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Kerr Avon
peladon
trevor travis wrote:

BradPaula wrote:

I have to agree with Trevor Travis. Avon is the same character throughout the four series, although we see a progression, or is that a digression in behavior caused by circumstance, stress and his own unique and oftentimes abrasive and secretive nature. Blake may have been the title character, but Avon took over and became such a fascinating study in human behavior, we could not keep our eyes off of him. And 30 odd years later, we are still talking and debating about it!


Paula, it is compelling the way that his character develops and shifts over 51 episodes, which is why I still have him down as a “favourite character” even though I don’t particularly like him at times!

For example we have “Orbit”, which is a fascinating but horrifying episode to watch. Vila is like the “control” of an experiment in this episode, as Robert Holmes writes him as the same manner as in “Killer” and “Gambit”. In contrast, he writes a developed Avon, taking into account everything that he has happened to him in the meantime, therefore showing the effect to this character development on his relationship with Vila (and it’s not pretty). It’s a brilliant example of why Robert Holmes was one of the genre’s best-ever writers.

We see everything that makes the man we see in the final season, such as taking on the increasing burden of the responsibility of leadership (something Avon thought he wanted, but be careful of what you wish for!), his betrayal at the hands of Anna Grant, and making mistakes in “Terminal” that ended up with such a high cost, including taking away Cally, the one person who seemed to be able to get through to him.

The Avon of “Warlord” and “Blake” is much developed from that of “Space Fall”, but he’s still the same man.



I know that you don’t agree, and why should you? However, having spent many, many hours deconstructing the man and how he is presented, you don’t convince me and my opinion remains unchanged. Personally I see series D Avon as very 2 dimenional and superficial, crude compared to the earlier version, a comic book character, or something from a cheap western, rather than a 'real person'.

Avon 1-3 shows variation I agree, mainly when written badly. However he is not ‘developed ', in the deliberately extended sense of the word, to any great degree past series B. Writers play with him to suit their own writing style and preferences but that is not character development, it’s undisciplined writing and most of these deviations from character can be passed off as circumstance and are not particularly significant. But series 4 is a shift, as it is for the whole series, a shift away from what was there to something really quite different once you get past the names and faces. But there is no credible rationale for it as none of the changes, in the series or in the writing and portrayal of Avon, in S4 tie in with circumstance or the way that real humans react to it. Hence my comment that there is no logical path from Avon 1 to Avon 2, which is why I say they are two men. Avon 1 is pretty much as he was created with some of the extension to be expected over 3 yrs of production, Avon 2 is probably closer to something the later writers and crew were more comfortable writing/producing.

Having watched the first and last series intertwined the differences have been inescapable for me, perhaps because I saw them side by side before I became interested in the character. For those who watched them sequentially it might not be so obvious.

The discussion is complicated by a tendency amongst some to re-interpret his earlier Avon 1 behaviour in light of Avon 2, so making the characters more consistent than they actually are on screen. Why? I know but I'd guess that Avon 2 offers them something, ticks some box, that Avon 1 did not, or not to the same degree. So his earlier behaviour is’re-imagined' in the shadow of the final series to a greater or lesser degree, and in these cases he, Avon 1, is generally seen as more ruthless, more violent, more criminal, more antisocial that he actually was presented. In addition the insights that we are, sometimes very deliberately, provided with in series A/B about his past, personality and nature are rejected or skipped over with new assumptions about his motivations taking centre stage. That isn’t limited to SA/B Avon 1 and I’d say that the tendency to see him as obsessed with being betrayed is one later example of the re-invention of Avon.

BTW I’ve also noticed the same effect with S1/S2 Travis.
 
BradPaula
@Peladon: That is the great thing about this Forum, we can all bring our thoughts and ideas to the fore and have a good solid discussion of the subject, whether we agree or not. And I will agree with you about Travis I & II.
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
trevor travis
Peladon, we're not going to agree on Avon, but I do agree with regards to Travis.

