to speak freely to her must be refreshing to Servalan.

        Nor did Jarvik object to her position: he wasnt trying to usurp it. He didnt say: I’ll stick around, but I will be in command. In fact, Servalan rapidly took control: I want you to go and fight Tarrant. “If it amuses you” said Jarvik…instantly, he’s just become subordinate. Likely to be a volatile relationship, but probably better than Avon.

        And the girls in Moloch: they are indeed using technology…to try and help them escape the men who are very clearly shown to be evil. They are bravely deleting records and trying to make contact…how is it shown to be bad?

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    June 20, 2014 9:09 amPosted 4 years ago

    I’m a little concerned that I always boycott Jim Davidson yet enjoy Ben Steed. Hope it’s because I find Blakes 7 funny and Davidson a boor but fear it may be just that I fancy Avon and I don’t Jim. Disconcerting to realise how shallow I can be.

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    June 20, 2014 6:17 pmPosted 4 years ago
    solar penguin

    Chalk me up as yet another one who agrees with the 3 rating. This episode has a lot of clever ideas, some interesting bad guys, and a couple of great Servalan moments. But it’s spoiled by the nasty air of sexism that runs through it. (Does air run? You know what I mean, anyway.)

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    June 20, 2014 6:43 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Jess Patton

    I’m rather impressed Neil’s liver survived that episode.

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      June 20, 2014 10:15 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Perhaps captain Jack is a metaphor for the liver.

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    June 20, 2014 10:14 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I need another dose of Wife & Blake’s adrenalin & soma following England’s early exit from the Word Cup.

    My guess for Sue’s next eppy rating 9/10 🙂

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      June 21, 2014 3:45 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Pauloch the psychic World Cup Decima predicts Sue will like it as a story, but not so much as a TV episode.

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    June 21, 2014 1:35 amPosted 4 years ago

    Ben Steed=garbage. This episode=1/10. Why do the members of the Horizon website persist in defending bad episodes? I am seeing posts defending a protest rewatch. Why? I love Blake’s 7 but this is one of the worst of the 52 episodes what is there to protest? The Wife and Blake is doing this show a favor by keeping it revelant. My message to these people, get a life!

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      June 21, 2014 11:16 amPosted 4 years ago

      Totally agree with you. Moloch is easily the worse B7 eppy. You can even sense that the cast couldn’t be bothered with this one (Moloch’s ‘entrance’ had to be recorded several times because the actors couldn’t stop laughing). Not quite sure how the Horizon peps can defend this one. Perhaps one of them could give it a go and post their thoughts here?

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        June 21, 2014 4:38 pmPosted 4 years ago

        It only seems to be one user on Horizon who posts about the “protest rewatches”, and he probably thinks every episode is a 10/10 masterpiece. I wouldn’t really worry about it.

      • June 21, 2014 6:04 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I took a peek and they’re pretty civilized about it. It looks like the quality of “Moloch” is as debatable there as here, and why wouldn’t it be?

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        June 21, 2014 6:42 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I’m not a Horizon member and I’ve not read their comments but I do enjoy Molloch. I don’t think it’s good but I do find it fun. Am I defending it if I admit this? I don’t want my sons to grow up like Doran or Tarrant or even Avon but I’m not too keen on them becoming Dirty Harry either. ( and I also enjoyed those films ) The special effects are awful and it has a disquieting thread to it but it never bored me. Made me boggle at time. When I first watched it I didn’t expect too much in the way of polish from Tv shows but enjoyed the show’s astringency as an antidote to star Trek and Wars sentimentality. Now in my dotage I welcome any opportunity for a good old boggle. And I still enjoy the slice of lemon in the Blakes 7 cocktails. Or tales of cock!

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    June 21, 2014 5:16 amPosted 4 years ago

    Thanks Grouchybeast; your theory clarifies the Steed philosophy for me. I’d been struggling to understand his “heroes”‘ tendency to break off briefly from rampant chauvinism just long enough to launch into weird soliloquies about the sun.

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    June 21, 2014 9:03 amPosted 4 years ago

    How would adrenaline and soma work? Wouldn’t one just cancel the affects of the other so it would be like drinking water? I’m pretty naive about combinations of uppers and downers so I’m hoping this question isn’t a display of stupidity one rarely gets the opportunity to see!

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      June 21, 2014 11:12 amPosted 4 years ago

      Good question 🙂 My guess is that the B7 drink is a bit like those special highs you occasionally stumble upon at music festivals hence why Villa was so addictive to them and constantly giving Dayna the eye 🙂

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        June 21, 2014 4:30 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I’m worried about the blue one now…

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      June 21, 2014 3:24 pmPosted 4 years ago

      “Some would mix uppers and downers to get that marvellous feeling, so similar to not having taken drugs at all”.

      I think that’s Ben Elton.

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    June 22, 2014 11:16 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I wonder if Moloch’s designer was sampling those blue concoctions before presenting his idea. And sharing with the production team. Difficult to account for the muppet any other way.

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    June 24, 2014 5:44 pmPosted 4 years ago

    “I’ll repeat what I said last week: Sue’s high scores are really beginning to worry me…”

    Some of them, IMHO, are deserved. “Ultraworld” was about 8 points more than it deserved to be because it’s one hackneyed cliche after another, but her point of view behind it was refreshing and she made me reconsider my own rating for the story.

    Even though B7 becomes a totally different premise for series 3 and 4 (finding him as opposed to having to sit to his idealism), the dynamic is fresher – Blake and his ideals are great, but they didn’t hold the show as well compared to Avon getting the center seat…

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    July 13, 2014 11:57 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Robin Brown

    There are some interesting ideas in Ben Steed’s scripts but… a rapist? Who becomes Vila’s best mate for no apparent reason? And a scene where he invites Vila to rape Servalan? And Vila nearly joins the Federation? Extraordinary.

    Interesting on Matt Berry’s voice – sure there was a character in Toast called Pacey.

    • July 14, 2014 8:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Extraordinary is the word. You can’t say all these things make sense, exactly, but they’re not boring.

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