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'Blake's 7' US remake: Good idea or potential disaster?

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News emerged yesterday (July 23) that independent TV studio Georgeville Television is to pitch a new remake of Blake's 7 to US networks. But is the notion of reviving Blake and chums a genius idea worthy of Orac or the worst plan since Travis dressed up as a mummy and adopted a French accent in 'Voice from the Past'?

Of course, this isn't the first time that someone has proposed revamping Terry Nation's space opera - Sky1 showed considerable interest in 2008 but eventually dropped the idea entirely two years later.

But just in case this new Blake's 7 does actually advance beyond the pitch stage, Tube Talk has decided to weigh up the pros and cons of a US remake...

Why Blake's 7 Should Return....
Blake's 7


The Concept - One point in favour of a remake - the basic premise of Blake's 7 is simple, strong and ripe for exploration. The idea of a 'Dirty Dozen in space' is as compelling now as it was back in 1978 when the original series launched, and if the new show is able to retain the grim feel of the original but with improved production values, then we could be in for something very special indeed.

The Calibre - Once we'd overcome our surprise at the news of a potential Blake's 7 revival, the first thing that piqued our interest was Martin Campbell's involvement. Alright, so Campbell directed superhero flop Green Lantern, but he's also the man responsible for successfully reinventing James Bond not once, but twice, with 1995's Goldeneye and 2006's Casino Royale. If there's a man who knows a thing or two about rebooting a franchise, it's Campbell.

The Battlestar Effect - There's no denying that there have been a few dodgy sci-fi reboots on US television in recent years. Anyone remember Syfy's 2007 Flash Gordon series? Thought not.

But the one that sticks in people's memories is Battlestar Galactica - a gritty and visually stunning award-winner that was based on an enjoyable if slightly hokey sci-fi drama launched in 1978. Sound familiar? If those behind the Blake's 7 remake can 'do a Battlestar' then what's to complain about?

Why Blake's 7 Should Be Left Alone...
Blake's 7


Why Do The Americans Have To Ruin Our Telly?! - Alright, so we're having a bit of fun with that subtitle - when news breaks that a US network is remaking a beloved British series, the response from UK TV fans is usually a variation on the following two bursts of fury - "They'll ruin it!" and/or "Don't they have any ideas of their own?!"

And while the reaction can often verge on the extreme, it's difficult to deny that these types of things don't tend to go that well. For every US Office, there's a Coupling and a Red Dwarf. For every Being Human, there's a Life on Mars and a Prime Suspect.

The original Blake's 7 - much like its BBC contemporary Doctor Who - had something uniquely British about it, which would obviously be lost in any transatlantic reinvention.

You Can't Beat That Cast - Any direct remake faces the challenge of replacing the original stars. It's not an impossible task to pull off - the cinema-going public seem to have warmly embraced the likes of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Captain Kirk and Mr Spock, for example. But the cast of Blake's 7 was pretty darn iconic...

It helps that the show's line-up was always fluid - even Blake himself (Gareth Thomas) dropped out halfway through. But can you really imagine anyone but Paul Darrow playing Avon? And is there anyone fit to fill Jacqueline Pearce's high-heeled boots as Servalan? We have strong doubts.

Do you think Blake's 7 should return on US TV? Share your thoughts on the remake below!

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