Ever play that game Consequences? The one where you write or draw a particular sentence, person or thing on a section of paper, fold it over and write or draw something different in the next section – and so on...
Dawn Of The Gods is Blake's 7's very own Consequences, a random collection of sci-fi stock clichés unfolding before your disbelieving eyes. Having reviewed 50 out of the 52 Blake's 7 stories for Den Of Geek way back in 2009, at the time I noted that this particular tale was “odd”. Catching up with Dawn Of The Gods six years later, “odd” is still something of an understatement.
Blake's 7 may have acquired a reputation for gritty drama, and rightly so, considering the likes of the opening and closing episodes. But the third season, for the most part, opts for a more free-falling comic book approach. The newly amended crew are relentlessly hounded by the female equivalent of Dick Dastardly, the opening titles could have been paying homage to Battle Of The Planets, while a good number of stories dabble with loony concepts such as a trio of baldies gathering information for their pet Core, a race against time to reach the Harvest Of Kairos and a bizarre puppet thing called Moloch. Despite some of the wacky ideas and approaches, the third season of Blake's 7 is still hugely enjoyable telly.
Going back to my original point about the style of Season 3 though, Dawn Of The Gods is a story that probably would have worked better as a comic strip – the sort you'd see in those old Blake's 7 Monthly magazines from 1981-82. With a 1979 budget, some of the on-screen results don't quite come off – such as the reveal of the Thaarn; the cosy prison cell for Cally, complete with outer space slide show provided; and of course, the giant dodgem car of doom which wouldn't even alarm a frightened mouse. The random ideas (including a Mad Hatter, Space Monopoly and thrill-a-minute equations with paper and pencil – fun times) don't quite come off, leaving many a fan regarding Dawn Of The Gods as a failed curio.
On the up side though, Desmond McCarthy does his level best with the script and shows innovative technique for scenes such as the video distorted entry into the Black Hole and Zen's assault on the lightsaber-wielding lackeys of the Thaarn. Dawn Of The Gods is also the first story this season to remember that Cally isn't just there to operate the Teleport – it's one of three Cally-centric stories (along with Children Of Auron and Sarcophagus) that looks in greater detail about the character's back story and origins. Props to Jan Chappell for managing the dialogue-heavy background of the legend of the Thaarn very well indeed. There is also some good, amusing dialogue to be had, such as the ironic description of The Thaarn and best of all, “I'm in hell and it's full of Avons!”
It's bonkers, off the wall and budget-wise, a bit too ambitious – but unlike the preceding Volcano, at least there's rarely a dull moment in Dawn Of The Gods.
John Bensalhia is an author and freelance writer. You can find out more about him and his work here: