237 – Blakes 7 – Countdown

The planet Albion is under attack by rebels, but the Federation have one last line of defense.  A weapon so terrible, no one would ever use it.

Until they do.

Can Avon, assisted only by a man who has sworn to kill him, stop the countdown and save the planet?

Ben and Eugene discuss Countdown.

3 thoughts on “237 – Blakes 7 – Countdown”

  1. Somewhere in here are the ingredients for a great episode. Although it has all the plot and script shortcomings you’re identified, I think that the direction was the real failure here.

    + Opening firefights – exciting! Much better than the usually pudgy bloke in mask and overalls falling down a sandbank in a quarry. Although I did wonder if the stuntmen were leftovers from Havoc. They just had that air of over-enthusiastically running around biffing people.

    + Provine – delightfully Federation-efficient and evil.

    + The countdown starts at 999 seconds, but seems to take several hours to actually get to zero. Blake arrives when the count is around the 500 mark, giving the crew a little over eight minutes to save the day. The countdown timing is ridiculous and you’re constantly given reminders of how silly it is throughout the episode.

    + Blake … here’s an idea … you might try evacuating some women and children in the eight minutes you have left.

    + The biggest issue is that for a planet facing annihilation in 999 seconds, there’s no sense of urgency. Everyone is calm and relaxed. The female guerrilla quietly sorts through the staff photos as though its another day of filing at the office. Provine (in disguise) claims that he’s doing “circuit maintenance” when the planet has only five minutes left. There’s no sense of what is at stake – every man, woman and child on the planet. It’s a big failure in direction.

    I keep comparing it against the 1964 movie “Failsafe”, which has the same premise, a race to prevent doomsday, but which gets the tension right.

    1. It’s interesting that you mention the total lack of tension during the countdown for everyone except maybe Avon and Grant. It is missing and my mind apparently interpreted it to mean “it’s better dead than living under the Federation thumb.” But upon reflection, that’s stupid.

    2. I think that the direction was the real failure here.

      Nail on the head. My thought exactly.

      It’s a by-the-numbers thriller, but could have been perfectly entertaining if it weren’t for the flabby direction. It just left me thinking ‘meh’.

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