...with a very quick look at Kinda (pronounced Kin-duh), a Peter Davison-era DOCTOR WHO adventure originally transmitted February1982. While this story technically and officially features three companions, one of them (Nyssa) is unceremoniously moved off the playing field for much of this tale - an uncommon occurrence in vintage WHO.
“I never think twice about anything. Wastes too much time.” - Sanders (Richard Todd), Kinda, Part 1
The Doctor and companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Tegan (Janet Fielding), and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) arrive on S14 (aka Deva Loka), a jungle world populated by deceptively simple folk called the Kinda.
Seems oddness is afoot on Deva Loka. An exploratory team, in actuality an advance expedition sent to pave the way for their people’s colonization of this world, is inexplicably diminishing in numbers and slowly unravelling from within. Crises which quickly affect both our heroic travelers, and the enigmatic Kinda.
I find myself at an uncharacteristic loss for words regarding Kinda, an impasse which flummoxed me considerably until I reviewed this DVD’s extras - and learned that the people who made it weren’t entirely clear on what the hell was happening in Kinda, either. Says Script Editor Anthony Root of Christopher Bailey’s story, “I was absolutely enchanted with the premise of his story, although I’m not sure I ever fully understood it.” To be fair, scripter Bailey swears Kinda makes sense to him - and more power to him if this is indeed the case. I think it probably does make sense, but only to more enlightened souls than mine.
With this substantial caveat in mind, it should be noted that...beneath an often bewildering metaphysical/existential subtext fueled by no small portion of Buddhism...Kinda is fast, quick, provocative, and unique. This particular flavor of tale isn’t found often on DOCTOR WHO, or television in general - and The Powers That Be here deserve hefty accolades for not quashing this peculiar undertaking along the way.
Any episode with two Tegans...
In many regards, watching Kinda evokes an argument/discussion very similar to the upheaval currently surrounding PROMETHEUS (and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY earlier, I suppose). In essence: how much sense must a story make in order for it to remain entertaining and germane? To what extent should an audience be spoon fed information, and at what point is it permissible to allow their imaginations to take over?
In the case of Kinda, enough information is conveyed for a semblance of coherence to emerge - provided one is paying close enough attention, and/or is drunk enough. Kinda doesn’t always wear its intentions or its essence clearly on its sleeve, but its heart, soul, and fundamental skeleton are indeed discernible if one squints carefully. In this regard, Kinda is like a connect-the-dots puzzle...one can sense its overall form, even though its fragments remain frustratingly, albeit tantalizingly, unconnected.
Will everyone feel this way about Kinda? Almost certainly not. While the episode is highly regarded in many WHOvain circles, I can easily understand why it night be off-putting to more casual observers. There are times when Kinda feels like a SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTERS episode which has mainlined LSD.
(l - a trippy ceremonial mask from Kinda, r - Sigmund)
Not for everyone.
Crisp and smartly propulsive direction by Peter Grimwade ensures that Kinda never bogs down in too sticky a quagmire; if you don’t “get” certain elements of this story, wait a few moments and it’ll obligingly jump back into more graspable territory. Malcolm Thornton’s production design also goes a long way here - note tiny details on the walls of the explorer’s dome/base thingie (there are small numbers on panels throughout the explorer’s facility - in the DVD’s extras it’s revealed that these numbers actually signify components within a larger module. I.e. the installation was brought to Deva Loka in pieces, and those numbers are part of its assembly instructions - truly awesome detail). A few key performances mange to both shine and resonate, particularly Mary Morris as wizened and batty medicine woman Panna (who, while apparently sightless, can see more than many people with vision can...
....and Simon Rouse’s Hindle, a well-intentioned officer who jumps way off the rails in a manner which manages to be humorous, touching, and a tad unnerving all at once. Not an easy balance to attain, or maintain.
Full meltdown Hindle (Simon Rouse - r) attempts to intimidate a cool and dispassionate Adric (Matthew Waterhouse - l)
Those experiencing 1982‘s Kinda for the first time may struggle to not draw comparisons to subsequent genre fare like FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST (1992) or AVATAR (2009) - all feature “primitive people” in unspoiled jungle environs who are more knowledgable and enlightened than they first appear, finding their lives and worlds turned upside down by the incursion of outsiders who have come to their realm to exploit.