I think it was deliberate to allow Brian Croucher to put his own mark on the character, rather than play a carbon copy of Stephen Grief's Travis.

But I actually think it was an almost inspired decision. It's difficult to see what else they could have done with Travis 1, who was a largely 2D character, who ended each episode defeated by Blake and shouting at the nearest wall/purple ball.

On the other hand, Travis 2 had a new lease of life, especially in episodes such as Trial and Gambit.

Stephen Grief left because he couldn't see where else the character could go. But the change of actor was then used to give Travis another place to go.

I like each portrayal as much as the other, even though they are very different.
 
Lurena
Peladon, I tend to agree with you about Avon and I do agree about Travis.

Of course, for the drama, Avon had to change to keep conflict going.

S1,2 and 3 Avon set out to obtain Liberator, to live free and to expect that nobody could touch him.
You never knew when he would take the ship and run.
It was main cause of the impossibility to trust Avon.
This provided many great and tense interactions within the crew.

In S4, with Liberator not available anymore, the Avon character had no mistrust and tension to offer in the way he did before. The writers had to find another reason for the trust factor.
Ruthlessness, roughness, being fallible creates mistrust.
Lara&Sue's Blake's 7 stories
*No, I am not. I am not expendable, I'm not stupid, and I'm not going.*
 
http://lectorisalutem.webs.com/
Anniew
Peladon. During season 3 Avon learned the love of his life was a Federation Agent who had never loved him. He then was responsible for bringing about the death of Cally, the other woman he was close to. He was also told by Servalan that Blake was dead. He then lost the liberator, the nearest thing to a home he'd had for three years. These traumas could plausibly have turned him into the negative, bitter, misanthropic, mistrustful soul we see in Season 4.

On the London , Avon was identified by the crew as someone who might be persuaded to doctor the computer records so they could dump the other prisoners for a reward. He thought serously about this but concluded he might not get away with it. He wanted Blake to stand firm no matter how many of the prisoners were killed so that he would be safe, he fought a very dirty fight and he proclaimed himself an unapologetic thief ( wealth is the only reality) In season four he ruthlessly sacrifices people who might compromise his safety, he steals unapologetically, he fights dirty, he is willing to kill Vila to save his skin. Is this a marked difference in character?

Certainly his style and delivery changes in season four. Macbeth's does too. Both changes can be put down to trauma: Macbeth has betrayed and so lost the one thing he truly valued - his honour as a soldier- through his criminal choices. Avon has been betrayed and lost all he ever cared about through his own misjudgements and has to rely on his criminal skills if he wants to survive. Surely it's not surprising that he changes in the way he does? After his first killing then killing must come easier over the years. And he is very gung ho when firsts confronting Cally, during Orac and when he kills Travis which is consistent with his demeanor in Season 4.
I also think the writers and the actor wanted to show in season 4 that a life on the run, fighting to survive changes people. They become hardened and coarsened by the losses they suffer and are responsible for, the dirty deeds they have to perform in order to survive. Not everyone is affected to the same degree but cynical people like Avon are most likely to change like this because they are actually deeply sentimental and have a passionate longing for the very idealism they deny. Every experience that confirms their cynicism warps them more and more. Cally's motto "a man who trusts" is profoundly true because those who can retain some if their positive energy. Avon can't and seeks to prove he is right to mistrust unconsciously with every decision he makes in season 4. It is deeply uncomfortable to watch and very brave.
Edited by Anniew on 12 February 2015 01:44:18
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
littlesue
Have just read a review of the much anticipated 50 Shades Movie (not anticipated by me, I might add!!!)
The reviewer describes Mr Grey as thus..."Christian Grey is dark and dangerous, a troubled man with emotional wounds."
Crumbs, sounds like someone we know from 35 years ago!!!!
It also goes on to say,"...He is broken, and the heroine is the only one who can fix him."

