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Time Squad

Where’s Gan gan?

Nicol joined us for this episode because she read the first blog entry and she said, and I quote, “Blake’s 7 sounds really interesting.” Just how wrong can one person be? Let’s find out…

Time SquadSue: Do you notice anything funny about that logo, Nicol?

Nicol: Yes, I know, they ripped off Star Trek. I read the blog.

Sue: There’s no apostrophe, either.

Nicol: I know. It’s shocking.

Sue: Surely an angry school teacher wrote to Points of View. Have you got that as a DVD extra, Neil?

The episode begins with Jenna giving Blake a driving lesson.

Sue: Is she “at one with the ship” again, or has she actually read the manual? Either way, it’s nice to see a woman in charge of all the technical stuff while the men stand around looking useless. I like that.

Blake decides it’s time they stopped hiding.

Blake: Very soon now the Federation ships will know exactly where we are. Or at least where we’ve been.

Vila: I don’t follow you.

Avon: Oh, but you do! And that’s the problem.

Sue: Avon is brilliant. He wants to rip Blake’s throat out. I can sympathise with Blake but I’m definitely Team Avon.

Me: Tense, isn’t it.

Nicol: Why do they hate each other? And why do they look like they’ve walked off a rubbish tip? All except her. She looks like she’s walked off one of those Top of the Pops repeats you make us watch every week.

Blake sets course for Suarian Major. The Federation have built a vast transceiver complex there and Blake wants to knock it out.

Sue: It looks like the ICI plant at Middlesbrough.

Time SquadThe Liberator cruises through space. Honest. It really does.

Sue: Did Ken Morse do the special effects?

Their voyage is interrupted when Zen identifies a mysterious projectile in their path.

Nicol: Is Zen in the engine room or something?

Sue: No, Zen is the ship’s computer.

Me: Think of him as a grumpy Siri.

The projectile is transmitting a distress signal; this makes Jenna suspicious.

Jenna: Putting out a false distress signal. It’s a trick used by space pirates.

Sue: Oh no, not the ****ing Space Pirates! Quick! Run! (pause) Did you see what I did there? I just made a joke about a bad Doctor Who story. You must be so proud.

Nicol rolls her eyes. And then we’re treated to a glorious model shot of the Liberator.

Sue: Why didn’t they use that model before? That was really good.

Nicol: They could have flipped it over and had it going the other way if they were worried about repeating the shot. Anything would have been better than zooming into a still photograph.

Vila doesn’t want anything to do with this mysterious projectile.

Me: Some people say I look like Vila.

Sue: You look nothing like him! You act like him but you don’t look like him.

Me: Hey, wait a minute…

Nicol: They’re probably referring to your receding hairline and they’re just trying to be polite.

Zen breaks down. I know how he feels..

Nicol: This is what happens when you ask Siri for directions and you don’t live in America.

Jenna and Blake decide to board this mysterious projectile anyway.

Sue: The hint of pink on the bracelets matches Jenna’s top. If only Colin Baker’s coat had been as subtle as Jenna’s blouse, it might have worked.

Blake: Put us across.

Time SquadSue: Blake desperately wants to say “Beam us down” but he can’t in case they get done for copyright.

Jenna and Blake teleport over to the projectile.

Sue: Oh no! They’ve lost their legs in a horrific transporter accident!

Me: No they haven’t. Although you’re right: the way they framed that special effect makes no sense whatsoever.

Sue: I hate the Ready Brek effect. It looks cheap and nasty. Why don’t they just repeat the wibbly-wobbly effect instead? It’s much better.

The projectile is packed with cryogenically frozen humanoids.

Sue: This is exactly like that episode of Star Trek that you put me through not that long ago.

Yes, I convinced her to watch ‘Space Seed’ before she saw Star Trek Into Darkness. She didn’t even thank me.

Sue: At least Star Trek was made in colour; Blake’s 7 is made in brown.

The teleport isn’t working, and with the projectile’s oxygen rapidly running out, Avon is forced to retrieve Blake and Jenna with a risky manual manoeuvre.

Sue: Christ, this is boring.

I turn to gauge Nicol’s reaction and I’m saddened when I see her face bathed in the light of a mobile phone.

Time SquadSue: They’re just killing time. This is tedious. Even Paul Darrow can’t save this scene.

The Liberator swallows the projectile whole.

Sue: And now they’re ripping off James Bond as well.

After what feels like an eternity, the projectile is safely stowed away in the Liberator‘s hold.

Sue: What a clart on. I hope they don’t do that every week. And why is Avon wearing an apron? And a really filthy apron at that.

Nicol: Tabards are obviously very fashionable in the future. What year is this, Neil?

Sue: He doesn’t know, Nicol. He’s ****ing useless.

Me: It’s in the third century of the second calendar, actually.

Sue: Well that clears that up.

Our heroes examine the capsule. I’m fed up with calling it a bloody projectile, even if the script isn’t.

Sue: It looks all right. It actually looks like it’s made from metal and it’s been floating in space for ages. I’m impressed.

While the humanoids are left to defrost, Blake, Avon and Vila prepare to teleport to Suarian Major.

Sue: Vila is in charge of the picnic, I see.

Me: They seem to be missing quite a few bracelets already, and it’s only the fourth episode.

Time SquadSue: Nice try, Neil, but you are not looking at the bracelets. You are staring at Jenna’s arse.

