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When word first broke that Casino Royale director Martin Campbell was putting together a reboot of the British cult sci-fi series Blake’s 7, it was met with mixed emotions. On the one hand, Blake’s was beloved by its fans, but, like classic Doctor Who, it very much showed its age. The thought of a new version that stayed true to the source material but gave it a Battlestar Galactica-style revamp definitely intrigued — among other things, B7 was a very dark show at times, and would likely be right up the alley of modern sci-fi fans, even those who hadn’t seen the original series. On the other hand, while Campbell’s Bond outing was awesome, his previous sci-fi credit was…Green Lantern. So if this went wrong, it could go very wrong indeed.
There was also the question of where the show would air. Initially it was said that it would be headed to Syfy, but after that initial announcement, we didn’t hear much of anything on the project for a long time. It finally resurfaced this past August with rumors that it would become an exclusive on Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, a foray into scripted original programming they could premiere at some point after the release of their next-gen Xbox One console (which releases next month). Unfortunately, those rumors were soon denied by Microsoft TV producer Kate Barnes. (The Xbox rumors weren’t completely far-fetched — they are producing original content, specifically a new Halo TV series, produced by Steven Spielberg, no less.)
Hunting around to see if there had been any further updates on the Blake’s 7 reboot only clouds the issue. The Microsoft rumors surfaced in August, but as of this past April the show was still being associated with Syfy. Did the short-lived Xbox rumors mean the Syfy thing was dead, hence the need for a new home? Or did they just flare up as their own unrelated thing?
The good news is that I did manage to uncover some extra details about the project. Specifically an official teaser blurb:
The year is 2136, Blake wakes up on one side of the bed. He reaches for the other side. There’s nobody there. As reality sets in, this handsome ex-soldier sits up, and looks at a photo of his wife Rachel. Beautiful. Deceased.
A revolutionary reinvention of the long-running BBC series made in the late 1970s, Blake’s 7 tells the story of seven criminals — 6 guilty and 1 innocent — on their way to life on a prison colony in space, who together wrestle freedom from imprisonment. They acquire an alien ship which gives them a second chance at life and become the most unlikely heroes of their time.
So seemingly sticking with the same basic premise as the original, which is a good thing. The script is being written by Joe Pokaski, who has worked on Heroes and C.S.I.. Blake’s 7 would be the first show he’s developing as an executive producer.
Leon Clarance, one of the show’s backers, gave this “amazeballs” quote back in April as well:
Joe Pokaski and Martin Campbell have worked tirelessly with the Georgeville TV team to create an amazeballs reboot of this classic space opera which I watched with my father when I was a child. This reimagined classic for a new generation of science fiction fans will enthrall original and new fans alike. I couldn’t be happier to have our beloved show handled internationally by the passionate team at FremantleMedia.
The Georgeville TV association can only be a good thing for the show’s chances. They’re one of the more interesting genre production companies going right now. In addition to the Blake’s 7 reboot, they’re also behind Brett Ratner’s FBI time travel drama Tomorrow for ABC, Chris Carter’s apocalyptic drama The After for Amazon (which just got a series greenlight), and J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowskis’ Sense8 for Netflix.
We’ll keep our nose to the ground and let you know when we find out anymore about Blake’s 7. In the meantime, are you excited to see a new version of Blake’s 7? Sound off in the comments below!