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Roj Blake (Gareth Thomas), law abiding citizen of the totalitarian
30th century earth, is one day rather involuntarily dragged into a
meeting of the forbidden opposition forces. Rather shocked by that
alone, he is even more shocked when he is told he himself was once their
leader who was caught by the government though & brainwashed in
order not to be killed as a martyr. But that is still nothing compared
to the shock he gets when he sees the whole opposition group being
gunned down by government forces (he alone had the good sense of
hiding), led there by the spy Tarrant (Jeremy Wilkin).
To his distress
though he has to realize that not only this large scale massacre has no
consequences for either government or security forces, but also that he
is soon wrongly accused of child abuse & convicted on forged but
waterproof evidence - but he also finds the memories of his days in the
resistance again, that were blocked away by some serious brainwashing.
& while he, in transfer prison, soon to be
sent off to penal planet Cygnus Alpha, meets thief Vila (Michael
Keating) & smuggler Jenna (Sally Knyvette) - both of no consequence to
this episode, but soon to become part of the regular cast of the series
- for the first time, his lawyer Varon (Michael Halsey) grows
increasingly doubtful of the guilt of his client.
Together with his
wife (Pippa Steel) he soon starts to uncover a government plot do
discredit Blake & hush up their massacring of the opposition at the
same time. But once he has pieced the puzzle together, with proof of
both the massacre & the forged evidence at Blake's trial, he &
his wife are shot dead.
The prison ship takes off, with no hope for
Blake to be saved any more ...
The tv-series Blake's 7
was often dismissed as a British poor man's version of Star Trek.
However this first episode of the series shows none of that at all,
instead takes cues from George Orwell's 1984 & mixes
them with pulp science fiction elements - which would in later episodes
take the upper hand - to an entertaining brew.
Effects & scenery
look rather shabby - especially since the series was made in the
immediate post-Star Wars-era, when the focus of science
fiction-cinema & -tv shifted totally from original ideas (or ideas
of any kind) to effects
& production values - & the costumes have that campy
instant-retro look often associated with vintage sci-fi, but all that
cannot hide a pleastently anti-establishment, anti-militaristic message -
which would be quite the opposite from Star
wouldn't it ?