Nicol: Mother!

Sue: You can’t miss it! Look!

Saurian Major is, to quote Sue, a bit of a shit hole.

Sue: If this is Saurian Major, I’d hate to see Saurian Minor. And I definitely recognise this quarry from Doctor Who. I feel like I’m having a Doctor Who flashback.

Me: They’re probably shooting an episode of Doctor Who on the other side of that hill.

Sue: They should have pooled their resources and saved some money. They could have shared the lights and the catering. By the way, have they taken all the blue out of the image? Is that why it looks like this, or is there a fault with the camera? The white balance is completely ****ed.

Nicol thinks she’s identified Suarian Major’s biggest threat.

Nicol: Rattlesnakes. They are surrounded by rattlesnakes.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Jenna is chillaxing with Gan. It doesn’t take long before Jenna’s hair becomes the hot topic of conversation.

Sue: When I worked as a hairdresser, people actually asked for hair like hers.

Nicol: They asked for a Jenna from Blake’s 7?

Time SquadSue: No, they asked for a Farrah Fawcett. In fact, Jenna looks like Farrah Fawcett if Farah Fawcett was hard up for cash and she was forced to do panto.

Gan tells Jenna why he was sent to Cygnus Alpha.

Gan: I killed a security guard. They said it was murder. But he had a gun. I was unarmed. You see, he killed my woman.

Nicol: “My woman!” Is he a Neanderthal?

Gan bows his head in shame and grief.

Sue: Ooh, he’s got something stuck to his head. Is he wearing hair plugs?

Jenna checks on their guests, but one of them has thawed out and is now missing.

Sue: Dudley Simpson went to Spain for his holidays and he came back obsessed with maracas. Or is it castanets?

Nicol: It’s the rattlesnakes. The rattlesnakes have got on board the ship.

One of these frozen men has strange markings on his face.

Sue: I’ve seen those veins before. I never forget a vein.

Time SquadMe: If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that was Bob Peck.

Nicol: This is rubbish. I thought Blake’s 7 was going to be a hard-hitting drama that wasn’t afraid to take risks – that’s what it sounded like on the blog – but it’s just like all the other nonsense you’ve made us watch.

Sue: Terry Nation has burnt himself out. The first two episodes were actually very good, Nicol. This one is crap.

Jenna is attacked. She escapes with a broken arm, which Gan cures with a handy hi-tech healing device.

Sue: Oh look, just like Star Trek. What a surprise.

Meanwhile, on Saurian Major…

Sue: Blake’s on fire!

He really isn’t.

Time SquadSue: It’s a masterclass in how not to frame your subject. The direction is appalling.

Blake is stalked by a figure dressed in red leather.

Sue: Who’s he?

He turns out to be a she.

Sue: Is it Servalan?

She kicks Blake down a small incline.

Nicol: I’ve seen more realistic dives at St James’ Park.

Blake is overpowered and interrogated.

Cally: Who are you?

Sue: She said that without moving her lips.

Cally: Will you answer my question? Who are you?

Nicol: She did it again.

Time SquadSue: Either the director is on crack or she’s telepathic.

Blake grabs the telepath and he throws her to the ground.

Blake: You may be telepathic but you certainly can’t read minds or you never would have fallen for that.

Sue: At least she doesn’t have to learn her lines. And what kind of telepath can’t read minds, anyway? That’s rubbish!

Cally: Cally, my name is Cally.

Sue and Nicol make involuntary “Aww” noises.

Sue: Now I know she’s one of the goodies. We wouldn’t have named one of the wild cats after her if she wasn’t a goodie.

Nicol: So why haven’t we got a cat called Gan?

Sue: Gan probably gets killed. I bet that’s the reason.

Me: We don’t have a cat named Gan because Gan is a stupid name for a cat.

Nicol: And Gallifrey isn’t?

Me: If we had a cat named Gan, you’d keep asking me “Where’s Gan gan?” and I don’t think I could cope with that.

Sue: Well, now that Cally has arrived, I make that Blake’s 6. If you count Zen, which I’m supposed to, according to Neil.

Time SquadCally tells Blake that the planet’s resistance force has been completely wiped out.

Cally: The security forces kept hunting us, but we knew the hills and jungles too well.

Sue: Jungles? Is she having a laugh? The only greenery I’ve seen on this planet is that ****ing bush. There it is. Over there.

Back on the Liberator, Gan has mysteriously disappeared.

Sue: Where’s Gan gan?

Me: See!

Jenna searches the capsule for her missing crew mate.

Sue: Gan couldn’t possibly fit in there. Is she mad?

Jenna is attacked again but this time she’s come prepared and she takes out her assailant with her gun. Oh, and Gan was in the capsule all along.

Sue: I’m sorry but that is ridiculous.

Gan can’t kill anyone because he has a limiter implanted in his head.

Time SquadSue: When did that happen? Who put it there? Did the aliens put it in there? Eh? What?

Nicol: Does this spaceship have anything to do with the planet the other gang are on?

Me: No.

Nicol: Oh.

Blake, Avon, Vila and Cally infiltrate the Federation call centre.

Sue: I’ve definitely seen this location in Doctor Who. A Jon Pertwee story, I think.

‘The Hand of Fear’, actually. But I didn’t know this at the time because I didn’t do any research. I’m sorry. I feel like I’ve let you all down.

