Friday, August 15, 2008

A Critical Analysis of A Critical Analysis

Blake's 7 is a show that concerns the little guy battling City Hall...

John "Living In Fantasyland" Kenneth Muir's A History And Critical Analysis of Blake's 7 The 1978-1981 British Television Space Adventure is one of the stupidest books in existence. It set me back $94 for a poorly-printed paperback slightly thicker than the average Terrance Dicks novelization, and its crudely-printed photos were of ANYTHING except Blake's 7. Unable to remortgage my house to his A History And Critical Analysis of Doctor Who The 1963-1981 British Television Time And Space Adventure (AKA Peter Davison Sucks Big Time and The Daleks Represents The British Attacking The Freedom of America), I had to settle for his opinions of my second-favorite sci-fi show.

For a book with a title like that you would expect some modicum of self-restraint and composure in the set text but you'd be wrong. This madman can't even caption a fan sketch of a spaceship without losing it and blowing his load all over his typewriter: Roj Blake's magnificent spaceship the Liberator sets sail for freedom. Be no doubt, if someone said something like that in the actual show, Avon would have shot them dead and Blake would have applauded. "Down with the Federation!" he shrieks at the end of his introduction, where he mentions Star Trek twice in the first paragraph before actually turning to the subject of the whole freaking book. Indeed, "Why Star Trek Sucks!" would be a more honest title for this book. In any given section there's twice the reference to Gene Roddenberry's moneyspinner than to Terry Nation's pocketliner, and the author never once gives the impression he's watched any of it more than once. In fact, if I were to discover Muir was bluffing this entire book based on something that was played in the background of a sci-fi convention, it would explain a lot - from the huge, HUGE mistakes, blunders and wrong turns he makes, to the padding it out with Enterprise-hatred. The wealth of spelling mistakes and factual errors I won't bore you with but even at its worst, at least Liberation was talking about a show it had watched properly the first time.

The rear of the book is made up of essays by a bunch of useless jerks who clearly thought rabitting on about Blake's 7 would be easy cause hardly anyone knew about it. The fact is, if you survive the introduction, you don't really NEED to face treatises like Science Fiction's First Video Novel, A Futuristic Robin Hood Myth, A Note on Special Effects and Cinematography, or the very, very appropriately titled Anti-Star Trek. Even the interesting-sounding Sex on the Liberator (they were all prudes on Scorpio, you know) is a let down - unless you need a lurid description of every snog and gender-based society, it's only interesting for three pages of "You know, I could be wrong but I think Avon might be bonking Cally".

Rather than letting any decent Blake's 7 waste their hard-earned/ill-gotten cash on this book whose quality of paper makes even using it as toilet tissue worthless, I'll summarize the essays behind each episode:

The direction in this rocks much better than Doctor (spit) Who! Lots of flashbacks and shit! Terry Nation is GOD! Much better than Encounter at Farpoint!

Fuck me, the Liberator looks cool! Avon's in it... a bit. And this whole thing is a rip off of Forbidden Planet.

It's all about Christianity, do you see?! And Blake nearly falls over when he teleports - you NEVER see realism like that in Star Trek! And I can prove it with lots of ST trivia, you were warned! I'll do it! Blood and guts and stuff! Oh, it's so CYNICAL!

Wow, Blake takes a nap! You never see that in Star Trek - unlike the rest of the plot which has been done everywhere! But the best bit is that its' so rubbishly-written, it makes the monsters MYSTERIOUS! Wow, Ted! Troi and Geordie rip off Cally and Gan! It's not just a quarry, it's a RED quarry!!

Hah! Fuck your Prime Directive, Star Trek, this is DRAMA!! Oh, the symbolism! The subtext! It's all ripped off Space: 1999, but it still counts! The Borg totally stole the idea of self-repairing technology, cause Terry Nation thought of it first, I HAVE WITNESSES!!!

Meh, Time Squad was better. So it has Servalan and Travis - so fucking what? I forget what the planet's called anyway (Kentucky or something?). Travis needs to get a life, who cares about your face, it was four years ago. Cally is shit at fighting. This is only worth a page.

It's like, I dunno, a murder mystery! WOW! Here, let me spoil it for you AGAIN. Avon's vaguely interesting!

This is a rip off of ST: Arena, I admit it. And The Outer Limits. And Space: 1999. And Buck Rogers. And ST: TNG.... but did THOSE losers have Mutoids? I think not!

Travis sucks. He's worse than the Master in Doctor (spit) Who. What is this, The Fugitive? This is better than Seek-Locate-Destroy, but it is vaguely similar and thus I hate it. I hate it so much. I have to get up early in the morning just to hate it properly. Mind you, heh, that bit with Avalon stripped naked - SEKSAAAYY!! It's like The Fifth Element! I think I need to go the toilet...