Well, I understand that this whole trilogy started off as a Twilight Saga FanFic....
...oh my, Hugbot has just given PC permission to go into the Red room.........................................................Oops
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
meegat39
littlesue wrote:
...oh my, Hugbot has just given PC permission to go into the Red room.........................................................Oops


Blackout in the red room??! Grin
"If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."
 
trevor travis
Anniew wrote:
It is deeply uncomfortable to watch and very brave.


Anniew, I agree with your assessment, and also your concluding sentiment.

I think I've described watching Season D before as "car-crash television" - in that it's not nice to watch the way that Avon goes through the wringer, but at the same time, it's impossible not to fascinated by it.

And it's kinda unusual. It was certainly for 1981. B7 always stood out as something a bit unique, a programme in which they went the extra mile and pushed things that little bit further.

No wonder we're still talking about so many years later.
 
peladon
Anniew wrote:

Peladon. During season 3 Avon learned the love of his life was a Federation Agent who had never loved him. He then was responsible for bringing about the death of Cally, the other woman he was close to. He was also told by Servalan that Blake was dead. He then lost the liberator, the nearest thing to a home he'd had for three years. These traumas could plausibly have turned him into the negative, bitter, misanthropic, mistrustful soul we see in Season 4.

On the London , Avon was identified by the crew as someone who might be persuaded to doctor the computer records so they could dump the other prisoners for a reward. He thought serously about this but concluded he might not get away with it. He wanted Blake to stand firm no matter how many of the prisoners were killed so that he would be safe, he fought a very dirty fight and he proclaimed himself an unapologetic thief ( wealth is the only reality) In season four he ruthlessly sacrifices people who might compromise his safety, he steals unapologetically, he fights dirty, he is willing to kill Vila to save his skin. Is this a marked difference in character?

Certainly his style and delivery changes in season four. Macbeth's does too. Both changes can be put down to trauma: Macbeth has betrayed and so lost the one thing he truly valued - his honour as a soldier- through his criminal choices. Avon has been betrayed and lost all he ever cared about through his own misjudgements and has to rely on his criminal skills if he wants to survive. Surely it's not surprising that he changes in the way he does? After his first killing then killing must come easier over the years. And he is very gung ho when firsts confronting Cally, during Orac and when he kills Travis which is consistent with his demeanor in Season 4.
I also think the writers and the actor wanted to show in season 4 that a life on the run, fighting to survive changes people. They become hardened and coarsened by the losses they suffer and are responsible for, the dirty deeds they have to perform in order to survive. Not everyone is affected to the same degree but cynical people like Avon are most likely to change like this because they are actually deeply sentimental and have a passionate longing for the very idealism they deny. Every experience that confirms their cynicism warps them more and more. Cally's motto "a man who trusts" is profoundly true because those who can retain some if their positive energy. Avon can't and seeks to prove he is right to mistrust unconsciously with every decision he makes in season 4. It is deeply uncomfortable to watch and very brave.


I dont have much time to reply properly so excuse the terse nature of this comment - I'll reply more completely (if still needed) when I have more time.