Our heroes arrive at a locked door with a Federation logo stamped on it.

Sue: It’s the Star Trek triangle again.

Me: That’s the Federation’s logo.

Sue: Why would you put the bad guys’ logo on your good guys’ logo? What’s that all about? That’s stupid.

Vila breaks into the room and Avon begins to sabotage the paraneutronic generator inside. He says it will take him five minutes.

Avon: I know. Make it two.

Sue: That’s definitely a Star Trek joke. We should have played Star Trek bingo.

Another visitor has thawed out. I think he’s been to the same tailor as Zardoz. Sue thinks he looks like a Mexican bandit. Either way, he attacks Jenna.

Time SquadSue: A rubbish fight with some badly choreographed gymnastics. HOUSE! I win.

Gan comes to the rescue. Sort of. Sue still believes that Gan’s limiter has been placed in his head by the aliens, because the alternative doesn’t really make any sense.

Sue: He’s been threatening to tear people’s arms out ever since we met him, so this has to be a recent development. And if you can’t kill, does that stop you from maiming? Can’t he just shoot the bugger in the leg?

Gan collapses in a heap.

Sue: It’s a bit shit, this.

Jenna finds the tools she needs to disconnect the capsule from the Liberator‘s power source.

Nicol: She’s got a complete collection of sonic screwdrivers there. She’s got more sonics than you have, Neil. And you’ve got loads.

Avon triggers the reactor on Saurian Major.

Sue: If only they could rip off Star Trek‘s special effects as well. That explosion was pitiful.

The crew are teleported back to the Liberator in the nick of time.

Sue: They did that last week. It’s boring already.

Time SquadJust when we think it’s all over, Jenna is attacked by another space bandit.

Sue: Is it just me or is he threatening her with some chopsticks?

When Blake rushes into hold, he accidentally pushes the bandit into the ship’s power supply, killing him instantly.

Sue: What a load of shit.

The crew decide to fling the capsule/projectile/whatever back into space, just to be on the safe side..

Avon: A single cell from those genetic banks can be incubated into fully grown adult in one point six minutes.

Vila: We could be up to our armpits in homicidal maniacs within the hour.

Sue: Just to be clear: you are a sarcastic git like Vila, but you don’t look anything like him.

Me: I’ll take that as a compliment.

Sue: Vila’s got more hair.

The episode ends with a debate about the number of crew members Blake has. It’s art imitating life. Anyway, Blake wants to include Zen.

Time SquadAvon: You’re not counting that machine as a member of the crew!

Sue: I’m with Avon. I don’t think you can count Zen, either. He isn’t real. That would be like counting your mobile phone as one of your closest friends.

Me: Try telling that to Nicol.

Cue credits.

Nicol: I liked the theme music. Everything else was dreadful. I think I’ll leave you to it from now on.

The Score:

Sue: That wasn’t very good. They should have picked up Cally in the first five minutes and skipped the rest. And why didn’t they just blow up the call centre from orbit? Are you seriously telling me that they don’t have any missiles on that ship? If I ever see that ship firing any missiles, I’ll be very pissed off.

3/10

Sue: Terry ****ing Nation.

I try to lighten the mood.

Me: So, who’s your favourite character so far?

Sue: Avon.

No hesitation.

Me: And who’s your least favourite character?

Sue: Anyone who isn’t Avon.

Next Time:

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72 comments

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 8:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sally M

    If you can get her past the next episode (oh dear, The Web) things will look up again…. yes?

    • Visit site
      January 17, 2014 7:19 amPosted 3 years ago
      kevin merchant

      I quite like the next episode. I’s a lot better than time squad

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 8:17 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Jason

    Just watched this one last night. I gotta agree with Sue: after the first couple of great episodes, this one was very mediocre and boring.

    So were those guys in the Space Seed pod definitely aliens? I bet if Blakes 7 ever got a Battlestar-style gritty remake, they’d jettison any aliens and just make it about a bunch of Federation colonies. Or at least they’d explain what the hell was up with the aliens.

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 8:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
    solar penguin

    The way to make the docking sequence watchable is by looking for the all-too-visible stick that projectile’s on.

    Yes, this was a weak episode. Couldn’t you have put Nicol off until a better one?

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 4:47 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Although it’s fun to have Nicol occasionally carping from the sidelines, I want to hear Sue’s views – Adventures With The Family And Blake every episode would dilute that a bit. 🙂

      • January 15, 2014 12:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Neil Perryman (Author)

        There’s no chance of that happening, especially after Time Squad! The original plan was to get Nicol to watch one episode from every season and for Gary to watch one full stop. The other 47 with be just Sue.

        • Visit site
          January 15, 2014 5:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Simon Ferns

          I trust that Gary gets to watch either Gambit or Stardrive?

          • Visit site
            January 15, 2014 5:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Mat Dolphin

            Perfect choices, can’t miss The Klute! How about Moloch though? I think Sue will be furious with it, what with the rampant sexism and can’t-be-asked-anymore production design.

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 8:42 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Harriet

    Cally has the best entrance of the series, but the rest of it is rather dull.

    I once wrote a short story from the point of view of the frozen corpse in the projectile.

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 9:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mycroft Badger

    Not the best episode by far, and neither is the bugger that follows it…The Web, oh dear…Still, I always liked Cally and she did get to kick Blake’s ass for a moment!

