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Sunday, April 21, 2024

A To Z Blogging Challenge - Villains! - S Is For Servalan


Supreme Commander Servalan is the main villain of British SF TV series Blake’s 7. 

Blake’s 7 is set in a dystopian future centuries after a nuclear war. People are still living under domes, though the nuclear fallout is long over - and the government makes sure it stays that way. Despite that, there is a rebel movement, led by Roj Blake, who was on his way to a penal colony when he and his comrades escaped on a wonderful alien ship, the Liberator

Servalan is the head of the military forces of the evil Federation.  She doesn’t wear a uniform, though, but seems to be in a different ball gown in every episode. She is, of course, after the Liberator, and is hoping for help from Blake’s computer expert, Kerr Avon. Avon is the one who is always talking about betraying his friends, and how stupid Blake’s rebellion is, but in the end, she uses his care for Blake to get her way.

In the third season of the show, Servalan becomes President of the Federation, though she is backstabbed by someone else who wants the job.  By Season 4, she has been rumoured to be dead and is posing as “Commissioner Sleer”, still in ball gowns, but all black ones.

Servalan is only too happy to backstab and betray to get what she wants, including her second in command, Space Commander Travis. He is definitely not a nice man, and she makes use of his obsession with Blake, but he doesn’t deserve what she does to him. In one episode, while he is under arrest, we meet a former soldier of his, who respects him highly. Whether Servalan’s troops respect her is unclear, but it’s unlikely. For her, only her needs are important, and she doesn’t care who dies.

Servalan is a Villain with a capital V.

SF author Lois McMaster Bujold, a Blake’s 7 fan, created a character based on Servalan for one of her Miles Vorkosigan space operas, The Vor Game. Cavilo is the villain of that novel, and leader of a mercenary fleet. She is small and blonde, where Servalan is dark, but very like her in personality. She even appears in one scene wearing a costume that looks like one worn by Servalan in the Blake’s 7 episode “Gambit”,  bright red with a stiff upstanding collar around her. She captures Miles and his cousin Gregor, Emperor of the planet Barrayar, and decides she can dump the fleet and marry the Emperor. She doesn’t succeed, being the villain, of course, but it is a very Servalan thing to do. 

Though if she succeeded, Servalan would arrange a nice  assassination soon after becoming Empress. 

If you want to see what Servalan - and hence Cavilo  - looks like in that red dress, here is a link.


DA Cairns said...

I've heard of Blake 7, but never seen it. I've been looking for a sci fi series to watch. I wonder if I can find it somewhere in the streamoverse.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi DA! It might be on Britbox, but I’ve seen it on YouTube. Check there first.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds like a good show! Never seen it or heard of it.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Debra! Perhaps you might like to check it out on YouTube? I think you might like Avon…

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Only wearing ball gowns must become tedious after a while, even for villains.

Ronel visiting for S: My Languishing TBR: S