The Blake's 7 Q-study

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fan Survey
Title: The Blake's 7 Q-study
Surveyor: Una McCormack
Date(s): 1998[1]
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Blake's 7
External Links: via WBM
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Blake's 7 Q-study is a study of fans' appreciation of Blake's 7 episodes carried out by Una McCormack in 1998 and published at her website.


This study used a technique called Q-methodology to explore the different ways in which Blake's 7 fans expressed their likes and dislikes, and the different understandings of the programme and what constitutes 'good' and 'bad' B7 which underpin these.[2]

Fans from Blake's 7 mailing lists and elsewhere were invited to rank the complete set of 52 episodes on a scale of +5 to –5, and were also asked to provide comments explaining their high & low ratings. A total of 29 responses were received. Responses were found to cluster into five different patterns, or accounts, each of which represents a different way of enjoying the show.[2]

The Five Accounts

Beautiful Suffering

[A] strong focus on character portrayal, often though not exclusively of Avon; the whole programme is viewed as a series of vignettes or character 'bites', which make most of the show enjoyable.[3]

  • Highly ranked: 'Aftermath', 'Rumours of Death', 'Sarcophagus', 'Orbit', 'Blake'
  • Poorly ranked: 'The Web', 'Animals', 'Cygnus Alpha', 'Volcano', 'Stardrive'

If You Were the Only Boy in the World...

[T]his account, in common with [Beautiful Suffering], places primacy on strong characterization across the cast. 'Character moments' are also enjoyed, across all characters. However, a great deal of emphasis is placed on Blake and, more particularly, on the Blake/Avon relationship, which is seen as pivotal to the series.[4]

  • Highly ranked: 'The Way Back', 'Rumours of Death', 'Pressure Point', 'Star One', 'Terminal'
  • Poorly ranked: 'Animals', 'Stardrive'

A Little Bit of Politics

[E]pisodes are seen primarily as self-contained units, and rewarded for being good or bad on their own terms, with much less emphasis on any over-arching continuity. Criteria include plot, dialogue & performances, with plots which deal with the politics of the series being favoured.[5]

  • Highly ranked: 'Rumours of Death', 'Blake', 'Gambit', 'Games', 'Gold'
  • Poorly ranked: 'Ultraworld', 'Animals', 'The Web', 'Dawn of the Gods', 'Headhunter'

Universal Constancy

[V]iews B7 as a continous narrative, in which particular episodes play an essential part in constructing. Consistency of the B7 universe is paramount, and the 'real' B7 is made up of seasons 1 and 2. Episodes which violate this internal narrative are strongly criticized and even completely dismissed.[6]

  • Highly ranked: 'The Way Back', 'Star One', 'Mission to Destiny', 'City at the Edge of the World', 'Blake'
  • Poorly ranked: 'Sarcophagus', 'Ultraworld', 'Voice from the Past', 'Power', 'Headhunter'

Carry on Up the Rebels!

[H]ugely enjoys aspects of B7 which are funny and camp, although there is also considerable enjoyment of the more poignant moments of the series. ... [E]njoys B7 on as many levels as it can possibly manage.[7]

  • Highly ranked: 'Bounty', 'Sarcophagus', 'Aftermath', 'City at the Edge of the World', 'Sand'
  • Poorly ranked: none stated