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 12:31 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Nick Mays

      He gets his own back in a later epsiode. He tries to kid some alien that Cally’s his mum!

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 9:17 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    Hehe! I thought it might go something like that. It’s the weakest episode of the first four, but I quite like it – even if the guardians are a bit rubbish. My sister, watching these for the first time, says “that was good! But it felt short.”

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 9:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Steph Adams

    I remember loving this episode as a 7 year old – Jenna defeating the pirates and the team getting a new crew member. What a disappointment to see it again as an adult. Loads of tropes, cliches and some really long drawn out sequences that were just dull! I am surprised that Sue missed Jenna splitting her trousers when she had the fight though – very thin, crappy costumes.

    As a complete side note, my sister nursed the guy who designed the original Liberator and he told her all sorts of tales, including the fact that it was filmed the wrong way round. The pointy bits were supposed to be rockets with the airwick(remember them?) ball being the main flight area. But the production and special effects team cocked it up (or thought it looked better the other way round) showed it as we see now. My sister said that he really seemed irritated by that and tried to get them to change it but to no avail.

    If this got 3 I dread to think what The Web will score. Still, things do improve after that (can’t really get much worse!). Neil- do tell Sue to look out for the make up blunders next week – hilarious!

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 12:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Nick Mays

      “As a complete side note, my sister nursed the guy who designed the original Liberator and he told her all sorts of tales, including the fact that it was filmed the wrong way round. The pointy bits were supposed to be rockets with the airwick(remember them?) ball being the main flight area. But the production and special effects team cocked it up (or thought it looked better the other way round) showed it as we see now. My sister said that he really seemed irritated by that and tried to get them to change it but to no avail. ”

      Well, it would’ve seemed a bit off to change the layout of the ship halfway through the series, but that’s a very interesting point!

      I was soooo glad when they stopped ther still photograph zoom effect though. It was just about bearable in the opening credits but not during the episodes!

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 9:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    I would have liked to have added something insightful and constructive to the above. But I can’t. I’m hoping Time Squad is as bad as series one gets.

    And yes, I was mostly in a trance looking at Sally Knyvette’s arse. In mauve.

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 6:04 amPosted 3 years ago
      John Miller

      When I first watched Blake’s 7 I was also rather observant of Jenna’s bum.

      These days I’m more interested in the fact(which Sue hasn’t mentioned?) that she thpeakth with a lithp.

      • Visit site
        January 15, 2014 12:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Nick Mays

        Doeth thhe? I hadn’t notithed!

        Nithe arthe though! 😀

      • Visit site
        February 21, 2014 10:22 amPosted 3 years ago
        Robert Dick

        It’s amusingly clear on DVD extras, etc, that David Maloney fancied Sally rotten.

    • January 15, 2014 7:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Beth

      “I’m hoping Time Squad is as bad as series one gets.”

      No such luck . . . Ben Steed is still looming in the later seasons. He’s the Ghost Of Sexist Future.

      • January 15, 2014 7:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Beth

        Oops, duh, Ben Steed doesn’t show up to damage the brain until series three!

        • Visit site
          January 16, 2014 10:50 amPosted 3 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          Yes, if taking on Trek on its own terms is a bad idea at this early stage, wait till Ben Steed takes Kirk’s womanising and ramps it up to fifteen.

      • Visit site
        January 17, 2014 5:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Angela Reilly

        I find Ben Steed episodes have a certain transfixing car-crash like quality, so at least I’m not bored!

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 10:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Rad

    Yeah, I’m with Sue. Isn’t it time for an ‘Is it Servalan?’ counter yet?

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 10:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Matthew Frost

    Great quote from Vila: “I plan to live forever. Or die trying.”

    Strange variation of the theme music at the end too.

    • Visit site
      January 14, 2014 11:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Heath Belden

      For me, that’s the quote of the series. Too bad it’s in such a forgettable episode. The only redeeming factor of this show is seeing the ensemble begin to work together without losing their individuality. Agree, would like to have had some foreshadowing of Gan’s limiter in the previous episodes, but it’s a great twist on what’s otherwise a pretty generic Little John character.

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 10:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Derek Handley

    Poor Nicol! What an episode to come in on. I struggled to get through it…

    Still, my laugh-out-loud moment was:

    “Sue: I’m with Avon. I don’t think you can count Zen, either. He isn’t real. That would be like counting your mobile phone as one of your closest friends.

    Me: Try telling that to Nicol.”

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 4:52 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      I “LOL’d” at that one too – nice rejoinder there, Neil 🙂 I also liked the dig at the old Gareth Thomas anecdote (which is apocryphal) about B7 being filmed at the same time as Dr Who round the corner of the same quarry.

      I have to admit to another LOL at Sue’s dry reaction here:

      Gan collapses in a heap.

      Sue: It’s a bit shit, this.

  • Visit site
    January 14, 2014 11:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Frank Collins

    Two very good opening episodes, a so-so episode three and then we start scraping Terry’s barrel. There’s not a lot to like about ‘Time Squad’. It’s repetitive, often illogical and contradictory. I assume script-editor Chris Boucher was asleep at the wheel at this point.

    Sue has been rather generous!

