All Hail Terry Nation, Yesterday's SciFi Creator Of The Future

Illustration for article titled All Hail Terry Nation, Yesterday's SciFi Creator Of The Future

You may not know it right now, but we're about to enter the Second Age of Terry Nation. Last week's announcement that Nation's classic series Blake's 7 is going to be remade in a Battlestar Galactica-esque fashion following on from last year's announcement that Nation's other series, Survivors, is also about to be revised and brought back to television. It's clear that the British writer - who also created Doctor Who's Daleks - has come back into vogue with British television producers. Find out more about the man behind 2009's cult revivals under the jump.


Nation's contribution to television reads like some kind of weird cautionary tale for would-be creators. Following on from early success as a comedy writer, Nation accidentally hit the big time by creating the Daleks for the second ever Doctor Who storyline - something that led to years of spin-off material for the writer, including an aborted attempt to launch a Dalek-only TV show in the US. Not content to be seen as a one-trick-pony, however, he also wrote for other shows like The Avengers, The Champions and The Saint, before creating a whole new series for the BBC in 1975 called Survivors.

Survivors was a show way ahead of its time - Influenced by more sober, serious SF than Who, the series dealt with what little was left of society following a viral outbreak that had spread across the planet and decimated humanity. Although the show ran three years, Nation left after the first season, moving on to create the much more upbeat space opera, Blake's 7.

From the creation of two successful British TV shows in a row, there was only one place to go next - but America proved too great a challenge for Nation and his success was limited to acting as producer of MacGuyver... which, as we all know, is no success at all.

Now, more than a decade after his death, Nation's creations all seem to be back in full force; the Daleks show up with depressing regularity in the new Doctor Who series, and both the BBC and Sky One have decided that audiences are ready for his particularly gritty take on SF post-Battlestar Galactica and Y: The Last Man. Maybe it's that audiences and program-makers have caught up with his artistic vision, or maybe it's just that program-makers want to capitalize on twin hungers for nostalgia and SF, but one thing's for sure - Next year, expect to experience Nation-building like you've never seen before.



Ooo, hopeless dystopian futur-ific!

I loved Blake's 7, but it holds up even less well than Classic Who — the sets and costumes are horrifically dated.

Casting Avon is key, British TV people — don't fuck it up!