Animals - Not a Turkey

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Title: Animals - not a turkey
Creator: Una McCormack
Date(s): 2000 or earlier
Medium: online
Fandom: Blake's 7
Topic: 'Animals'
External Links: homepage.ntlworld.com/matthew.adams1/personal/turkey.htm; q-research.connectfree.co.uk/personal/turkey.htm via WBM
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Animals - not a turkey is a Blake's 7 essay by Una McCormack that defends the fourth-season episode 'Animals', widely considered one of the worst episodes of the series.[1][2]

Summary & Extracts

Introduction

At Deliverance, I ‘came out’ as an Animalite. People took little steps away from me, and nodded politely in a way that suggested that they would now like to be in another room, please. What is it about this fairly innocuous 50 minutes of television that has the whole of B7 fandom united? We argue constantly about everything else: was Avon mad or stressed? Was Blake fanatical or fighting for a just cause? Was Gan a crap character or a very crap character? Yet Animals gets an emphatic and uniform no-no.[3]

The Arguments Against

Una addresses each of six arguments put forward against the episode:

  • Deficiencies in Og, the monster of the week
  • Poor special effects
  • The episode features Dayna but was written for Cally
  • Dayna is underage in the backstory, making Justin a paedophile
  • The episode is a redoing of 'The Web'
  • Dayna being broken by Servalan is out of character

The Episode's Strengths

...Perhaps best of all are the wonderful scenes between Jackie Pearce and Kevin Stoney, as Ardus. Stoney is as terrific as ever - I love his moment of realization, quickly masked. Pearce is pensive, scheming, and as menacing as ever. Once again, she takes advantage of a blind man without a moment's flicker. Secondly, I like the information that we're given about the war: it's one of the few occasions in the fourth season where there's some attempt at consistency between this season and events which took place in earlier ones. Sometimes, watching the fourth season, you get the feeling that the whole of the earlier three seasons didn't happen at all. Finally, Dayna at last gets an episode to herself...[3]

'Animals' as a Scapegoat

I think Animals has become the scapegoat for what we, as fans, don't like to see in our favourite show. We baulk at inconsistency across the series, we shudder at cruddy monsters, we get irritated by the necessities of production intruding on the narrative. Other episodes have these elements in spades...
I think that we have settled on Animals as our personification of the dissatisfaction we feel with failings which span the whole series, allowing us to salvage other episodes and feel affection towards them. At the end of the day, the episode really isn't that bad.[3]

Reviews

  • The Anorak's Guide to Blake's 7 recommends the essay & other pro-'Animals' material at Una's fansite: One of my favourite B7 sites, a very humorous and engaging work from Una McCormack. I'm a big supporter of the "Animals isn't the worst episode of Blake's 7" theory, and this site sets out to prove it.[4]
  • Neil Faulkner calls the site: a sterling attempt to defend the justly maligned dross that calls itself Animals[5]

References

  1. For example, in The Blake's 7 Q-study, the episode was the lowest rated of the series by three different groups of fans.
  2. Hermit.org: ANIMALS: (Allan Prior) reviewed by Marian de Haan (accessed 24 September 2015)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Animals - not a turkey (accessed 24 September 2015)
  4. The Anorak's Guide to Blake's 7: Blake’s 7 Links (accessed 24 September 2015)
  5. In The Distant Future ... Shit Still Happens (accessed 25 September 2015)