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 12:09 amPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      Confirmed…this is easily one of B7’s weakest Nation moments. I’m not sure that what Chris could have done to improve this one but it was very early days and B7 does find its feet quicker than most shows. We’ve just got to get Sue past ‘The Web’ 😉

      • Visit site
        January 15, 2014 12:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Nick Mays

        Agreed. Reading the Wiki entry on B7 last night it says quite cleary that Nation began to run out of ideas early on so Chris Boucher took over most (then pretty much all) of the writing chores.

        I also remember taking to members of The Liberator Popular Front inh 1979 (the only sci-fi fan club I ever belonged to!) and they said that Nation was a good “concept man” but piss poor at scripting beyond a couple of basic ideas.

        Come to think about it, it was pretty much the same with ‘Survivors’!

        Inciodentaly, reading DWM recently about Anthony Coburn who wrote the first Dr Who episode ‘An Unearthly Child’ it seems – according to Coburn’s son – that Nation ripped off his second, un-used script ‘Pyramids of Luxor’, which became the first Dalek story.

        And who wrote all the best Dalek stories? Not Nation! Even ‘Geneis of the Daleks’ owes a huge amount to Robert Holmes’ input.

        And to think I used to idolise that man when I was a kid! 😉

        Neil – will you be doing B7 mugs? I think Terry ****ing Nation can transfer across well!

        Sue: Brave heart – it does get better! Not long ’til Travis Mk1 pops up.

        • Visit site
          January 15, 2014 5:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Jane

          “And who wrote all the best Dalek stories?”

          David Whitaker, of course.

          • Visit site
            January 15, 2014 6:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Nick Mays

            Absolutely he did!!!

  • January 15, 2014 12:03 amPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    Sue: At least Star Trek was made in colour; Blake’s 7 is made in brown.

    Best line of the experiment and we’re only four episodes in!

    What a clart on.

    Forgive American ignorance, but if this isn’t a typo, what does it mean? And if it IS a typo, what does it mean? Thanks to Google and context, I can guess, but it’s completely new to me.

    I barely remember this (and I JUST watched it) apart from Cally’s entrance, which as others have mentioned is relatively splendid. I really like Cally when she’s a merciless guerilla and not just a swooning empath.

    So much to say about the next episode, but I’ll save it until then. If Sue makes it through.

    • January 15, 2014 12:44 amPosted 3 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      “Clart on” is a northern thing. It basically means “a pain in the arse”.

      • January 15, 2014 7:40 amPosted 3 years ago
        encyclops

        Ah, thanks! Not that I’ll ever be in a situation where I could get away with casually saying it, but does it rhyme with…er…”hard on”?

      • Visit site
        January 17, 2014 9:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Mike

        That’s the first time I’ve seen or heard ‘clart’ since my gran passed on – she was from Byker and was always accusing of us of ‘clarting around’. A fine word which should be used more often, perhaps the Queen or Benedict Cumberbach can adopt it.

        Thanks for bringing back some fond memories – which is more than this episode managed. I don’t remember Blake’s 7 as being so dull, but perhaps my 11 year old self was less demanding.

        • Visit site
          May 13, 2014 4:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          Sue says ‘mardy’ too, which I don’t hear that much any more. “Eee, don’t be so marred!” my gran would say.
          For Americans, it essentially means ‘spoiled, whiny’.

  • January 15, 2014 12:17 amPosted 3 years ago
    Nalini Haynes

    The problem with my partner and I re-watching a beloved program we both grew up with is WE DON’T HAVE THESE HILARIOUS CONVERSATIONS. I’m going to have to rewatch AFTER reading these posts. 🙂

    I’m also trying to get my partner to read this blog but he hasn’t commented yet… I’m looking forward to his surprise when he actually reads the emails I’ve forwarded 😉

    Keep up the good work!

  • Visit site
    January 15, 2014 12:25 amPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “Christ, this is boring”

    I pretty much thought the same thing way back in 1978 (and I was much easier to please in those days).

    I may be wrong but didn’t Trevor Hoyle leave that whole capsule subplot out of his novelization of this episode? I could certainly understand it if he did.

    The stuff on Saurian Major isn’t too bad though.

    Probably the dullest B-plot in the 4 year run, unless I’ve blotted out an even duller one.

    • Visit site
      January 15, 2014 3:33 amPosted 3 years ago
      Harriet

      I may be wrong but didn’t Trevor Hoyle leave that whole capsule subplot out of his novelization of this episode?

      Absolutely not. The painful simile of Jenna “like a butterfly hovering over broken glass, unable to settle” while she wonders where Gan has got to has never left my brain in 35 bloody years.

    • Visit site
      January 16, 2014 10:55 amPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Only because Allan Prior isn’t capable of writing B-plots.

  • Visit site
    January 15, 2014 5:21 amPosted 3 years ago
    John Miller

    ”Sue: Either the director is on crack or she’s telepathic.”

    Can’t both be true?

    It’s a shame that this was Nicol’s introduction to Blake. Had she started at the beginning, her views of the show as a whole may be very different.

    Of course, there is the idea that every television network has its own default position for any sort of genre, and no matter how the show begins, sooner or later it will devolve into a set position.

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      January 16, 2014 10:47 amPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      It was Penant Roberts, so no, unless by ‘crack’ you mean ‘mogadon’, at least where the gun battles and explosions are concerned.

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    January 15, 2014 5:57 amPosted 3 years ago
    Gareth M

    Doctor Who could have learnt from this episode and played around with a few more filters when they visited the planet of the quarry people.

