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Reboots seem pretty popular these days. A few years ago I was introduced to Blake's 7. For anyone who hasn't seen it, in concept I would summarise the series as 'Star Trek meets Game of Thrones'; it gets pretty dark pretty fast (in the first few minutes of the first episode Blake is framed for child molestation and deported to a prison planet) and there is a high character turnover. However, even the biggest fans would probably accept that it hasn't aged particularly well. There have been many rumours over the years about a reboot but none of them seem to have gone anywhere. Is there any obvious reason why not?

(for example, some rights issue that's actually a game-stopper but that a non-expert like me wouldn't necessarily recognise as that important.)

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  • There isn't really a high character turnover; it was only between series 2 and 3 that the cast really changed at all, although granted that was quite a difference. – Daniel Roseman Jul 12 '16 at 13:31
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    I always found it funny that most of the series occurs without Blake. – John Sensebe Jul 12 '16 at 13:49
  • The most obvious one is...what does it bring that's NEW. A lot of the themes and ideas have been re-done in other SF shows/movies (esp. Firefly). Evil Empire - Resistance/Plucky Crew, etc. It's cheaper quite often to create new channel-owned shows (Dark Matter / Killjoys) which incorporate some of those ideas than do it proper and pay royalties. – Paulie_D Jul 12 '16 at 14:01
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    @Paulie_D: that's true of most reboots, I should think. Presumably the difference is that Blake's 7 doesn't have enough name recognition to appeal to anyone but the core fanbase, i.e., exactly the people who usually hate reboots the most. :-) – Harry Johnston Jul 13 '16 at 2:35
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    “Reboots seem pretty popular these days” [citation nee...] oh, carry on. – Paul D. Waite Jun 30 '17 at 7:27
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Failure to launch

Based on the statements that emanated from the 2008 attempt to reboot the series, the simplest answer is that despite a strong and consistently vocal fanbase, the reality is that the rights holders (B7 Productions) have spent decades struggling to secure funding for the show to be rebooted.

B7 Productions, which is also involved in the acclaimed series of audio books related to Blake’s 7, released its own statement in response to the news, in which it stated that it would seek another partner for development. “Sky deciding to not proceed with the planned TV revival of Blake’s 7 is obviously disappointing, but the development process has resulted in the dynamic reinvention of this ‘branded’ series,” the company said. “As Sky were the minority broadcaster, there is a huge opportunity for investment in a TV series that is fully developed, has genuine global appeal and has exciting 360 degree exploitation opportunities. With much praised scripts from lead writers Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle (Going Postal) and 60 per cent of the finance already in place, by anyone’s standard we have pulled together a compelling package. We are confident that this reboot of Blake’s 7 has the creative and commercial credentials that will enable us to find a partner with the vision to recognise the strength and enduring appeal of the show and the opportunity it represents to produce a bold new drama series with significant international appeal.”

BLAKE’S 7 REBOOT CANCELLED

So what's going wrong?

The show certainly has a cult following, but unlike BSG, Westworld or MacGyver it hasn't been repeated enough to have a consistent place in the public memory. It's not been shown again on UK TV since the 1980s and there was extremely limited interest in the audio reboots on BBC Radio 7. With regard to US TV, the original show has too few episodes to enter syndication, further limiting its potential to gain a global fanbase.

As far as unsubstantiated rumours are concerned, I've read internet chatter that suggests that various networks have expressed serious concerns about B7 Production's expectations regarding how much money needs to be spent on the show and how many episodes need to be commissioned in advance in order to do justice to the show.

This will be a big show and that’s why it’s taken much longer to make sure we get it right… Sky want to get it right,”

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