1. We dont know that Anna was the love of his life only that she was the most recent.
2. He weathers her demise very well, but all the real evidence is that he is a rationale and self disciplined man who would cope
3. While its fanon that he blames himself for Cally's death there is no on screen evidence that he does so, also death is a constant risk for them all - if he blames any one I'd put my money on Servalan
4. Yes he lost Liberator but under circumstances he probably would have found preferable to Servalan getting it.
5. Blake suggests the deal with the crew angle on the London, and there is no evidence provided on screen to back it up or that Avon ever thought seriously about it
6. He wasn’t moved by the death of prisioners, but then he probably knew what the outcome would be and also may (no evidence either way) have expected that Raiker would halt when Blake didnt give in, or that he would be stopped by Leylan
7 His comment about wealth being the only reality may have been nothing more than simple truth in the Federation - certainly what we are shown of it suggests it was probably the only safety.
8. I do not recal an event prior to S4 when he showed himself willing to kill the others for his own gain, in fact thought he talks a good 'I dont care' none of his action in SA-C match the words. The evidence is that ihe often, and willingly, embraces risk to himself in their interests (and not just Blake).
9. His personality, modes of interaction, body language etc all change drastically in S4 - none of which can explained by stress or trauma (they are the wrong type of changes) - brain damage possiblybut there is no evidence his has sufferred that. Does Macbeth? Or is it just usually played that way
10, Evidence says that he is not a career criminal, so his criminal skills are limited, his military skills are more developed over time (as would be expected) but thats not the same thing.
11. Fanon often has Avon as sentimental but there is no evidence of it at all and what evidence about his basic nature that we have points entirely the other way. He is rational, self disciplined (when not terrified) clear sighted and, I would suggest, doesn’t dwell on what he can’t alter. Tjere is no evidence that I am aware of that cynics are more sentimental that other types of people - the opposite in fact in that they are less likely to hold any cow sacred.
12. Avon's mistrust is very justified, with the price on his head and the nature of the Federationthere isnt anyone outside his immediate fellow rebels that he can trust
 
Anniew
Brilliant stuff Peladon and I do thank you for taking the time to respond ( particularly when I suspect you have had the argument many times) . And I couldn't agree with you less!
For example:

1.Avon tells Grant that he would have willingly given his life for Anna - suggests love of his life OR extreme sentiment to me! He also tells grant that he risked his life on Albian because Grant was her brother. Sounds love of his life again.

2 not a career criminal- Tynus and]Keiller!
How did he get to know such dodgy people if not through links with criminals?

3.Freud saw cynicism as despair ( a drive to death) which sprang from bitter disappointment and disillusion - that's what I mean by deeply sentimental. Avon is a hopeless idealist who unconsciously sabotages the good in his life - as when he convinces himself Blake has betrayed him.

4Macbeth's whole language and physical posture changes after the murder of Duncan as does his way of relating to his wife - symbols of evil ( rooks/ snakes/ scorpions) tied me to the stake/ walking shadow - suggest posture changes . She should have died hereafter ( no emotion when wife kills herself) Patrick Stewart's performance shows this very well.

5. The keeper - Avon destroys Travis ship and all on board . Would do the same with Servalan. He kills Tynus. Would abandon Blake on Cygnus Alpha and then get rid of Jenna . All examples of killing ( in Blake's case second hand) for his own interests so the POTENTIAL is there but like Macbeth there is an inner war between his greed and his sense of honour - and in the end greed and survival win out.

6 he is always rough with women - Sara / Cally at times -who he suggests they airlock her in the web- Servalan. Jenna at the teleport when he grabs and twists her wrist.

7. Cally's death follows Avon's admission'. I gave Servalan the Liberator'. He has to blame himself a bit for her death.

By the by, I really love your written work!
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Ellen York
trevor travis wrote:


I think I've described watching Season D before as "car-crash television" - in that it's not nice to watch the way that Avon goes through the wringer, but at the same time, it's impossible not to fascinated by it.



I usually describe Derrek as a "slow motion train-wreck". I know where it is going, and I wish it could be different, but there is definitely a certain fascination in the ride. There is also a certain amount of "there but for the grace of God". The characters are all a product of the very repressive society that they live in.
 
mrsbookmark
Season 4-ORBIT.
I remember the first time I watched that it was so compelling because even though Avon was unhinged by the point in the series, watching the cruel and crazy was fascinating. Plus, it was with Villa, the other character, I would argue that makes the series what it is. There is a big difference from Series 1 Avon to Series 4...it seems a natural progression to me, but I have to think on it. Love the responses here.
 
trevor travis
peladon wrote:
8. I do not recal an event prior to S4 when he showed himself willing to kill the others for his own gain, in fact thought he talks a good 'I dont care' none of his action in SA-C match the words. The evidence is that ihe often, and willingly, embraces risk to himself in their interests (and not just Blake).