    They may all be in awful costumes, but they sell it regardless.

    I forgot they introduced Gan’s limiter this early. I thought it came in later.

    Next episode at least the Liberator will put up the force wall and clear the neutron blasters for firing. Though they’ve never shot something on a planet.

    The spaceship set and model will be trotted out a few more times in the future.
    I’m still note sure where exactly the Liberator’s hold is though, it just seems like they fly over the ship and something opens somewhere.

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      January 15, 2014 8:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      They plan to shoot something on the surface of Zonda in “Shadow”, but have to place markers first, which here would’ve meant a mission down to the surface of Saurian Major (and into the Fed complex) anyway. If they’re going to blow something up they might as well take explosives and do it themselves…

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    January 15, 2014 5:58 amPosted 3 years ago
    Tom Brevoort

    This is where I came in. Not a very auspicious start.

    In the States, we got BLAKES 7 for the first time around 1987, once the assorted PBS stations that were making a fortune in pledge drives off of DOCTOR WHO began to cast around for anything else in the BBC back-catalog that might do the same. (We got RED DWARF a year or two later, by 1989, for the exact same reason.)

    They were run five days a week (as opposed to WHO, which tended to run edited together as complete stories and which tended to play either Friday or Saturday evenings late night, or occasionally on Saturday afternoons.) But with BLAKES 7, they began by airing the first three in a block as an intro mini-movie on Saturday, and began the daily run on Monday. I missed that mini-movie, but assumed that they’d run the first three again as the Monday-Wednesday episodes. So I went right in the deep end, and not with BLAKES’ finest hour.

    Stuck with it, though, and was able to eventually borrow the first three episodes from people who’d videotaped them–I wound up seeing them out of order even then. But I had suffered through worse WHO than this, and it was on daily, so it became a habit.

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    January 15, 2014 9:05 amPosted 3 years ago
    Jessica Patton

    Neil: I convinced her to watch ‘Space Seed’ before she saw Star Trek Into Darkness. She didn’t even thank me..

    I’m aware that this isn’t the best start, but please make your next project ‘Trek with the Wife through Space’. That’s if Sue hasn’t packed it in by then.

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    January 15, 2014 12:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Nick Mays

    This made it for me – best quote of the blog (so far):

    Sue: When I worked as a hairdresser, people actually asked for hair like hers.

    Nicol: They asked for a Jenna from Blake’s 7?

    Sue: No, they asked for a Farrah Fawcett. In fact, Jenna looks like Farrah Fawcett if Farah Fawcett was hard up for cash and she was forced to do panto.

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    January 15, 2014 6:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    Definitely the worst episode so far – it feels like Terry Nation had two ideas that weren’t strong enough to expand into full episodes, so tried to make them work as two halves of a whole, only it never quite works out. Shame really, Cally deserved a much better entrance, although if her telepathic powers are limited to sending her thoughts into someone’s mind when they’re within speaking distance, I can’t see them being much use…

    Time Squad is a really good title though. I was going to say it sounds like it should be a kids cartoon series involving a gang of wacky characters travelling through time, but according to Wikipedia someone’s already made it. Spooky!

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    January 16, 2014 10:41 amPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Funny, I thought it wouldn’t been till next time that we got The Wobble…

    A pedant writes: I would have brought Nicol on board for either Mission To Destiny or Breakdown, so that she could spit out her tea at how most of the time the show has no idea of how three-dimensional space actually works; if I recall right, Breakdown rubs it in further with a two-dimensional star chart. Instead it’s just like a small boat travelling a big ocean at night, coupled with atmospheric perspective and the curviture of the earth, so any big hazard that doesn’t appear on your map is not going to be spotted until you’re virtually on top of it and have to take ages performing a three-point turn around the thing. We can map out entire galaxies with the poxy equipment we’ve got now, so even if a meteorite storm big enough to hold up a light-class starship for what – eighteen hours? – was possible, any spacial anomaly capable of exerting the forces the Liberator is subject to week after week through shitty piloting, would be detectable from whole star systems away, but is also going to be emblazened on every star chart with CHRIST ALMIGHTY DON’T GO THERE MATE in the biggest 70s OCR computer font they can’t find. And indeed it is in Breakdown, but they go straight through it anyway because it’s on the straight line from point A to point B. Admittedly though, changing course by a couple of degrees much futher out to avoid it and adding the minimum of additional flight time (elementary trigonometry at work) is rather less convincing in a complexly-designed ship which, unlike Scorpio and its quantel-bubble, looks fabulous but is clearly not intended to go up or down.

    In fact, the only episode which off-hand definitely seems to get this aspect of astral navigation right, and provides a good reason why the Liberator can’t just sail around it, is… oh. Oh dear, it’s Dawn Of The Gods isn’t it?

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      January 16, 2014 10:52 amPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Pedant Roberts, that’s me.

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      January 17, 2014 12:45 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      They couldn’t sail around anything in Breakdown because it would’ve taken too long and Gan would’ve died…

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        January 17, 2014 11:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        You’re not seeing the point yet. You know there’s an object ages and ages away, you want to avoid it with the minimum delay. Freed from the restrictons imposed by planetary terrain, you change course fractionally much further out, and then just keep going. Draw a very very long right-angled triangle of just a couple of degrees at one end. Measure the relative lengths of the adjacent and the hypoteneuse. If the triangle is long enough and the angle is tiny, you’ll find the difference is inifinitismal while still doing the job, enough to make a complete mockery of the many attempts of the series to add any dramatic urgency to the hazards of space travel.

