May The Source Be With You

QuarkThe approach of a gigantic Gorgon attack ship sends everyone aboard Perma One (give or take a small furry alien or two) swinging into action. The best United Galaxy captains are assigned to evacuate important heads of state and scientific minds from the station, and to relocate the most sensitive information to a safe location. Quark and his crew, on the other hand, are given the thankless (and, again, almost certainly suicidal) task of fending off the Gorgon advance, with nothing more than Quark’s garbage-collecting ship and a powerful sentient weapon known as the Source. The Source insists – in a voice that only Quark can hear – that belief in its power will shield him from all harm. Somewhere between watching his entire crew scatter or get captured, and being blinded by a laser blast to the face, Quark begins to realize that the Source is indeed with him – and that there’s a very good reason nobody has used it in over 200 years.

written by Stave Zacharias
directed by Hy Averback
music by Perry Botkin, Jr.

Cast: Richard Benjamin (Adam Quark), Timothy Thomerson (Gene/Jean), Richard Kelton (Ficus), Tricia Barnstable (Betty), Cyb Barnstable (Betty), Conrad Janis (Otto Palindrome), Alan Caillou (The Head), Henry Silva (High Gorgon), Hans Conreid (voice of the Source), Bobby Porter (Andy), Joe Burke (Gorgon Guard II), Chris Capen (Gorgon Guard I), Rick Goldman (Worker One), Vernon E. Rowe (Worker Two), Paul Schumacher (Gorgon Man), Melissa Prophet (Gorgon Woman), Larry French (Gorgon Assistant), Ann Prentiss (voice of Jean)

Notes: The series expands to a full-hour (the pilot was only a half-hour) with this, the first regular weekly episode of its extremely short run. A new title montage shows clips of the regular cast interspersed with very well-known NASA film animations of such subjects as the planet Saturn and the formation of the moon. The Barnstable sisters – more famous as the original Doublemint Twins than they were for this series – reverted to their real surname after using the stage name Barnett in the pilot episode. Where Tim Thomerson did both the masculine and feminine voices of his character in the pilot, here his feminine personality is dubbed over by actress Ann Prentiss. The sudden gender-switching of his character is toned down drastically here, leaning on dated sexist female stereotypes, whereas the pilot’s portrayal of his feminine personality was quite obviously based on gay male stereotypes, complete with a limp-wristed salute. (It’s entirely possible that NBC and/or its advertisers broke out in a cold sweat over that aspect of the pilot and insisted on the change.)

May The Source Be With YouAs if the title of this episode doesn’t make it clear, the influence of Star Wars – which premiered mere days after the Quark pilot episode in 1977 – is clearly on display here, from the Gorgons’ Vader-esque (but decidedly more velvety and less armor-y) helmets, to the spoof of Star Wars‘ seemingly endless corridor firefight (beating Spaceballs to the punch by almost a decade), to the music score’s obvious quotations of the movie’s Imperial March. Still, the classic Star Trek sound effects remain in use, and the new character of Ficus is clearly a spoof of Spock. Ficus is a member of the Vegeton species, and his skin is left temporarily discolored by brief exposure to extreme dry heat.

One other surprising Star Trek influence is the show’s more dramatic lighting, provided by cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman (1931-2011); frequently credited as Jerry Finnerman, he lit 60 of Star Trek’s 79 episodes, starting with The Corbomite Maneuver (the first regular episode filmed after Trek’s two pilots), creating that show’s signature ultra-colorful lighting scheme and its habit of soft-focusing close-ups on female guest stars; he had also been the lead cameraman for the series’ original pilot, The Cage. He was a frequent-flyer cinematographer on Kojak, the TV incarnation of Planet Of The Apes, Salvage One and Moonlighting, with numerous shorter stints on other high-profile series.

Andy the robot stays aboard Quark’s ship, while O.B. Mudd – May The Source Be With Youwho seemed to be his handler and perhaps creator in the pilot – has apparently gotten the transfer off-ship that he wanted. However, Andy also tells the Gorgons that Quark built him.

Guest star Henry Silva’s High Gorgon uniform is a humorous preview of his costume in the pilot movie of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, in which he originated the role of Draconian warrior “Killer” Kane; while Kane appeared in further episodes of the series, Silva did not, handing the part off to Michael Ansara.

The Invasion Of Time

Doctor WhoThe Doctor returns, unbidden, to Gallifrey, claiming the Presidency of the High Council. Leela knows something is wrong, as she has witnessed his meetings with a shadowy group of aliens prior to returning to his homeworld. The Time Lords are aghast at the Doctor’s breach of their power structure, to say nothing of him bringing an alien among them. But when the aliens Leela saw earlier materialize in Gallifrey’s Capitol, all hell breaks loose – the Doctor orders many Time Lords, including his old mentor Borusa, expelled to the harsh surface of Gallifrey beyond the city domes. Leela is also thrown out, though she finds herself quite at home with the primitive nomadic tribes of homeless non-Time Lords known as the Shobogans. Leela rallies both Shobogans and exiled Time Lords to mount a resistance against the Doctor and his shady Vardan allies, but when the invasion is put down, everyone discovers that it was a ruse to allow a far more powerful enemy to slip into the heart of Gallifrey.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Anthony Read and Graham Williams
directed by Gerald Blake
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Milton Johns (Kelner), John Arnatt (Borusa), Stan McGowan (Vardan Leader), Chris Tranchell (Andred), Dennis Edwards (Gomer), Tom Kelly (Vardan), Reginald Jessup (Savar), Charles Morgan (Gold Usher), Hilary Ryan (Rodan), Max Faulkner (Nesbin), Christopher Christou (Chancellery Guard), Michael Harley (Bodyguard), Ray Callaghan (Ablif), Gai Smith (Presta), Michael Mundell (Jasko), Eric Danot (Guard), Derek Deadman (Stor), Stuart Fell (Sontaran)