This is the most lavish and impressive Blake's 7 episode that must have used up the whole budget for special effects! Yes, I REALLY wrote that! Why? It doesn't have Travis in it! HAHAHAHHA! Mind you, you do tend to see this in Star Trek every so often. Zen has a personality, though, you never see that in Star Trek, do you? Does the Enterprise ever have a hissy fit and shut down? I think not! Oh and if you don't like the gravity vortex thing, blame Picard, he ripped this off!!

Blake smashes stuff! Awesome! You wouldn't see THAT in Star Trek, would you? Wierd Space Arabs! Cool! You think Jenna and Blake are shagging? This is the best episode ever!!

Boring. Apart from Meegat the kinky bitch. Travis sucks slightly less. Avon does stuff - whatever. Holy Shit! Gan makes a continuity reference to an episode! HOLD THE FRONT PAGE!

I love this episode. It may have a quarry pretending to be a beach with really bad stock footage. It may have Travis dubbing in his voice cause the actor sprained his ankle. It might have the least convincing explosions ever. It may have them NOT kill Servalan and Travis which is so fucking stupid I ate the television in my disgust. But it has one of those lizards dude played by a man named Muir. This can do no wrong.

This is the best episode of Blake's 7 ever - I was lying the last three times I said this. Hah, they're all screwed! Hang on, none of this makes sense! But the Borg rip it off, so it must be good.

This isn't by Terry Nation, ergo it is complete shit. Blake is MEAN all of a sudden! He's supposed to be a bland, one-dimensional hero, dammit! STOP TRYING TO MAKE HIM INTERESTING! Oh, look, alien invasion! We know nothing about it. If Terry Nation wrote this, it would be mysterious. But it's not.

Oh God. Travis AGAIN! And not by Terry Nation! Doctor (spit) Who sucks, did I mention that? Clones aren't as good as in Blake's 7. There's a boom mike! I saw it! This is all shit! Brian Croucher - GET OFF MY ISLAND!

Hah! White people are bad! You wouldn't get THAT kind of socio-political satire in Star Trek, oh no! There is not a single iota of originality here, but that's good. Star Trek works just the same way.

It's just like The X-Files! WOWW!! They kill off Gan! You see that in Star Trek a fair bit, but it's all crap. Who gives a shit about Tasha Yar, anyway? And Blake turns into a self-obsessed loony! WHO WROTE THIS?! Terry Nation? Oh. Well, er. It's beyond reproach. There is only ONE thing that doesn't make sense: how can the Liberator get to Earth without being stopped? It's almost like it's one big trap or something... absolutely everything else about this entire story is perfect. Kill yourself now!!

Ah. Not as shithouse as other Boucher stuff. Travis stops being an attack dog and becomes an attack dog - amazing characterization there! He's almost interesting! Ooh, Gaia-type world is alive bollocks! Oh, no, it gets a planet name wrong! Well, this just plain sucks.

Robert Holmes is in da house! Proper cryogenics - you never see THAT in Star Trek, do you? At last, Blake is the honorable one dimensional character I remember! And the way he talks about Lord Geoffrey Ashley as if he was a time traveler who had met him... I don't get reminded of anything, do you? The costumes suck and the sets are all nicked from Space:1999.

Oh god, this is SHIT! Robin Hood-based SHIT! But at least they're making Avon bland and one-dimensionally heroic as Blake, so it's not all crap.

Oh look. An Avon episode. Boring.


"A wierd, wierd story." Holy crap! Prostitutes! You don't see THEM in Star Trek, do you?!? Travis doesn't suck quite as badly as every single occasion before and since. This is the ONLY episode with jokes in it. The rest are all serious. HUMOR IS IMMATURE!!!

Feminists rejoice! This is about Jenna being a two-timing slut! What more do you want? Hahah! Gola's not dead at the end! And he played the Captain of Calufrax in that Douglas Adams shite in Doctor (spit) Who! Space Vikings raping and pillaging! Feminism rocks!

This is like I, Claudius only not shit. Travis is dead! Yay! Cliffhanger! Oh no, they're trying to make Blake into someone beyond a cliche! BAD writer! You shall be flogged and punished! Deep Space Nine totally ripped off this episode and I am not afraid to take anyone who disagrees with me outside and beat them stupid!

Aw shit, they're not fighting the Federation any more just because it's collapsed! WANKERS! Still, Dayna's tits are nice, and Avon has had all traces of personality removed. Good. Why are there Space Vikings everywhere? It's just like Star Trek all over again! DAMN YOU! Oh, wait, Terry Nation wrote this? I love it.

