The Blake's 7 Super Test

Blake's 7 Super Test
Blake's Legacy
Blake's Progress
Naming Blake
"Avon: A Terrible Novel"?
Birth Of The Federation
The Blake's 7 Formula
To Kill Or To Stun
The Blake's 7 Drinking Game
Blake's Chicken
Blake's Parrott
First Season - General Feedback

Edited highlights of a discussion of Blake's Legacy season one, between myself and Breaking Orbit's hostess, Nico Mody-Nikoloff.


Avon would never say in Hailee's hearing that he likes her; he has never ever done that. In fact the closest he ever comes to praising anyone is to praise their skills only, and not in their hearing (as with Vila - 'he's a thief, and a good one' - in Gold).

Well you have to consider the context is a little unusual with Hailee, but even so I'm not sure that that's entirely true - for example he seemed to be pretty forthcoming with Anna Grant at times. Wrongly so as it turned out, but still, Hailee's not Anna. She's someone Avon generally gets along with, and also someone he can identify with, because they're similar people who've both been foisted into the resistance movement against their wishes. Would he admit that he likes her? Well maybe, maybe not, that's a matter of personal interpretation, but my own view of him is that he's capable of expressing these things in a whimsical fashion i.e he'll only say it if he can make it sound like an unimportant detail, or a minor afterthought.

The closest he ever comes to praising anyone is to praise their skills only, and not in their hearing.

'Tarrant is brave, young and handsome' doesn't refer to skills. And he's complimented people in their hearing on a number of occasions in the past. Dayna several times in Aftermath and again in Death-Watch, Servalan in Terminal and Gold and he even told Blake, cynically but in all seriousness, 'You handle them very skilfully' in Trial. Yes, he's reluctant to compliment others, but not allergic.

OK, the tone of voice would make a difference. I think I can imagine him saying it with an ironic twist.

That's the sort of thing. Also, notice that he tends to say nice things about Hailee after she has said something that insults or aggravates someone else. You could see this as his way of agreeing with the insult, as though he is leaping on Hailee's bandwagon, so to speak - heh, I hope Timothy Dean doesn't mark that sentence out as another double entendre when he does his next draft of the Discontinuity Guide!


Your Vila isn't right at all - he's not the complete wimp he's portrayed as. (In fact I agree with [Neil's] assessment in his site's character studies that Vila is intelligent and cautious, but does have a low span of concentration.)

I don't portray him as a wimp, I portray him as feckless, which is what he is. As you say, Vila is not a coward, nor a fool, nor a wimp, but he likes people to think that he is, hence the buffoonery. You can read the Season 1 Characters page for a fuller view of my thoughts on Vila, but in the meantime, when you're reading his dialogue just remember that very little that Vila says or does is the real deal.

Yep, I agree with that! And OK, I will. By the way, I thought the episode where Farin got killed had a very good Vila.


Vila would never have bad breath.

In the incident in question he'd downed an entire bottle of wine half an hour earlier. Give it five minutes after drinking that lot and his breath would smell like rotten vinegar, and being intoxicated it would take him ages to even realise. Admittedly, this effect can vary with the quality of the beverage in question, but then we've no reason to assume that the one he was drinking here was particularly good.

OK, I'll accept that, if that's what happens, though I never noticed it in real life myself.


He would never have smelly socks. The guy was extremely sensitive to both bad smells (on Goth and other planets, and when he had to go into Scorpio's tanks), and dirt and grime (the tanks again, the hut on Gauda Prime). He would therefore be very fastidious in his cleanliness.

Regarding the socks, he might do if he'd been wearing them all day, as he was here! I don't think that in any of the other situations you refer to that you would need to have particularly sensitive nasal membranes to find the smells repulsive. Tarrant certainly seemed to notice the stench coming from the glycolene tanks just as easily. The reason why Vila whined about them while the others ignored it is because he was feeling put upon about being made to do a hard day's work. He ALWAYS moans at the first sign of effort or danger.