Avon still will not kill the others for his own gain in Season D – he only hunts down Vila in “Orbit” because he believes it is the only option left available, there’s no gain for him in this situation, just loss. Once another option becomes available, Avon quickly takes that alternative instead.

As late as “Warlord”, we see him come up with a solution that saves the lives of Vila, Tarrant and Dayna. Avon’s own life is not in danger at the time. In fact, Avon is constantly having to save the others in the final season; probably more so than in any other season. Without the Liberator, he’s needed more than ever – that’s one of the weights pressing down on his shoulders during this season. And if Avon was just after his own gain, why come up with the Rebel Alliance in “Warlord”? There were easier ways to survive.

Avon’s bark is far worse than his bite – in all four seasons. But he will do what’s necessary if backed into a corner. Avon has always been like that, always the cynic, but will come through when needed and make the tough choices, even though sometimes he makes the wrong choices.

But the difference is, due to the strain, he makes far more mistakes in Derek. Their situation is very different without the Liberator. Plus he’s no longer got Cally to talk to – that opening scene for him and Cally in “Sarcophagus” is so important. There’s no big opening up from either one of them, just an understanding that both are there for each other. In Derek, there’s no-one left who can “de-stress” Avon – he hasn’t got Blake around either to have a good argument with and get things out of his system.

He’s still the same man, but a man under stress and at the point of cracking.

As Anniew has pointed out, Avon lives by a certain code (although I still would argue it’s far from an honourable one!!), and he’s still living by this code in the final season.
 
JustBrad
FWIW, a friend of mine who has been a D&D Tournament judge said the following about Avon. It's a broad definition, not entirely accurate, but it makes the point. I apologize for the geek speak.

Avon begins season one as a textbook example of Neutral Evil: He's not out to hurt anyone, but he will always put himself first, is not above any action if the situation calls for it, and will justify his actions as survival based. During the course of the third and fourth seasons, he is attempting to undergo an alignment change. He's trying to change, to become Chaotic Good, but as so often happens with alignment changes, he misses the mark , and ends up Chaotic Neutral.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
That's actually a pretty good way of describing his personality development imo.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
peladon
trevor travis wrote:

Peladon, we're not going to agree on Avon, but I do agree with regards to Travis.

I think it was deliberate to allow Brian Croucher to put his own mark on the character, rather than play a carbon copy of Stephen Grief's Travis.

But I actually think it was an almost inspired decision. It's difficult to see what else they could have done with Travis 1, who was a largely 2D character, who ended each episode defeated by Blake and shouting at the nearest wall/purple ball.

On the other hand, Travis 2 had a new lease of life, especially in episodes such as Trial and Gambit.

Stephen Grief left because he couldn't see where else the character could go. But the change of actor was then used to give Travis another place to go.

I like each portrayal as much as the other, even though they are very different.


Then I think we will never agree on what consistutes 2 and 3D characters and what gives a character dimension.Smile Travis 1 is fully 3D for me, though he becomes a man driven by a single objective, whilst Travis 2 is strictly 2D, very stylised but no real depth. BC had pretty poor scripts much of the time but he isnt blamless. Trial and Pressure Point are the hgih spots but even then he doesnt do them justice (better in Trial than PP)

I was under the impression that Grief left because he sustained an injury that prevented him from filming commitments (leg I think), I've never previously seen any suggestion that he abandoned the role on artistic grounds.
 
peladon
JustBrad wrote:

FWIW, a friend of mine who has been a D&D Tournament judge said the following about Avon. It's a broad definition, not entirely accurate, but it makes the point. I apologize for the geek speak.

Avon begins season one as a textbook example of Neutral Evil: He's not out to hurt anyone, but he will always put himself first, is not above any action if the situation calls for it, and will justify his actions as survival based. During the course of the third and fourth seasons, he is attempting to undergo an alignment change. He's trying to change, to become Chaotic Good, but as so often happens with alignment changes, he misses the mark , and ends up Chaotic Neutral.