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          January 18, 2014 4:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          Trouble is they don’t know how big the hazardous volume of space is – it’s not an “object”, and the forbidden travel zone is a huge volume of space that Zen says would take 600 hours to travel round instead of 200 – so the danger zone, at least as far as Zen knows it, covers a big volume. The crew (rightly) decide that Zen’s programmers were overcautious. Since it’s a zone, they don’t know the danger is in the exact centre from where they start – so why not go straight through…

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            January 20, 2014 4:28 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            Because it’s a stupid idea and the maths don’t add up, and Mission To Destiny makes the same mistake once again. First of all, consider how vast an area 200 hours across has to be, even if Zen is being overcautious. For comparison purposes, that’s 200 hours in a ship that could make a journey in four days, instead of the three months the sub-light ship in MtD requires – that 200 hours is whole star systems across.

            And second, it doesn’t matter how big it is, because (circumference = pi x diamater) for a spherical area of space is as true for three dimensions as it is for two. In order for the distance to travel around being three times the distance to travel through, then either you’re inside the zone already, or the zone has to be a lot flatter, and we know that can’t be the case if it’s got a great big force generator in the middle of it.

            Conclusion: nobody on the ship knows how to navigate space properly; not even Jenna the smuggler, who has at least been off-world before. If Avon’s intelligence does know better, then this is one hell of a dangerous psychological game he’s playing just to see how far the others are capable of screwing up out of loyalty to each other (actually, that’s the most reasonable-sounding part of the episode). So if they’re that ignorant, why the hell AREN’T they trusting Zen?

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            January 20, 2014 6:27 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            A magnetic/gravitic whirlpool probably *is* wider than it is deep though, the same as a galaxy 🙂

            I have no trouble with the effect of the spinny thing extending further up-down-sideways to the Lib’s orientation than it is along the axis of travel.

            After all, it’s a made-up object. I have more problems with SF “black holes” being 2-dimensional…

  • January 16, 2014 1:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Paul Mudie

    You’re not alone, Neil. I often found myself distracted by Jenna’s arse too. 🙂

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    January 16, 2014 10:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Grant M

    I had to watch Time Squad 1½ times before commenting after falling asleep halfway through on first viewing. No, really, I did.

    At best it was two completely unconnected stories jammed together to make up the episode’s running length; at worst it was, well, crap. Presumably Terry F. Nation spent a hurried half-hour picking through all the envelopes he’d scribbled on the back off once people started screaming for the finished scripts.

    It did provide my favourite wtf moment in the run so far, though: Blake and Jenna teleporting across to the projectile standing upright, but arriving conveniently bent double to fit in the available space. Whew! Just as well the teleport figured that one out then.

    The sudden introduction of Gan’s limiter seems as bolted-on as the chunks of metal stuck in his head. Was it always intended to be part of his character arc? It certainly didn’t stop him leading the charge for the armoury on the London, nor threatening Arco et al on Cygnus Alpha. Wait, now he’s having some sort of breakdown. What did I miss?

    And the least said about “my woman” the better. Ugh.

    Jenna must have an incredibly high pain threshold given the way she’s waving her “I think it’s broken” arm around. Oh look, now she’s been kicked full in the face by one of the Popsicle Psychos. Please tell me she doesn’t suddenly turn out to be a cyborg or something in a couple of episodes.

    Shame the budget couldn’t stretch to a model of the transceiver complex blowing up. Guess they spent all the money on the projectile. Sue’s right, though, it does look pretty decent.

    By the way, I visited Oldbury Nuclear Power Station with my friend Dave (who I know reads this blog) in Scouts. We had a hilarious tour from a woman who obviously knew nothing about nuclear power and couldn’t answer any of our questions, only repeat things from her scripted talk. Oh, we were so mean to her.

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      January 17, 2014 11:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Gan’s a complicated man and nobody understood him but his woman. 😛

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    January 17, 2014 2:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Bernard D

    I adore The Web. It’s the first chance to “explore a strange new world”. Soo similar in style to a mid 70s Doctor Who Ep. Use of outdoor film is marvellous too. Creepy well hiden villain too. Whats not to like.

  • January 17, 2014 3:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Paul Greaves

    Me: So, who’s your favourite character so far?
    Sue: Avon.
    Me: And who’s your least favourite character?
    Sue: Anyone who isn’t Avon.

    Right at the end, my favourite comment from Sue 🙂 Time Squad may be bollocks but at least it isn’t Mission to F****** Destiny. That’s the episode where Terry Nation woke up one morning and thought “Shit, I’ve got half a season left to write…”

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      January 17, 2014 11:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      I liked Mission To Destiny the first time for the ‘mystery in space’ plot, but it’s contrived as fuck, never feels like it belongs in the same series and doesn’t hold any repeat viewings whatsoever, not even for John Leeson.

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    January 18, 2014 2:24 amPosted 3 years ago
    John

    The logo isn’t a ripoff of the Star Trek Federation logo. Sure, there is a clear reference, but Terry Nation is trying to make a point. Star Trek is all about the benevolence of concentrated power. Blakes 7 takes a more realistic view. The Federation logo is tilted (to the right) to show how a galactic empire really would be. Star Trek is utopian, and Blakes 7 is a dose of reality.

