Well, this is the first BF announcement in a while that has really excited me. The more B7 the better!
This range is in safe hands with Peter Anghelides - one of these writers who haven't written a lot for BF but whenever they do you find yourself asking, why don't they get him in to write more often? Jonny Morris, my favourite BF writer, has now joined my favourite BF range.
Not so sure about Sasha Mitchell appearing. She was somewhat ... [cough] ... wooden ... [cough] ... in her TV episode, let's hope she has improved with age.
No sign of Steven Pacey or Yasmine Bannerman in any of the WoB7 sets, here's hopiong we get them back soon
Really glad to see more Blake's 7, but I am a little disappointed to see, just as Survivors was whittled down to the Abbey and Jenny show, the same thing seems to be happening for Jenna and Cally. I know actor availability is an ongoing issue, but no Vila, Tarrant or Dayna?
Okay interesting so I’m guessing each story takes in a separate series Saurian Major taking place in Series A,No Name in Series B and Sedition in Series C and then we have the tv show were she debut in Series D.
I think it will be interesting to if Sasha Mitchell has gotten better since her original appearance and to see if she will be able to play Arlen three different ways as she grows thru this boxset.
I have questions about Saurian Major and it possibly contradict Promises from Liberator Chronicles but I guess it depends on where this story also side note I wonder if a boxset would be possible about Auron and the Auronar.
Also more Clone Travis which I like wonder also wonder if sedition is be or after after The Butcher’s Wife my guess is probably after side note also think there should be a Travis boxset.
1.Saurian Major Enjoyable episode but my only complaint is that it contradict Promises from Liberator Chronicles though it would be darkly humorous considering the endings of both stories. Though it’s not the worst in terms of contradicting themselves Babyan Ascending contradicting Baybans Bounty is worst in that case. My headcanon is Bayban actually wrote Bayban Ascending
2.No Name I like the western vibe it was going for didn’t expect the ending thought raises some questions about Arlens mental state after the episode.
3.Sedition Glad they getting the most out of Clone Travis still waiting for The Travis Boxset and with this story I guess Travis outlived Blake in a way. They mention Gauda Prime by name I wondered if that deal they made with Chris Boucher that allows Big Finish to use one off character from Series D that they made also includes locations.
Yes, unfortunately, I just don't think there is any way to completely reconcile the depiction of the demise of the resistance on Saurian Major in "Promises" with that of "Saurian Major". It is too bad, because 80% of the stories are otherwise compatible. "Promises" shows how Cally departed Auron and travelled to SM to begin her resistance training in the company of Scetona Clorensis. This part of the story could completely mesh with "Saurian Major". But, once you get to the actual part of the story showing who betrayed the SM resistance and how they were wiped out, it is just not possible for both "Promises" and "Saurian Major" to really both be "true".
"Promises" and "Saurian Major" also provides a different explanations for how Cally survives the chemical attack on SM. My opinion is that "Saurian Major" is the more consistent of the two depictions when compared to how Cally describes her own survival in "Time Squad". In "Time Squad" Cally states:
"We were getting stronger. The security forces kept hunting us but we knew the hills and jungles too well. We made an attack on the main generating plant. And for the first time they saw us as a real threat. They released poison from the sky. All the fighters died. Except me. Perhaps because I am alien to this planet."
This statement shows that Cally is not 100% certain why she survived but attributes it to her alien nature.
In "Promises" Cally is able to survive the chemical attack because she kills a person wearing a protective suit and she dons it. "The protective suit fell to the ground, empty. As I pulled the suit on..." If this was how Cally survived the attack why would she describe it in the above terms? "Saurian Major" attributes Cally's survival to likely being her Auronar nature resisting the poison Arlen selected to kill the resistance. This just seems a more consistent approach to what we are told in the TV show.
So, I accept most of "Promises" as being the story of how Cally left Auron, first came to SM, and began her training there with the resistance fighters. But, I also accept "Saurian Major" as being the more accurate depiction of Cally's final days with the resistance and the story of how they were wiped out before Cally encountered Blake and joined the Liberator crew.
Finally, "Promises" does enhance part of "Saurian Major"'s ending by providing an interesting reason for Travis to be on hand on SM hunting among the dead and locating Arlen. Travis could have been there looking for Scetona Clorensis, but instead came across Arlen.
I'm nowhere near as knowledgable as other posters in this thread regarding Blake's 7 continuity. Continuity isn't something that bothers me much in any medium - the story always comes first as far as I'm concerned (although it's nice to get these things right). This I enjoyed a lot, in fact, about as much as I enjoyed stories from the Avalon set (which I loved). The bleak and violent nature of the story is true to my memory of the early days of the show, when the Federation was less camp and more lethal. I like the character of Arlen, and like what they did with her here. The outcome might not be surprising given her nature, but it still made an impression on me. There's also a nice little coda after the credits which is well worth hanging on for. Strong acting, nice sound design - all in all, a strong opener for this set.
The world 'western' keeps cropping up in the extras, and it's certainly a style and feel that has littered Blake's 7 throughout its run. Paul Darrow was a huge fan of the genre, and this has bled into his work over the years, and Travis - particular the Brian Croucher version, where he has often been referred to as an outlaw - certainly had a leaning in that direction (especially in stories such as Gambit and Star One). Arlen is developing into a very interesting character - moreso, dare I say, than Jenna or Cally, and her journey is nicely detailed here. I liked the villainous twins - reminiscent of Unstaffe and Garron from Doctor Who's The Ribos Operation, I thought. They have a comedy relationship not often seen in Blake's 7.
Simon Guerrier is an excellent writer for B7, and its good that he is 'back in harness'. Hope he does several more and that the range continues. So far, Allies and Enemies is a favourite of the spin-off box-sets - this story I found to be even more enjoyable than the opener. There's a nice sense of world building, and the use of Travis is very interesting. The soundscape hasd very pleasing echoes of classic Western films too. Very enjoyable.
I like the idea of more Arlen stories in the future. Her tale is a dark mirror of what is being told in the Avalon series. Avalon is trying to bring down the Federation, Arlen is working to uphold the system. There is plenty of room "between" the stories presented in this boxed set to flesh out her character's adventures further.
I'd love to see Arlen vs. Avalon. Arlen and Anna Grant and/or Shrinker working together. Arlen chasing Bayban. More of Arlen and Travis-B after "No Name".
My feeling is that through this set they've added enough depth to the character that you don't need to have her always facing off again the Liberator crew in order to make her compelling.
Christmas 1981, Sasha Mitchell's character Arlen helped wipe out Blake's 7 in one of the grimmest finales ever. Christmas, 41 years later, she's back to bring to a close Allies and Enemies, which I hope doesn't prove to be the last throw of this particular dice. This set has been excellent, and the final story doesn't disappoint. Mitchell sounds identical to how she did all those years ago, and the character's lost none of her brutality. Jenna also has a few parallels with Arlen, which is interesting. Sedition contains lots of nice links to previous sets particularly - as you might expect given the cast list - The Clone Masters. Very interesting things are done with Travis also, which I hope paves the way for his future. After all, he was a hero too! Highly enjoyable.
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