Del Tarrant IS Giaciamo Cassanova!! I shall now list every single sci-fi show to do the "advanced society that's actually run by evil parasites" and the biography of Michael Sheard. What's that? Run out of space? Darn!

Pacifists? Yeah, right.

This is BEYOND crap! It's ripping off Omega in Doctor (spit) Who! Black Holes opening into different universes? What the fuck? Do you think I'm stupid or something?!? AND THEY'RE PLAYING FUCKING MONOPOLY!!!!!

Jarvik is the best fictional character in all of human history. No exceptions. I wish I was Jarvik. Jarvik rocks. Jarvik mighty. Jarvik strong. He justifies this entire series on his own. Jarvik... IS GOD!!!!!!

Wow. A whole episode about Vila and he stays in character! You never see that in Star Trek! This is a rip off of Deliverance. Chris Boucher can suck my ass.

Holy shit! Cally's an alien! This is just like Star Trek! It MUST DIE!!

Mmm. This seems to be an Avon episode. I'm not sure. I'm just not sure. Honestly, who cares that Anna betrayed him? She says that she loves him when he's pointing a gun at her head, that's good enough for me. No, I don't have any friends, why do you ask? This is boring.

What the fuck is this? Q?! Why can't Tarrant be the main character, he's much less interesting than Avon!

The whole idea of the Borg Collective is ripped off from this episode. We must hunt down whoever did it and kill them. The Trekkies must die!

I hate this.

Two man enter, one man leave! An itemized list of sci-fi shows on that. Deeta Tarrant is too interesting. I enjoy his death throes. Is this series over yet?

They blow up the fucking Liberator! They NEVER do that in Star Trek! Well, they do, but they just get another one straight away. Terry Nation wrote this! He came here on a PLANE, you cunts!

What-ever. Ripping off some poof's short story or something. I dunno, I didn't even watch it. Cally dies, I think. Meh. Star Trek totally rip this off. Cancel this stupid show!

Cool! War of the sexes - you NEVER see that in Star Trek! Except for the times you do. You know half of Blake's 7 is word-for-word plagiarized from Spock's Brain? It's true! I HAVE WITNESSES! Why did they kill off Pela? She's more sweet and telekinetic than the rest of them put together! She's just like Cally! It's not fair, she didn't deserve to die. They should have killed Soolin instead. Pela gives me the fucking horn. Cancel this stupid show!

Cancel this stupid show! You see, this is what happens when you don't do the 'good guys fight evil Federation' every single episode! Servalan is winning! This is the least original episode I've ever seen, because all the ones after it rip it off. Another Fed with an eyepatch! FUCK YOU, HOLMES!!

This is too hardcore for viewers as it rocks the sensibilities of the conservative 20th century middle class! Avon's gone stupid and evil! Why couldn't Blake be back, he'd be much less interesting. This script sucks because I wasn't paying attention. HAHAHAHA! Cancel this stupid show!

Cancel this stupid show! Oooh, Island of Dr. Moreau, I bet that's never been done before! No, I don't notice anything wrong with Dayna having the screaming thighsweats for Justin. Why do you ask?

Yay! Mindless gigantic killer robots! At last it reaches my intellectual level! And it's so deep - MAN IS A PRISONER OF TECHNOLOGY!! Other fans hate this, but are THEY writing this? No! Cancel this stupid show! Hah! THAT'll teach them!

Servalan is better when she's stealing ideas from Darth Vader. Cancer is Boba Fett in drag! This is so boring! Bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored BORED! Stop killing friendly characters! This should be safe, bland, oatmeal television like the last three seasons! Cancel this stupid show!

Er... let's talk about computer development in The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, UFO, Space: 1999. This is about computers. And crystals. And god, they lose AGAIN! Cancel this stupid show!

"Sand fires on all thrusters!" It's by Tanith Lee, it MUST be good! This is the best episode ever! Servalan rocks! The evil planet of sand is named after Jules Verne! Oh, wait, actually, the story is crap now I'm thinking about it? WHY AREN'T THEY WEARING SPACE SUITS?!? Cancel this stupid show!

Wow, only took them four fucking years to do a heist story. Where is fucking science fiction? I can watch The Italian Job anytime! The models are crap. And they lose again! Cancel this stupid show!

Cancel this stupid show! It's cynical and ugly and full of cynical and ugly people! I want more bland cyphers! Avon tries to kill Vila - that's fucked up! What retard wrote this? I bet they can't write. Let's talk about the last episode, because Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin bore me and I don't fancy Servalan. God, this is camp! Robert Holmes should sue for someone pretending to be him writing this - it is TOTALLY unrepresentative of his so-called work! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, HE'S DEAD?!?