    A galactic empire probably wouldn’t be such a great place to live.

    The logo isn’t a ripoff, it’s a reaction.

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    January 18, 2014 10:16 amPosted 3 years ago
    BWT

    Y’know, apart from meeting Cally, I can’t remember a damned sausage about this episode…

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    January 18, 2014 2:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    Not great but I seem to like it a bit more than most. The capsule storyline is quite creepy at first, it’s a bit of a let down that it just turns into some hairy blokes running around the ship.
    This episode does feature one of the most annoying traits of Nation’s writing (and there’s many) – introducing the flesh-eating plants on Saurian Major and then instantly forgetting about them the moment Vila’s said “urgh!”. Why bother?

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    January 22, 2014 12:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Neil and Lucy

    In some ways Lucy’s reaction to this one kept entirely to the anticipated script. Cally’s appearance was met with yet another “is that Servalan?” and there was much comment on the awfulness of Jenna’s top and the tightness of her trousers (which I honestly hadn’t noticed previously but really couldn’t unnotice once it had been pointed out to me.)

    In other respects there were surprises though. “That was better than the last one. I’ll give it 7.5/10.” “Really? That was better than the last one? The one with Brian Blessed?” “The plot was structured better. There were fewer loose ends.” And that my friends is the joy of a fresh persepctive. Apparently the episode that we are now calling “the one with the space Romans” does have some redeeming qualities.

  • February 1, 2014 9:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Shane Killian

    A grumpy Siri, huh? Reminds me of a certain Box. You guys have GOT to do Star Cops next!

  • February 4, 2014 2:52 amPosted 3 years ago
    Robin

    Gan is undoubtedly the best name for a cat I’ve ever heard.

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    February 20, 2014 3:37 amPosted 3 years ago
    Jonathan Maddox

    Here’s one Gan Gan:

    http://goo.gl/maps/eIQqy

    And here’s another:

    http://goo.gl/maps/hshCo

    Just so you know. There are one or two more.

  • May 12, 2014 12:14 amPosted 3 years ago
    Elizabeth Lang

    They seem to be missing quite a few bracelets already, and it’s only the fourth episode.

    > If you look at CA, there is a shot of the full teleport bracelet tray. That is the only time we will ever see it full. After Blake takes the teleport bracelets down to CA and abandons the prisoners there, he never bothers going back to either save them (or retrieve the bracelets) or to tell them they don’t have to fear Vargas’s thugs because the virus isn’t real and they don’t need that ‘antidote.’ And one thing about CA. The prisoners didn’t want to go with Blake, no because they were cowards and didn’t want to fight, but from what they said, they had been told they would die of they leave the planet and could not get access to the life-saving drug. On that point, Blake, if he was actually out to save people or was even a nice guy, should have gone back for them, at least to tell them about the fake drug, or even if they didn’t want to fight (because the only reason we realize now that Blake went to CA is to get himself a crew) at least to transport them away to a safer place. It’s not like the huge Liberator doesn’t have room or that they can’t come back later for them when it was safer. But we know for a fact that he left them to suffer because of that teleport bracelet count. Never again do we see a full tray and often we clearly see that ones are missing even if none of them are wearing one.

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      May 13, 2014 5:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      No no no. It miraculously gets filled again. I know because I was practically distraught at the sloppiness of the bracelet thing.
      a) why dont they ever take spare bracelets on missions, since its the first thing that gets taken off them;
      b)why dont they go with visitors when sending them home and retrieve bracelets or at least have the visitors send the bracelets to a post office box…Federation must have a post office…give them a Stamped Addressed Envelope…its the 70s, you heard the phrase Stamped Addressed Envelope all the time;
      c) or cant Orac teleport the bracelets back? He can operate the teleport from down on a planet after all….
      yeah you know really, what did they kidnap Orac for?
      and then all of a sudden, in The Keeper, there is a totally full rack! No explanation at all. They must have a cupboard full. Perhaps the aliens who built it left their bracelets all over their galaxy, and needed a cupboard of spares but since they were robotic and programmed it seems unlikely they’d be forgetful. These were the type of aliens who would remember to put the keys on the hook by the door and not have to scour the house for them every single day.
      I cant describe the sense of wholeness and completeness I get when my keys are on the hook.

  • May 12, 2014 12:30 amPosted 3 years ago
    Elizabeth Lang

    Me: So, who’s your favourite character so far?

    Sue: Avon.

    No hesitation.

    >> Mine too. No hesitation.

    Me: And who’s your least favourite character?

    Sue: Anyone who isn’t Avon.

    >> Blake, followed by anyone who isn’t Avon. 🙂

    Like Sue, I was persuaded to try B7 by someone who liked Vila. After the first episode, I almost stopped watching. Boring and couldn’t stand Blake.

    I do like the dark theme and some of the concepts were probably new for that era but it’s old hat for us now. While I am used to Doctor Who and Sapphire and Steel and their often great scripts, despite wobbly and often rubbish sets, some of the lack of care taken in the B7 scripts make me cringe. But I’m glad my friend twisted my arm and I watched Spacefall. After finding Avon, I was hooked even though the show itself and most of the characters still bugged me, but that’s a personal opinion.

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