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Review: Blake’s 7 Classic Audio Adventures series 1 February 7, 2016

Posted by sjroby in Audio reviews, Blake's 7.
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Mirror coverAfter a few sets of the Liberator Chronicles hybrid audio drama/audiobook approach, Big Finish started its series of full cast audio dramas. Like many old time radio series, it’s TV without the pictures, and without narration. Everything’s driven by dialogue and sound effects.

Unlike the Liberator Chronicles, sold as a series of trilogies, with each story often being a standalone tale, the Classic Audio Adventures were released as single-CD monthly stories, six parts with different titles and authors, but telling one long, serialized story. It surprised me when the first one ended with a cliffhanger, but since I listened to them all over the course of a week or two instead of as they came out it wasn’t hard to remember where I left off from day to day.

This series is set late in series two of the TV series, serving as part of the search for Star One. The storytelling approach is interesting — it ties in with the TV series continuity but also incorporates elements of the Liberator Chronicles stories. I’m not sure whether the Classic or Chronicles stories involving the President of the Federation came first, and I believe Gustav Nyrron first appeared in the Chronicles, but it makes clear that you get more of the whole picture if you’re open to both the more audiobook-like Chronicles style and the Classic radio drama style.

As for the stories themselves, though there’s a very strong arc through the stories, they’re each self-contained enough to work on their own, more or less. Some plot elements are involved in each one. And it’s a pretty good story, especially if you like Brian Croucher’s Travis. All of the cast members have aged, with Gareth Thomas’s voice the least like his TV voice, but Croucher is instantly recognizable. In fact, my one concern — that in a full cast audio I’d have a hard time recognizing who’s who, with the aged voices — turned out to be misplaced. It generally works quite well, even with a new actor doing the Zen and Orac computer voices, and the sound effects work is always good.

The audios do add to the TV series — they tighten up a loose continuity, give it more of a serial feel than it sometimes had, develop characters who didn’t get much screen time, and introduce or reintroduce supporting characters. And without the TV version’s costumes, sets, and special effects, it’s easier to visualize this as the serious space adventure series it tried to be.

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