A time tested conceit in both Science Fiction and human history to be sure - one which resonates loudly and clearly here is well. For all its sometimes challenging aloofness, Kinda succeeds despite itself - creating a world and advancing metaphysical notions which triumph and endure regardless of its first glance obscurity. So much so that it spawned sequels: an audio called The Cradle of the Snake, and a follow-up episode called Snakedance...which we’ll discuss here in the Dockbacks next week. My guess is it will be impossible not to evoke Kinda when we do so. I’m looking forward to it...
An armed AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform) suit from James Cameron's AVATAR (2009), used to tromp around the primitive jungles of Pandora.
An armed TSS (Total Survival Suit) from Kinda (1982) used to maneuver around the primitive jungles of Deva Loka
Kinda is available on DVD HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K.
1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)...
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And, above all...
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In short, it's easy. Be excellent to each other. Now party on...
Yes, it does make sense. On many levels it makes sense. It makes sense on the mythic level of things. It makes less sense for Buddhists than people imagine (Tibetans who saw it were like, who wrote that misunderstanding of Buddhist thought?). This is because the original Buddhist story was taken apart and added to the Christian Eden story through the changes put into the story after the original was written.
It's a Buddhist-Christian hybrid, using myths form both, adapting and changing them to be sure. Many things which do not seem to make sense make sense if one follows Platonic Christianity through a Yogacara lens. The whole creation of evil out of the mind is explained better in Snakedance (which, sadly, is much inferior to Kinda, though it has its moments).
So you need to put the Wheel of Samsara and put it in Eden, and see how evil is reproduced and defeated time and time again. You need to see the examination of insanity (I love that part) in this story -- and also the way the Wise can be in err (the Doctor being an idiot, indeed; but he is, if you think about its other meanings).
The only weakness to the story is the budget. The CGI snake in the DVD helps that aspect.. but still... this to me is a 5/5 story.
I'd agree with Hornorsilk's assessment overall on this. It's up there with Caves of Androzani for 5th Doctor stories, with the latter probably getting slightly more of a nod because most people find the story more accessible. There's stunning concepts that they start playing around with here, though. The breaking down of Tegan's identity in the dreamscape was marvelous.
Unlike some Who stories, which could be transplanted into just about any of the Doctor's eras with a different Doctor and companion, this would be completely different dropped into many different eras. It could possibly work fundamentally the same with Pertwee (though his arrogance would be an impediment), or with Tom Baker (if you did it in his first season, with Sarah getting possessed by the Mara and Harry getting Adric's scenes). But, try imagining this with Colin Baker as the Doctor and Mel being possessed by the Mara. Or as an adventure for the 7th Doctor - Ace wouldn't get possessed by the Mara, she'd be running around blowing up things with Nitro 9.
Actually, come to think of it, if it were to be dropped into any other era, it might fit best with Hartnell, with the original crew.
I just went to look at what the daily promotion was for the Nook, and this is the book that they have discounted:
River's Song by Melody Carlson
So, we have a book called River's Song written by someone named Melody? As the Doctor might say, I think there are shenanigans going on.
through the vortex. We mapped it on to the TV show we've made about the Doctors adventures, but we didn't understand it.
We knew Nyssa wasn't there. But didn't know why. So that was shoe-horned into the plot.
We knew various things happened, but didn't know why.
It was all very confusing. But it had an air of authenticity about it, which I (as a child) found utterly enthralling.
In a way, it reminded me of the series Sapphire and Steel - It seemed utterly real, but totally confusing. You could sense that it made sense to someone else, somewhere, though.
Yes, there are some familiar sci-fi tropes used in both, however, for Kinda, it is a launching board for something quite different. Something quite new. Something very rare.
If I were to use movies to describe Kinda, they would include: Avatar (for obvious reasons), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dune, Star Trek III, and Scanners.
What would others use?
It's also as weird as I use to think all of Dr Who was until I actually started watching them and discovered most of them a pretty straightforward scifi adventure stories.
I didn't find KINDA hard to follow or understand, it is definitely WEIRD, but I wouldn't describe it as confusing.
I agree, it would work well with Hartnell. I often thought that his Doctor was more 'pure' if you like, and would have been more able to go toe-to-toe with the philosophy of Panna. Though he might have found it harder to play the fool.
Troughton on the other hand, could play the fool with ease and charm.
Pertwee, I agree, would have been too arrogant to play the fool. But I think he would have navigated the storyline very differently. Jo as Tegan would work. Liz would not.
I think if we had seen Colin's Doctor, the Mara would have chosen a different host. And that could have been a story. Deconstruct the Doctor through a dreamscape, and bring the Valeyard back into the mix.