My socks don't smell after wearing them all day! Some people's do, but it's not a given...

Wow what's your secret?! Okay, as you've accepted the wine argument, I'll accept the socks one. In any case, Farin was teasing him in Freedom, and in Ghosts In The Machine Avon's and Blake's disgust was more that it wasn't a very clean place to hide the beacons, not the smell, so it isn't certain that Vila's socks really needed changing in either case.

He consistently makes a big deal of it, and a couple of other things like cold weather. He could complain about other things like being too hot but doesn't. I admit he likes to complain, but the bad smells and dirt theme appears enough to be a real dislike.

I can't think of any particular situations where we've seen Vila looking especially overheated, so we can't really judge. I know there was that time in Project Avalon when he turned the thermo-suit up too high, but he teleported down to the ice planet before it could really get to him. And I suppose all that hard work (there's that four-letter word again!!!!!) in Horizon got him a bit hot and bothered, but then he DID grumble quite a bit that day too.


He's very timid and cautious...


...a bit flighty...




...but very intelligent when he needs to be...

No doubt about it.


In his way, absolutely.


Like when? He made a career out of hoarding all the wine aboard the Liberator and Xenon Base. I saw precious little evidence of him sharing it during that time.

I did in seasons 1 - 3. And wine on the Liberator? He drank adrenaline and soma, something virulently green (maybe A&S?) and once something from a small bottle, possibly alcohol. And on the Liberator, he brings round drinks trays to the others (as opposed to drinking alone in front of them).

<Sigh>. All right, fusspot, he made a career out of hoarding all the wine AND all the Adrenaline and Soma aboard the Liberator and Xenon Base. Better? As for bringing the drinks trays around, that's not necessarily generous. In Moloch, for instance, we don't see why he did this. He might have been sent to collect refreshments by the rest of the crew. It might have simply been tea-time and it was just his turn to do the honours. Also he certainly didn't make any such effort at all when he was drinking himself into stupor in episodes like Horizon or Rescue. He did make a special effort in Rumours of Death, but then the circumstances were very unique.

He is also charming.

Like when Dayna accused him of being disgusting in Stardrive? Like when Cally nearly broke his fingers in Sarcophagus? Uh uh. Vila THINKS he's charming, but that's a very personal view.

I think the bouncy puppy, almost childlike 'please like me' Vila in the first 2 seasons and a lot of 3 is charming and likeable. He was being deliberately disgusting when pretending to be drunk in S4 to propose how to fix the hull damage without being involved. And why was Cally so annoyed at such a harmless flippant remark? It was unlike her.

Considering his shameless self-confessions that were so common, I don't think Vila cares that much whether people like him or not. He just wants to survive, and needs people to help him if he was to do so. Yes, Vila was being deliberately disgusting in Stardrive but Dayna's words were 'Sometimes, Vila, you can be quite disgusting.' Note her use of the word 'sometimes.' She's clearly indicating that this is all part of a wider pattern of disgusting behaviour for which she has lost all patience. And there's no denying that the pattern is real, we've seen countless examples. As for Cally's over-reaction, well, it kind of underlines the point doesn't it? Vila's not charming to the people around him, he gets on their nerves. His behaviour's endearing to watch, but then so is Orac's! It's not much fun for those who are stuck with them.

And he's kind-hearted.

Again I'm not sure I agree. He had a lot of uncharitable views about most of the crew and he wasn't reluctant to express them - see his vilification of Tarrant in Volcano. It was quite unprovoked.

Yes, he was kind - at least in seasons 1 through 3. Then, he consistently shows concern for other crew members who are hurt or shaken, offering drinks or support to the medical unit. When Cally was rescued from Travis, he says he's glad she's back and forces Avon to say so too. He is very concerned for Avon in Rumours Of Death and it's interesting that Avon also trusts him to set up the Anna cave for him without checking it. Vila tries to make the guards he and Blake knocked out comfortable; same with Dorian on the way to Xenon.

