Sgathaich: Blake’s 7 Cygnus Alpha

For anyone wondering why I’m reviewing the third episode of the cult science fiction series Blake’s 7: Cygnus Alpha, and not the first two, there is a very good reason for that – Brian Blessed.

We start with a recap of the previous episode:  Blake, Stannis and Avon (the magnificent bastard) have escaped the prison ship that was to send them to Cygnus Alpha by boarding a strange alien craft, but now want to free their comrades as Blake needs a crew ( while Avon just wants to get the hell out of there and use the ship for his own means). We see very early on this isn’t a team work kind of deal, all getting along, nope, everyone is doing it for their own ends (mainly Avon) but we also see some of the ship, and from its design both inside and out it’s very alien compared to what we see of the federation (bad guys) ships.

The next scenes involve those, who didn’t get away, arriving on the planet, greeted by cloaked religious people ( who will obviously turn out to be evil) and our three leads examining the ship. I give it credit for in this setting having teleportation as something they haven’t worked out fully yet, citing the problems of it and discovering the ship could do that is a big deal.

Blake teleports down to the planet to test the device, and is beamed back up  before he can be killed by religious people.Later we meet their leader, Vargus, played by the always great Brian Blessed. You soon learn the religion is bullshit, everything made up and Vargus wants universal domination, but who cares it’s Brian Blessed. Every scene with him is glorious.

You really do begin to get a feel for the characters. Compare this to Star Trek’s clean cut multi ethnic crew and Blake’s 7 are far more interesting and real. You have people who feel how we would be in a situation like this, panicked, maybe analysing everything and not taking it at face value, or maybe just in it for themselves. Blake here does come across as the more heroic figure not trying to back stab anyone (Avon pointing a gun at him first chance he got, but partly to test that they wouldn’t work on this ship).

This leads to the climax as Blake convinces his convict friends to fight off the religious people who were planning on sacrificing one of them to get Blake to give them the ship. One of Blake’s comrades dies in the scuffle and Vargus accidentally is beamed onboard, bragging and threatening them only for them to beam him off into space where we soon learn that though sound can’t exist in space, Brian Blessed’s shouting can.

A fun outing of a cult show, building up our “heroes” though I did have to wait till half way for Brian Blessed to appear, oh but once he did 🙂

Rating: lance lance lance lance

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