It took me a while after finishing season one, before I could start watching season two, for reasons that can be considered quite obvious if you know what happened in November. But once I had got back into the swing of things, I was once again hooked. Was this out of appreciation for the quality of the show? Or the cultural rubbernecking of watching a pretty naff production? I genuinely can’t decide, but I have enjoyed this show again.
Roj Blake – Gareth Thomas
Kerr Avon – Paul Darrow
Jenna Stannis – Sally Knyvette
Vila Restal– Michael Keating
Cally – Jan Chappel
Oleg Gan -David Jackson
Zen/ Orac – Peter Tuddenham
Servalan – Jacqueline Pearce
Travis -Brian Croucher
Debuting on 9th Jan 1979 (40 years before I watched it) Redemption opened the season with the builders of the Liberator coming back to retrieve it, giving us new villains in the System. After this it was back to war on the Federation, personified by Supreme Commander Servalan and her attack dog Travis, this time played by a different actor in a very Darren from Bewitched kind of way. We also get new outfits and Orac gets a more prominent role. To be honest, the whole thing gets a upgrade in terms of writing and in places performances. We get more nuance from the team who waver in their support of Blake, especially when halfway through the season their mission and Blake’s single-minded fanatacism gets Gan killed. Blake has to pick himself back up and the team at times shows signs of cracking apart.
Travis also gets more screen time as he pivots from fugitive to secret weapon to fugitive again and we see his and Blake’s singlemindedness do nothing but harm to them. Blake and Avon also butt heads more as Avon tires of the idealism that threatens to decend into bloody revolution. The season leads us closer to the idea that Blake isn’t the hero that he makes himself out to be and he becomes more and more comfortable with the idea that the Federation isn’t going down without a whole lot of innocent people being killed.
We still have the problems with pacing, lack of decent fight choreography and bizarre directing choices and there’s more than a few racially insensitive moments, but by and large this show stands up better in it’s second season that it ever did in it’s first. The whole thing comes to a head with it’s final episode Star One, which saw the departure of more than one member of the cast.
The season ends on something of a cliff-hanger, with the crew forced to abandon their plan to cripple the Federation, when it becomes apparent that they need it intact to deal with an even greater threat as an external threat looms over the whole galaxy.
Much like the first season, this is a uneven affair. The actors for the most part give it their all, with Paul Darrow trying to out arch everyone and Jacqueline Pearce looking very slender for someone feasting so heavily on the scenery. It’s a better season as the show starts to shape itself into something new and hopefully better.
I enjoyed it better than the first one and am now a lot more invested in it, I’m hoping that’s a good thing?
Season three is next, wish me luck.