Broadcast from February 4 through March 11, 1978

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

Seek-Locate-Destroy

Blake's 7The Liberator crew mounts an attack on a Federation base on Centero, their main objective: to procure a decoder for the Federation’s top priority military communications channel. They manage to get the unit and set explosive charges, but Cally is attacked and loses her teleport bracelet. The others return to the ship and discover there that she must still be on Centero. They learn through the decoder that Supreme Commander Servalan of the Federation has assigned the notorious Space Commander Travis to the “Blake affair,” and that Travis is already on Centero in charge of the investigations. Blake returns to Centero to save Cally, realizing that Travis – his arch enemy from the earlier revolt against the Federation – will stop at nothing to see the Liberator crew dead. Blake uses one of Travis’s old strategies to slip into the base, free Cally, and escape.

written by Terry Nation
directed by Vere Lorrimer
music by Dudley Simpson

Cast: Gareth Thomas (Blake), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Paul Darrow (Avon), Jan Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating (Vila), David Jackson (Gan), Peter Tuddenham (Zen), Stephen Grief (Travis), Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan), Peter Craze (Prell), Peter Miles (Rontane), John Bryans (Bercol), Ian Cullen (Escon), Ian Oliver (Rai), Astley Jones (Eldon)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Mission To Destiny

Blake's 7The Liberator stops to aid a damaged spacecraft whose crew is entirely asleep when Blake, Cally and Avon arrive. The ship’s guidance systems and life support system have been sabotaged. When Blake and Avon get the life support system back online, the crew has no idea what has happened. Kendall, the captain of the ship, reveals that he and his people are from the agricultural world Destiny, whose ecosphere has become unviable. The ship was dispatched to get the neutrotope, which would render Destiny fertile again, and with its damage, the ship has no hope of reaching Destiny in any time under five months, and that delay could set the planet’s harvest back by another year. Blake makes Kendall an offer: Avon and Cally will stay aboard to help repair the ship’s systems, and the neutrotope will reach Destiny in four days via the Liberator. Avon and Cally slowly unravel the mystery of numerous occurring murders on the ship and finally find that a message written by the dying pilot – 54124 – is actually the name of the murderer…

written by Terry Nation
directed by Pennant Roberts
music by Dudley Simpson

Cast: Gareth Thomas (Blake), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Paul Darrow (Avon), Jan Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating (Vila), David Jackson (Gan), Peter Tuddenham (Zen), Barry Jackson (Kendall), Beth Morris (Sara), Stephen Tate (Mandrian), Nigel Humphreys (Sonheim), Kate Coleridge (Levett), Carl Forgione (Grovane), John Leeson (Pasco), Brian Caprion (Rafford), Stuart Fell (Dortmunn)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Duel

Blake's 7The Liberator is nearing an uncharted planet and is under attack by three well-armed Federation pursuit ships. As the attack depletes Liberator’s energy supply, Blake decides to wait for the two ships he predicts aren’t Travis’s to run out of energy and then tries to ram Travis’s ship. But as the Liberator prepares to rip through the pursuit ship’s hull, time is frozen by the two guardians on the planet below, who pit Blake and Jenna in hand-to-hand combat to the death against Travis and a vampire-like mutoid from his crew. But as Jenna defeats the mutoid and Blake traps Travis, before the eyes of both ships’ crews, Blake relents and the Liberator is released, while Travis returns to his ship in shame.

written by Terry Nation
directed by Douglas Camfield
music not credited

Cast: Gareth Thomas (Blake), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Paul Darrow (Avon), Jan Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating (Vila), David Jackson (Gan), Peter Tuddenham (Zen), Stephen Grief (Travis), Isla Blair (Sinofar), Patsy Smart (Giroc), Carol Royle (Mutoid)

Notes: This is the only Blake’s 7 episode which was not scored by Australian composer Dudley Simpson; Simpson created the theme for the series and did the music for every episode except this one, which was tracked with stock electronic-sounding music. Director Douglas Camfield did not like the style of music that Simpson employed on Doctor Who, several episodes of which Camfield also directed (and of which Simpson provided incidental music for more episodes than any other comporser), a decided to use library music rather than have Simpson score this episode. The pieces heard in this episode are “Countdown” and “Space Panorama” (both composed by Alan Hawkshaw and licensed from the Bruton music library and appearing on the Bruton library album Terrestrial Journey), and “Genesis” by John Cameron.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Project Avalon

Blake's 7The Liberator arrives at an icy Federation outpost so Blake can make contact with Avalon, the rebel leader on that planet. But Avalon has been captured by Travis and duplicated with an android who returns to the Liberator after a narrow escape by Blake and his crew, who rescue “Avalon” from a high-security cell block. The android is carrying a tiny sphere with just enough of a lethal virus to kill the entire crew of the Liberator and leave the ship unaffected and, after 24 hours, habitable again. Blake returns with the android and the sphere to get the real Avalon out of danger, leaving Travis with an android that drops the sphere inside the Federation base – and Travis catches the sphere. Servalan is infuriated with Travis’s performance and takes charge of the hunt for Blake personally.

written by Terry Nation
directed by Michael E. Briant
music by Dudley Simpson

Cast: Gareth Thomas (Blake), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Paul Darrow (Avon), Jan Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating (Vila), David Jackson (Gan), Peter Tuddenham (Zen), Stephen Grief (Travis), Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan), Julia Vidler (Avalon), David Bailie (Chevner), Glynis Barber (Mutoid), John Baker (Scientist), John Rolfe (Terloc), David Sterne (Guard), Mark Holmes (Guard)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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