Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Doctor Who: Kinda / Snakedance

Search far and wide through the back catalogue of classic Doctor Who and you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a double bill that’s as rewarding as “Kinda” and “Snakedance.” The former is not just one of the greatest Who stories of the 80s, but one of the best in the entire canon of the series. The latter is… well, it’s a damn fine sequel. Both tales were penned by a guy named Christopher Bailey, who not only never wrote any other entries for the series, but after working on Who, never wrote for television again! This seems quite a travesty in light of how well this material has aged. Both tales are from the Peter Davison era, and both revolve heavily around the Fifth Doctor’s companion, Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding, who really delivers in both installments).

“Kinda” begins with the TARDIS having landed on the lush planet Deva Loka. The crew doesn’t appear to be in much of a hurry to do anything but relax, and soon enough, during a leisurely stroll through the forest, they encounter a mysterious display of enchanting chimes. Tegan, seemingly hypnotized by their spell, falls asleep beneath them while the Doctor and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) wander off, deeper in the forest. (Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa is written out at the top of this story, and doesn’t reappear until the close.) Also on Deva Loka is an expedition from another planet – colonialists searching for a new home. Their team is quickly losing members, however, and only three remain: the militant Sanders (Richard Todd), his subordinate Hindle (Simon Rouse), and the scientist Todd (Nerys Hughes).

Standing in the way of any potential colonization are the inhabitants of Deva Loka, known as the Kinda, a telepathic tribe of mutes who may or may not be more dangerous than they appear. But the real danger lurks in the dark corners of the mind, where Tegan meets an entity known as the Mara in a bizarre, hallucinatory dream state, and it’s able to emerge into the waking world through her, and then later through one of the Kinda, giving a mute figure voice for the first time in his life. And with voice, comes power.

Read the rest of the DVD reviews for “Kinda” and “Snakedance” by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.