Humanity is saved from near annihilation thanks to some quick thinking from Blake and his crew aboard the Liberator who warn Servalan and the Federation of the invading Adromedans. Following the massive space battle, the third season kicks off on the planet Sarrin where Avon is unlucky enough to land along with his arch enemy, Servalan. It’s one of my favorite Blake’s 7 episodes full of the usual witty dialogue and dark themes and cardboard special effects which are hobbled together on a shoe-string budget, it’s hopelessly BBC, and I love it.
This series sees Servalan rise from the rubble of the Terran Federation as President Servalan, having assumed full control of the remaining military structure and seeing off civilian control. With the crew scattered after abandoning the Liberator, Blake and Jenna leave, which provides Avon the opportunity to assume command of the Liberator, well almost. The plan doesn’t quite work out of course since the series producers introduce two new characters, Dayna and Tarrant, Tarrant the ex-Federation officer provides a suitable replacement for Blake as a friction point for Avon.
Once again our heroes must face interpersonal conflicts while also staying away from the Federation and Servalan’s relentless pursuit.
Series three contains a mixture of episodes, some better than others. The climax is reached in Terminal when Avon, fooled into thinking he can rescue Blake, risks everything sweeping aside his notorious ability for looking out for number one. Given his ego and reputation for self-interest his trip is a big fall and it leads to the destruction of the liberator and the death of another crew member. Yes, the vulnerability of the crew is exposed once more and we are left wondering what will happen to the remaining team without the mighty Liberator.
Laugh at the special effects for sure, but it’s undeniable that this show’s characterisation and cynical themes are top notch. Paul Darrow is brilliant as Avon and Micheal Keating as Vila provides plenty of humor, the dashing Tarrant, played by Steven Pacey, is a crucial replacement for the absent Blake. It all works well and while many fans of Blake were disappointed he left the show to pursue other avenues, it seemed to add a certain realism, especially since the writers and producers never bothered to simply hire another actor. It’s the secret ingredient to the broad appeal of this BBC classic.
If you’re a fan at all of the earlier series’ than go ahead and purchase this, just note you’ll need a multi-zone DVD player, or equivalent software on your PC.
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