And as for Sylvester, Doctor number seven, the Ka Faraq Gatri, Times Champion, Opponent of Fenric... I think the Mara might have decided it was a good day to swallow her tail.
The dvd has the option to watch the final snake sequence with 'special edition' new CGI snake instead of the inflatable one from the broadcast
The originally one is really fake looking but sort of awesome just in terms of size and ridiculousness.
The new CGI one is... well it's actually damn impressive. In a world full of Harry Potter films and other big budget movies with CGI snakes, I actually think this is the best one I've seen, all the more impressive because:
1) They had to go into old analog footage and substitute it in without and pre-work done for them on set to make that easier, yet it's done seamlessly
2) The fact that anyone would go to this much trouble for an optional special feature on a dvd for a 25 year old TV episode that very few people will ever watch, and even fewer will bother to enable the 'special edition' option.
First time I watched it (when it first came to the US), I was flummoxed. But a second watching went much better, and I really appreciated the depth of this story.
We honestly didn't get stuff like this all that often in Who, which is too bad.
Pity about the snake. Haven't seen the CGI one yet; a lot of the updated effects don't look very good to me (e.g. Invasion of Time) and will quickly appear dated. Showed my kids both versions of Five Doctors: the original went over fine, but the CGI in the special edition had them both laughing.
You hafta be careful about this stuff.
Having said that, the original snake looked awful, so I'm willing to give the new one a try.
I remember liking these stories, but could not tell you why. Frankly, the giant inflatable snake at the end scared the hell out of me. Probably because it is obscene in its proportion.
Davison has always been my favorite Doctor. No doubt this is because he was the first where I got to see the full run, after the most confusing introduction to Doctor Who ever (as follows).
Saw the final act of Baker in "The Deadly Assassin" and was like "Oh, this is Doctor Who. OK"
Tuned back in next week. It was PBS pledge drive week. They were showing "The 5 Doctors" which I watched. It features Baker only briefly. At this point, I thought that "The Doctor" was like a title for a time-travelling problem solver, like "Special Agent".
Next ep they showed was back to Baker "The Creature from the Pit".
Watched the rest of Baker run, though I missed Logopolis, so the following week, when I tuned in and it was Peter Davison... my mind was blown. Fortunately, Castrovalva replays the last couple mins of Logopolis, so I learned about Regeneration at the same time some of the Doctor's companions. BOOM! Head exploded.
Anyway, I think Peter Davison was just great. Even the doggo episodes like "Time Flight". And though some were dodgy... the endings of EARTHSHOCK and Resurrection of the Daleks ?! WOW! I didn't even like Adric, but was suckerpunched by his fate. And Tegan leaving in tears after the Daleks... broke my heart.
I remember liking "The Visitation" which I see is currently streaming on Netflix. Have to revisit(ation) it. Maybe you should too.
Oh, and I got to meet Sarah Sutton at a local Who-con some 25 years ago. Hot and Lovely. Eyes you could drown in.
And Kinda confused the hell out of me when I was a kid, but I loved it.
The only Doctor Who story that I found more difficult to follow was the novel, Turlough and The Earthlink Dilemma, from a Companions of Doctor Who novel series.
Whether it was by accident or design, I happily interpreted the circle of mirrors used to detect the time beetle on Donna's back in Turn Left as a parallel to the circle of mirrors used in Kinda.
Conversely, when I watched the DWM discussed last week, the spectral-snake-form of the Master also reminded me of the Maru, but in that case, the parallels didn't seem to make any sense to me.
Kinda was definitely one of those creepy get-under-your-skin stories and I liked the way struggling to understand pieces of the story let the imagination run wild about what the history of the planet and the kinda might have been. The ominous supernatural atmosphere has been successfully reproduced in modern episodes like The Impossible Planet or Midnight.
Doctor Who's Adric suffered from the same problems Star Trek TNG would later run into with Wesley Crusher.
Now that I'm older and looking back, I feel a little more impatient towards he sort of whining tone he has, but it probably says something unflattering about me that at the time I related to him very well.
Just started watching this story (I've been going through all the Romana II stories in order)
I had lowered my expectations quite a bit for this one because it was priced a lot cheaper than most other Tom Baker stories on amazon, and the general sense I got was that this one was not a favorite of most fans
So far I think it's amazing, visually and atmospherically it's one of the best classic Who's I've seen, surreal, interesting and well acted.
K-9's death was sad though.
