• Sci-fi Upgrades

last modified March 3, 2017 by strypey

Calling all computer graphics artists and other special effects buffs who love working on sci fi. I have a project for you. Let me set the scene.

One of my all-time-favourite sci-fi shows is Blake's 7. It was written by the late Terry Nation, the writer who created the Daleks for Dr Who, and produced in the late 1970s by the BBC. The story is a dark Star Trek, where the Federation is a totalitarian empire, and the heroes are a bickering band of escaped criminals who become reluctant resistance fighters.

Like the original Star Trek, B7 has a unique visual aesthetic, but sadly, unlike its US counterpart, whose dated visual effects are part of its peculiar charm, many of the effects in Blake's 7 look like kindergarten craft projects, and often detract from the compelling story arc, and some damn fine performances, especially by the core cast. I used to think that it would be good to see the series remade, and at least two TV channels have announced they intend to do just that (the first was canned, the second was announced in 2012 but no news since then), but having been mostly disappointed by remakes of classic sci-fi in the past (eg the Star Wars prequels, V), and having seen a number of more recent sci-fi shows with a premise at least vaguely similar (eg Farscape, Firefly, Dark Matter), I'm not sure a complete remake could do the source material justice.

So, what I'd like to see instead is project to "upgrade" the original episodes. This upgrade would leave intact as much of the original as possible, especially the actors, but replace the goofy visual effects with something much more convincing using CG (and maybe other techniques if anyone is keen eg miniatures), while keeping with the original aesthetic. As far as I know, B7 remains under copyright, with radio spin-offs still being sold on the official site. Hopefully, the copyright holders would be willing to turn a blind eye, since this project would be completely non-commercial, and fan-managed.  The completed work would be released gratis on the web for all to enjoy, in the same manner as other fan-made tributes like 'Star Wars: Continues', which uses the following disclaimer:

"Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. The videos, the promotion thereof, and/or any other materials created by Star Trek Continues are not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and are non-commercial fan-made films intended for recreational use. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended. In no case is the use of said copyrighted material, with or without identifying symbols, intended as a claim of ownership or infringement of those copyrights/trademarks by the maker of these videos or their content providers."

If we can pull this off, and release upgraded versions of all four seasons of the original B7, we will have pulled together a video production team with proven ability to manage and deliver a complete sci-fi television project. The next step would be to create a new, original series, licensed under a CreativeCommons license, for which we would need to pull together a writing team, and some competent actors, and maybe attempt a crowdfunding campaign to cover costs.