Hmmm, thats a gaming construct not a personality measure! Even so the little I know of it says each alignment encompasses a broad range of personality types (not much use for analysis purposes or for anything at real world practical level then)Smile

Avon falls at the first anyway, throughout SA-C s he does not always put himself first and will take risks in support of his group. He also shows boundaries and self limiting traits.
 
trevor travis
peladon wrote:
I was under the impression that Grief left because he sustained an injury that prevented him from filming commitments (leg I think), I've never previously seen any suggestion that he abandoned the role on artistic grounds.


He missed the studio session for Orac, following an Achilles injury while playing squash.

But that just caused him to miss the one studio session, not to quit the show.

He wasn't under a two-year contract unlike the members of the cast who played the Liberator crew. He was wanted back for the second season, but accepted another job offer instead.
 
BradPaula
Stephen Grief thought the character of Travis was becoming very one-dimensional with "I'll get you next time, Blake," type lines. He did indeed injury himself but decided not to continue in the role for artistic reasons. And that comes from the 'horse's mouth'.
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
peladon
Anniew wrote:

Brilliant stuff Peladon and I do thank you for taking the time to respond ( particularly when I suspect you have had the argument many times) . And I couldn't agree with you less!
For example:

1.Avon tells Grant that he would have willingly given his life for Anna - suggests love of his life OR extreme sentiment to me! He also tells grant that he risked his life on Albian because Grant was her brother. Sounds love of his life again.

2 not a career criminal- Tynus and]Keiller!
How did he get to know such dodgy people if not through links with criminals?


Sorry I'm stilltight on time - so if you dont mind I'll respond in bits.

1.Avon tells Grant ...

True – but I personally would separate sentiment and sentimentality, a person capable of the former does not have to be the latter. In line with what he says in Duel I’d say he sees no need to be irrational to prove that he cares, or even any need to prove it at all.

Even then we could ask is that him remembering his feeling differently at a distance, wishing that were the case, or is it guilt, or simply a device for keeping Grant from his throat. We don’t actually know. But if we take that statement at face value (as truth because he says it) then we must do the same with other statements. Personally I think it’s a mix of truth and guilt, and that while he isn’t sentimental he is capable of strong ties of affection – though probably only to a few people at a time.

2 not a career criminal- Tynus and]Keiller!
How did he get to know such dodgy people if not through links with criminals?

This is an example of what I mean by SD causing a re-imagining of Avon 1. So I’ll step through it in a bit moiré detail to show what I mean.

We are told by Vila, and by Avon himself at the start of the series (and therefore at character set up) that Avon has had a professional life that doesn’t involve crime (and if we taking comments at face value we must accept those comments as statement of truth). Avon also mentions that others were involved in the fraud that got him caught and that one or more of them let him down. So when we meet Tynus the logical assumption is that the fraud Avon refers to shielding Tynus from investigation in is the one he got caught for. While there may have been tester frauds Avon can’t have been picked up for them, as he obviously was if he shielded Tynus, because if someone with his skills had been even suspected of criminal intent the he would never have been allowed anywhere near a chance at the bank fraud. What interaction we see/hear between Avon and Tynus doesn’t challenge that assumption. It’s also true that Avon may also have needed to do a little criminal activity/research to make contact with the visa seller we hear about in Countdown.

But when we come to SD and Keiller the situation is different. Keiller could have been part of the fraud that got Avon caught for, just like Tynus, but, in keeping with the general approach in SD, the dialogue suggests that Avon had a wider criminal experience and that Keiller was a part of that other criminal activity. This is the first we have heard of this but now you, as the viewer, have a choice, either you discount the dialogue around Keiller in SD, or you re-write your assessment of Avon 1, even though there is nothing previously disclosed to justify doing that. So either Avon 1 was more criminal than the evidence suggests or Avon 2 is in someway changed in terms of his personal history. Personally I reject the implications of Keiller as froth and nonsense or consider that the man (Avon 2) is no longer Avon 1. Others do the rewrite of Avon 1.
 
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