To this dismay of many, and to further whittle away any credibility (HA!) I have as a critic of entertainment of any stripe, in my formative years, I watched a lot of Doctor Who. I remember distinctly that it used to come every afternoon on PBS, right after Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and even to my young, unsophisticated five-year-old mind, managed the heretofore thought impossible task of making Mister Rogers world (in which his man-cave/babe lair is a gateway to another world full of puppets and a light rail system) seem so much less gonzo than what was going on in Doctor Who.
I won't get into that here--Doctor Who, not being an anti-hero, is not going to be covered this week. I bring him up, because just about the time I was getting my head around Doctor Who, another show came over from Britain, and it functioned as night-and-day from the bizarre, but ultimately light-hearted Doctor.
Enter Blake's 7. Blake's 7 shares a lot in common with Who--they were both BBC shows, and both frequently at times looked as if the budget had been assembled in much the same way as you and your friends throw in money to cover a dinner bill when you all go out to eat. But, just as Who transcended its cheap and cheerful milieu with its own quirky charm, Blake's 7 transcended it's low-budget by being . . .well, dark.
Our lead character is a former revolutionary who got his memory erased, then got captured again and railroaded to life in prison, his entire crew is comprised of fellow criminals who barely get along at he best of times, they're hopelessly outnumbered by Federation, and the Federation are actually pretty competent, all things being equal . Their one advantage--the Liberator--is barely under their control at times, and when it gets destroyed they have to settle for a far inferior ship.
. . .and oh yeah [SPOILER] Everyone dies at the end.
Despite the fact that like Doctor Who it was done on the cheap and there's something about British actors in "futuristic" attire that makes a "camp it up to ridiculous levels" switch flip to "on" in their brains, but for my impressionable enough mind, it was one of my first experiences with the concept of the anti-hero, and even more importantly, a facet of it wherein the characters were just as much "hero" as they were "anti." I was too young to appreciate the deeper conflicts in the show, such as the one between Blake's freedom fighters and the totalitarian Federation, or the give and take between Blake's idealism and Avon's cynicism and how both of them drifted in the others direction from time to time.
None of that much mattered to my impressionable Star Wars-picked brain--I just wanted to see spaceships and ray-guns and stuff like that. My appreciation of the deeper stuff came later, and formed the backbone of my appreciation for the anti-hero later in life, and as such, was a worthy addition to Anti-Hero Week and not something I pulled out of my ass at the last minute or anything.