August 19, 2013
Famous Cult Series Landing On Xbox Live
When you think of a classic British science fiction series that had decent — even exceptional — storylines, but featured cardboard sets and had a budget less than most American sitcoms, what comes to mind? No, we’re not talking about Doctor Who but rather the seldom-seen-in-America Blake’s 7.
The show was actually created by Terry Nation, who was the actual creator of the Daleks – the mutated race that “lives” the tank-like robotic mechanical shell. Nation devised these as a one-off villain in the second Doctor Who story in 1963, but they became so popular that they’ve returned countless times.
Nation thus was clearly a writer with vision and in the immediate post-Star Wars era devised a show that would be part Robin Hood, part Brave New World and part Western. This was 25 years before Josh Weldon came up with the similar series Firefly btw.
What stood Blake’s 7 apart from other science-fiction shows was that the future wasn’t depicted as a happy utopia. Clearly, borrowing from the idea of a more sinister government that was seen in Star Wars, Blake’s 7 became a sort of anti-Star Trek.
Roj Blake — the original lead in the series — was a high status worker who lived in a domed city on Earth, or so it seemed. In the series opener, he actually learns that he was the leader of a group of political activists and that the Federation isn’t anything like the peaceful and benevolent Federation of Gene Roddenberry’s future. Blake’s memory had been wiped and he had denounced the rebellion; but, once restored, he is arrested and sent to a far off prison planet.
Soon, Blake and a ragtag crew of other criminals, outcasts and rebels manage to take control of an alien spacecraft they dub the Liberator. It is the fastest ship in known space and they decide to take the fight to the Federation.
What stood Blake’s 7 apart from other shows is that none of the characters were “safe,” and over the course of four seasons characters died! Even Blake is killed; or thought to have been killed during the final two seasons.
Now it appears that Microsoft might allow Blake and his crew to have another go at bringing down the evil Federation as the BBC announced the cult series might transport down to the Xbox Live service.
It was announced back in April that the series might appear on SyFy, but now it seems that a full season (13 episodes) might get added funding from Microsoft and appear on its over-the-top (OTT) service as Xbox Live looks to compete with Netflix and Hulu.
This is also not the first official relaunch of the cult series, which had a brief run in audio format on BBC Radio 4. However, in 2000 the rights to the show were bought Andrew Mark Sewell the BBC reported.
He hasn’t yet confirmed that the show will make it to Xbox Live, SyFy or anywhere else.
“When we have news to report, we’ll let everyone know,” he told the BBC.
Given the state of today’s CGI graphics and other technology, it could be something to see a fresh take on this cult series. Let’s just hope, however — whenever — it is made, that it sticks to some key details. The Federation must remain evil and corrupt; Blake and his crew don’t really like each other much, they bicker, fight and even plot against one another; and no one is safe.
In other words, the same show, but only better.
Image Credit: BBC