Syfy’s Battestar Galactica reboot proved that even old shows with a high cheese quotient may have the potential to become something great if the right creative minds are aboard (regardless of how you felt about the ending). Of course, it doesn’t always work — witness The CW’s short-lived resurrection of the cult British series The Tomorrow People this past season. Still, if we’re talking about classic science fiction series that could be amazing if rebooted properly, Blake’s 7 has got to be near the top of the list. And, in fact, a reboot has been in development for years in one form or another, but so far hasn’t made it to screen. However, we have just gotten a small glimpse at what new Blake’s 7 might look like, courtesy of this concept art shared by Nerdist.
Created by Terry Nation (who also gave us Doctor Who’s Daleks), Blake’s 7 ran for four seasons on BBC1 between 1978 and 1981. The show followed a group of convicts who abscond with an alien ship (you can see the proposed redesign for the ship up top) and go on the run from the oppressive Terran Federation. Their leader is the titular Roj Blake (Gareth Thomas), a political dissident who uses the alien vessel — dubbed the Liberator — and his new crew to wage war on the Federation. Even though it was created with the typical BBC budget of six shillings and a pile of Halloween masks, the writing was mature, morally ambiguous, and often dark as hell, and you can see its DNA in shows such as Firefly, Farscape, and Babylon 5.
In short, it’s the sort of property that could be truly amazing if resurrected with a decent modern budget. It’s also pretty obscure outside of die-hard sci-fi fan circles, so it would be a great opportunity to introduce an excellent story to viewers who might never have run across the original. And indeed, people have been trying to bring Blake’s 7 back to life since at least 2000, when there was talk of a TV movie to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. More recently, the project has surfaced as a potential Syfy series to be directed by Casino Royale’s Martin Campbell, and then rumored to premiere on Microsoft’s Xbox Live network. We haven’t heard a peep about it in ages, but Nerdist’s new story suggests the project is still in the works, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it does happen, and that it finds the right talent to do the original series justice.
Incidentally, the Blake’s 7 reboot was being developed by Georgeville Television, the folks behind both Chris Carter’s Amazon series The After and the upcoming Netflix sci-fi series Sense8, which is a collaboration between Straczynski and The Wachowskis. That connection makes me envision a dream scenario where we get a Blake’s 7 reboot with Straczynski at the helm…but since he’s apparently planning to resurrect his own Babylon 5, I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.