I've always found it to be "average." It's not bad, it has some interesting elements to it, but in the end it feels a bit off. Nonetheless, it really helps prepare for what happens to the Doctor during RTD's era..
when playing with the Wind Chimes, and using his hat as a tool.
Then when they get to the base, and he disarms the guy and asks for breakfast, all without the benefit of the Deus Ex Machina of Psychic Paper...
Ah, who needs that rubbish, when a bit of charm, a non-sequiter and a grin can have you breaking bread with them in 10 minutes flat.
The Doctor needs psychic paper now, since even if it took the Doctor 10 minutes flat, he only has 45 minutes of story most of the time. I'm sure, though, that there are plenty of times even now where he wouldn't need to bother with the psychic paper. (Of course, he'd probably just end up trotting out some UNIT passcode to use in some of those cases.)
I'm fine with the conceit of the psychic paper. Remember all those older stories where the Doctor would show up and get captured? Locked up? It can be useful dramatically on occasion, but most of the time it ended up being a bit tiresome.
Heck, imagine Frontier in Space with psychic paper! :)
So, one of the things I did yesterday for Father's Day was watch some classic Who with my son. He's a huge fan of the new series, but hasn't seen too many classic ones.
The first one I showed him (months ago) was City of Death. (I still view that one as one of the best ones to use as an introduction. The humor helps get the viewer involved.) He liked it. Then I tried Caves of Androzani. He wasn't a fan (!) of that one.
A month later we did Deadly Assassin, and he really, really liked that. After that, we did The Keeper of Traken. He liked that a lot -- and he began suspecting it was the Master fairly early on.
So yesterday, he mentioned again how much he liked Traken, so I got him to sit through Logopolis and Castrovalva, both of which he really enjoyed.
So now I want to go back and show him some other stuff. Looking for recommendations. It's hard for us to find a couple of hours to set aside, so I'm thinking of doing the one-episode-per-night trick. I'd like to stick to Pertwee-Baker-Davison for a while, before we branch out, though I'm toying with the idea of Remembrance of the Daleks too.
What do you all think? I MUST expose him (as it were) to Delgado...what's everyone's favorite Delgado Master story?
I'd go with his first appearance - Terror of the Autons. It's up to you if you want to try Pertwee's first story (Spearhead from Space) to let him see Pertwee's and the Autons' first appearance before then.
You could follow that with The Daemons, followed by the Sea Devils.
Now, it doesn't have Delgado in it, but you might want to try The Three Doctors. If your son enjoys that, then do the Five Doctors (where he'll get to see the Ainley Master again). And, you could use these as a gauge to determine if you might want to put some other Troughton stories into the mix.
Doesn't psychic paper seem like just the thing that the Master would carry around to provide documentation for his disguises? If we get a new Master I hope they take that into consideration.
For some reason I could see a Steven Fry Master showing up sometime, maybe with a changed attitude since getting rid of the drums in his head (if they're actually gone). It could be fun. I suspect, though, that they'll go for younger if they recast. Andrew Scott, perhaps?
Good Delgado suggestions. Terror is pretty awesome, except for the ridiculous Time Lord and the Chair of Death. :)
I've avoided the multidocs so far because, storywise, they're weak. But as this experiment continues, I intend to show him one.
As to the Master going forward...I would definitely like to see a shift in his character. Stephen Fry would make an outstanding Master, but I suspect you're right: they'll cast younger, because they like to have the Master be something of a reflection of his Doctor. I'm also hoping we'll get Simm back for a regeneration or something, but you never know, I suppose.
Could be interesting, but honestly I never, er, warmed to them. They were decent in Curse of Peladon, but I thought Monsters of Peladon was a weaker outing, and what's left of their Troughton appearances didn't excite me, either.
Hopefully a modernization will help, especially if it makes their dialog easier to understand.
It just occurred to me. There might be a clue to the identity or alter-ego of the Professor in Hounds of Baskerville. You know, not Scott, the guy at the end. He could be one of the researchers appearing in the H.O.U.N.D. picture ... need to go rewatch this evening ...
More of an anti-hero type? Someone who is no longer the evil for evils sake type of character, but someone trying to find a new identity for himself? Not just trying to be a reformed goodie (the universe already has the Doctor) but trying to find his new place in a universe he no longer wants to conquer?
Personally, that's what I'd want to see. His sacrifice saving the Doctors life was either the great final appearance of the shows Moriarty type character, or else it was the first bit of character growth that that character has had in more than 30 years.