You see, if they had the Liberator, this wouldn't suck. Why are they even making this? Cancel this stupid show!

The moral of the story is that all the people who stupidly risk everything they care for again and again for personal motives while pretending to be noble are good and everyone else is scum. Blake is a one-dimensional hero, and if Avon realized it, we would have a happy ending. The whole series has been about showing Avon for the stupid, untrusting nobhead that Paul Darrow played with such conviction. The whole episode has been ripped off by Star Trek again and again and again and again. See how it shows Tarrant is a moron for not mindlessly assuming that Blake the Bland is able to do anything but be a straightlaced hero! OH THE IRONY! Apparently there's a book by Trevor Hoyle called Aftermath or something, but I don't give a fuck! CANCEL THIS STUPID SHOW! Oh, you have? LET'S WATCH DEEP SPACE NINE! YAY


Don't you feel better for reading that?


Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Hmm, his review of Traitor sounds quite a bit like my own.

Really, though, having heard about this from you [many times] before this is just further confirmation that the darndest things can get published..

Youth of Australia said...

Guess so.

Hope for us all.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

His wikipedia page makes interesting reading...

Muir's various literary works have been noted for their exhaustive research [9], [10]); and informative yet informal tone. Or, as one reviewer describes his style: "Muir is able to construct a book that shows off an amazing research effort without coming off as too academic."

I hear he's pretty good at editing wikipedia too... [j/k... kinda]

Youth of Australia said...

I doubt it's him... it's not florid enough to match.

Miles Reid said...

Well, considering that Kirk blew up the Enterprise mere minutes after his estranged son was effectively killed in front of him...

Youth of Australia said...

Muir's point... if I can call it that... is that the Liberator isn't instantly replaceable. He froths at the mouth in First Contact when Picard is willing to sacrifice the Enterprise-E because "there are plenty more letters in the alphabet" (completely missing the whole point of the film is Picard getting over his obsession)...

Miles said...

His point is completely flawed. Especially since Picard lives in a science-fiction universe where you have special machines that'll create the stuff you want out of mere atoms.

Youth of Australia said...

This guy doesn't even want to admit that Terry Nation wrote for Doctor Who. Despite, you know, him being a tad famous for it.

He uses every episode as an excuse to knock ST, sometimes unjustly. Actually nearly always unjustly. The only time I agree is that "Duel" is better than "Arena".

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

I just read that review of his Doctor Who book. Wow. This guy really sounds like a hack...

The errors are far too numerous to catalogue here. Names are frequently and inconsistently misspelt: ‘Stacy Sutton’ played Nyssa; ‘Ken-Po’ is a character in Planet of the Spiders; David Collings plays ‘Pow’ or ‘Poole’ in The Robots of Death, Ace has a friend called ‘Tryla’ in Survival... Other ‘facts’ include: The Sontaran Experiment was allegedly truncated in length due to Tom Baker's injury; The Happiness Patrol and Silver Nemesis are four parts each, Polly's surname is Lopez, and the Doctor was first put on trial by the Time Lords in the 1986 season.

Seriously, if this guy can get published what's to stop us? We should do an unofficial guide to the DW expanded universe or something. Our essays about how many goats are blown by Kaldor City could finally go out to the world!

Youth of Australia said...

Imagine what fun we could have...

In this story, Carnell is masterminding every aspect of life on the planet. Rather like Gene Hunt in the brilliant episode of Life on Mars where he tricks Sam into investigating corruption within his own dept (cue seveteen pages on why Gene Genie kicks ass).

This story starts with lots of mentions to the book Copse Mucker, with Uvanov having special androids built in the form of Leela and Tuse for the benefit of his own sexual gratitification. Which is is exactly what happens in Buffy (cue thirty-seven pages of shipper fic)

This SEEMS to be about the Fendahl. But in terms it is about random factors falling under an overarching unstoppable force. In the last episode of Robin Hood when they go to the Holy Land (cue 785 pages on what might happen in Series Three of RH)...

This story is disturbing. Rather like that poor little orphan whale who was suckling passing boats...

Oh, and I posted off a disc with all the stuff we talked about, including a LOM music video to act as a pick-me-up after you survive ATA...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Lmao and thanks very much in that order.

For some reason I feel compelled to show you the cover of the [relatively speaking] greatest selling computer game of all time and ask: the one on the left, Louise Jameson look-a-like?

Youth of Australia said...



No. But she is similar. The nose is wrong, and her eyes are brown.

I promise never to ask how you stumbled across this cover in the first place.