Um, still not convinced. In the case of Dorian, I very much doubt Vila's motivations - we need to remember that Dorian had to be handled carefully because the crew needed his help to get Scorpio under their control. As for the two guards you mention, I don't think he was making them comfortable, he was just dumping them somewhere a little less conspicuous - don't forget that our fabulously convincing security robot was on patrol, and it would surely have seen them if they were slumped in front of the door. In the case of Cally's rescue in the same episode, if you think that not wishing someone dead is an example of KINDNESS, then clearly the entire human race is the kindest, most loving race of sweetie pie honeybuns in the Galaxy. Yes okay, it was a nice gesture to say it, but then as you say, Avon says it too. It may have been coaxed out of him, but the bottom line is that by implying that Vila is kind for saying 'Welcome back', we are saying that Avon is kind too.

By the same measure, you could suggest that Vila is kind for helping crew members to the Medical Unit, but again we would have to view Avon as kind for rescuing Blake and getting him back to the Liberator after the injuries he suffered on Star One. And yet we know that, no matter what qualities Avon has, kindness is NOT one of them.

Equally, does all this make Tarrant kind for helping Cally to the Medical Unit in Dawn of the Gods? Again I think not, seeing how he victimises Shrinker in Rumours of Death, and Vila himself in City At The Edge of The World and Moloch.

Yes, Vila is capable of kind gestures, but then so is virtually everyone. I think we have to recognise that this is offset by the nasty remarks he was capable of aiming at people.

Insulting the crew was rare apart from Avon. Most of the later crew were pretty mean to him, ignoring most of what he says even when it's very intelligent as in "Volcano" yet he rarely hits back. He and Avon do snipe at each other as a sort of game. And what he says about Tarrant is quite justified. I don't think I'd trust Tarrant either, being ex-Fed. And though Dayna is quite cruel with her taunts in season 3, Vila doesn't retaliate (possibly through fear of retribution). I don't think distrusting Tarrant and insulting Avon count as 'most of the crew'.

I wouldn't overlook his attitude toward the computers in all that, especially Orac. Maybe you're right, but I can't escape the overriding edge of cynicism in Vila's voice when he refers to... well just about everyone actually.


The thing about Vila is that, yes he is a great deal more intelligent than he appears, but he wastes it by spending so much time trying to avoid being all he can be. This should not be viewed as a positive attribute.

Totally agree. I should think it started as self-defence in the Delta slums and prisons - conceal your intelligence and never take responsibility, it's safer. By season 4 he's more openly intelligent and has dropped a lot of the mindless prattle. He became a lot bolder, and would continue to be in later seasons.


OK. Standing back now, I think I was looking at Vila as a whole, rather than Vila at the end of S4, when he was much more miserable, selfish, withdrawn, but also bolder, and interestingly enough, the only person Avon trusts alone with Scorpio. S4 Vila is much less scared, prattles a lot less, and speaks up more forcefully.

I can certainly agree with that. We can even say that that's why he's stopped sharing the drinks round if you like - he's too bitter to make such a nice gesture anymore. Like I say, I'm not sure he was ever that generous to begin with, but it works either way. Speaking of Vila's growing bitterness, you'll be able to see it boiling over early in season two/six.


I do like Hailee a lot by the way, so I can't be that rabid a Vila fan since she has it in for him!

No no no no no! I've explained this before, so let's get it right. Hailee does NOT have it in for Vila. She has it in for EVERYONE. She is entirely fair in her capacity for flagrant injustice.


I like your other characters too, and the plots are terrific. I liked the Soolin/Servalan thing, and Kyben's background and the others' reactions to it especially. But I have to say that - yes - Vila would be a lot more resentful and distrustful with Kyben, as he went through several 'conditionings' like the one that Farin's brother suffered.

My thoughts exactly. I felt when I wrote it that it was the only possible way for Vila to react to Kyben's dark past.


Anyway, the new season is now under way, so, as Jordan said to a man of cabinet rank less than 37 hours ago, please sit back and enjoy.

Click here to visit Nico's website, Breaking Orbit...