210 – Blakes 7 – Weapon

Watch Blake and the gang being manipulated like puppets on a string!

Ben and Eugene discuss the Blakes 7 episode, Weapon.

10 thoughts on “210 – Blakes 7 – Weapon”

  1. I gotta say I like the concept of IMIPAC. I think it would’ve been useful to the Interstellar Barbary Pirates of the episode “bounty.”

    I also like the way the costume department suddenly goes crazy with giant collars.

    I always found myself wondering whether there is much fan fiction around the clone blake or (trying not to give spoilers) if the clone might follow in the real Blake’s footsteps…

  2. Agreed on the collars – like funky proto-Time Lords. I’m usually outraged at the silly impracticality of the costumes (why does Carnell need a cape on a space station?) … yet I completely accept every ludicrous outfit Servalan wears.

    Amazingly, I still remember my impressions upon first seeing this episode back in 1979(?). I recall thinking “These CloneMasters are a big deal! Clones will be a big part of the series!” … [tiny spoiler] of course, they’re never heard from again. Out the back of of the studio they must have had a big dumpster labelled “Wasted Ideas”, it would have been chock-full.

    The other memory I have is of the monster. From all the banging and wheezing out in the corridor, I expected the monster to be 1970-grade Doctor Who man-in-a-suit … then suddenly … A GIANT LOBSTER CLAW THE SIZE OF A VOLKSWAGEN CRASHES THROUGH THE DOOR! Yes, I realise now how ropey the claw is, but it made a big impact when I first saw it.

    I wasn’t disappointed that the episode treads water (plotwise). Coser, his bond-slave, the CloneMasters and the Puppeteer provide interesting glimpses into what goes on in other corners of the Federation. The Puppeteers are a wonderful concept. Again … wasted ideas.

    That Blake clone … such a stiff.

    I do enjoy watching John Bennett grump and snarl his way through the role of Coser – dancing that fine line between psychotic and completely psychotic. If only I could resist yelling “Aziz! Light!” at the TV.

    1. Carnell needs a cape to carry off that personality!

      One quibble on your spoiler… not entirely think that’s true. I’ll try to remember to make a shout out when the Clone Masters pop up again… sort of. Let’s just say, they’re not completely forgotten.

  3. Thanks to Eugene and Ben for pointing out the inconsistencies with the use of IMIPAC. It always occured to me the Blake and the gang should think Servalon still has it when next they get wind of her, and run away like mad.

  4. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about that weird dissonance in that opening scene. The one that looks like Blake, isn’t Blake. The one that doesn’t look like Travis, is Travis.

    I guess a wild and wacky enough writer could have done something interesting with that. But they don’t because it’s not clever writing, it’s a horrible accident. One is an in-story device, one is the result of a production problem but the upshot is it alienates the viewer, because, yes, we start thinking about the hair and the shoutiness and the would-Greif-have-done-it-like-that, and not about what’s going on in the story.

    I hate recasting. I think – hope – it has gone out of fashion. I certainly remember it being more common in the TV I watched in the 80s and into the early 90s. Instead, now, they write characters out. Why not, as Ben suggests, bring in a different character to fulfil the role Travis had in this story?

    Recasting destroys the integrity of the show, for me. It’s not even as if it were a major character, without whom the show could not continue…

    1. I’m certainly not sure that recasting was a good choice in this case; however, actors are just players on a stage, and theatre (which BBC TV sprung forth from) has a long-standing tradition of recasting successfully. It’s a valid avenue to deal with behind-the-scenes issues that could otherwise derail a production.

      Sometimes, it would almost seem impossible to avoid. Let’s say you were making a popular TV show about Robin Hood or Ivanhoe, and the actor playing the lead dropped dead. You could hardly continue a show called “Ivanhoe” without the main character being Ivanhoe, could you? Recasting is the obvious choice.

      It’s perhaps not impossible to loose the eponymous hero of a TV series and continue on without recasting, but I think it would take better writing than what we’ve seen in something like this episode to pull that off.

      Now, asking the question: did they do a good job recasting Travis? That is a whole different can of worms.

      In my non-spoilery way, new Travis (somewhat) grows on me with time, but I have to think of him as a different character than Grief’s Travis to reconcile that in my head.

      1. I know nothing of Ivanhoe. But I guess the Robin Hood you’re alluding to is either Robin of Sherwood (where they introduced a new lead rather than recast), or the new Robin Hood (where they only got as far as introducing the new lead, overlapping with Armstrong who he would have replaced, then the show got canned).

        So even if the character’s name is in the title of the show, they can still be written out…

        1. I intentionally chose Ivanhoe because I know not of any series which lost its titular character. I mentioned a Robin Hood slightly tongue and cheek.

          It is, however, still the exception rather than the rule that you can escape the departure of your lead actor and not recast.

          Let’s make a show up: The Adventures of Winston Churchill. You kind of need Winston Churchill to be in the show and if the actor leaves… You cancel or you recast.

          I think many shows have been held back because of an unwillingness to recast. The original Star Trek, for example, was the adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, three fictional characters – not Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly. I have reservations about rebooted Star Trek, but that’s all down to writing, direction and philosophy of Trek. I fully support the recasting so that we can continue to have more adventures of those characters.

          1. I haven’t seen it, but my understanding of the new Star Trek is that it isn’t actually recasting?

            Imagine if they’d just recast the Doctor. I doubt the Doctor Who would still be going today – the way they cleverly wrote around the cast change is what has allowed the show itself to regenerate so many times.

            Recasting may be the obvious choice. It’s certainly the easiest choice. I don’t believe it’s the right choice.

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