Even *comics*, with their infinite resets and no-one-ever-dies philosophy, managed to shoe-horn in some character growth from time to time. Magneto reformed for quite a while, didn't he? Something like 7 years, I think.
Surely Doctor Who can have more character growth than Marvel Comics?
James Moriarty (not the Andrew Scott one) might not be in the H.O.U.N.D. picture, but it's possible. If they go with the idea of there being 3 Moriarty brothers, each named James, then they'll probably keep the one brother being a Colonel Moriarty. He might have had dealings with H.O.U.N.D.
It seems like (Andrew Scott) Moriarty's dealings with HOUND though might only be from being on the receiving end of that type of treatment. There is the question of whether that was a normal interrogation at the end of Hounds of Baskerville with the explanation Mycroft gave in The Final Problem being the truth, whether Mycroft and the other person were using H.O.U.N.D. techniques on Moriarty, or if Moriarty was originally created by Mycroft to keep Sherlock occupied and it got out of hand.
I was thinking of a reformed Master myself, especially if they got Steven Fry to play him.
I wouldn't see him going full goody-goody, but I could see him trying some things. It might not be like the Master of old, but might be something along the lines of The Meddling Monk. He might test what the limits are on changing timelines, and how big a change you can make in areas that aren't fixed points that could have ramifications for fixed points later in time (the plan that the Time Meddler had in his debut story sounds like a kid's science project, if the kid had time travel and access to nuclear bazookas and the like).
I suspect though that if the Master makes it back, and the rest of the Time Lords don't, they'll probably have him decide to try to fill the vacancy created by the lack of Time Lords by setting himself up as the Lord of Time or something like that. Or, he's back and needs the Doctor's help stopping Rassilon or something like that. I'd be amused, though, if we find out that the Master's back (possibly under a different name) and he's UNIT's new Scientific Advisor.
Always been one of my favourites, so glad it won the vote!
Great write up from Merrick on this story. As usual, a lot of thought has gone into this article and it was a pleasure to read.
Keep up the good work Glen!
I mean, single handedly trying to enforce the laws of time on the rest of the universe when necessary, and perhaps treating the Doctor like a renegade.
You know the old saying that ex-poachers made the best game keepers? Sort of like that.
But I think myself that I'd prefer to see him act more low-key.
Imagine the Doctor and companion turn up on some planet, investigating some weirdness and come across the Master - immediate suspicion, blaming him for what's going on. And it turns out the Master is trying to fix the weirdness as well. He's just doing it.. in his own particular way. With a distinct lack of finesse.
In other words, there could still be conflict between them, but they don't have to be adversaries.
I guess I just keep going back to - Can we please see some character growth?
this morning I would have sworn there was a post after MOV's (I think it was v'shael responding to my response about the Master), but now it's not showing. I was refreshing and I'd have a crapshoot getting either this screen with MOV's post last, or an Internal Error message. I cry Shenanigans!
If this is the first post to show up after v'shael's post, then it ate the first post I put up. This was supposed to be the second - it pretended to take it then Internal Server Error'd me
Original second post:
t wouldn't believe I was hitting the Post Your Talkback button for several clicks. Finally it took it...and had v'shael's post show up again. There's gremlins in the works!
Addendum: I hit the post your talkback button on this, it acted like it took it but then went back to acting like it didn't.
Addendum to addendum: Tried clicking a couple more times, the same *yes, I'm doing it....PSYCH! No, I'm not doing it*. So, I don't know if this will show up multiple times.
I still don't know if my posts are going to show up in a long line or if at all. We'll see.
On the Doctor Who front, Matt Smith says he'd like to keep playing the Doctor. So, it doesn't sound like the Fields of Trenzalore will necessarily be the end for him (yaay!).
And as for Matt's insistence that he loves the role and isn't going anywhere, well he's not likely to say anything else, is he?
I'm not saying he's lying or anything, just that we can't take anything from what he says to the media. He still has contracts to negotiate and he could get offers that make him want to leave and explore the movies or whatever.
Whatever happens, we'll probably find out long long before he leaves, just as we did with Tennant and Ecclestone. So I doubt we'll be seeing a regeneration to Doctor Twelve for the 50th anniversary.
I liked her as a companion, and I think she helped pave the way for future companions like Leela and Romana, more independent women who could interact with the Doctor more as an equal than as a father (or grandfather) figure. She did a wonderful job on her year on the show, and I did enjoy the spinoff work she did too - the PROBE videos and her work with Big Finish. She will be missed.