The Serial (4/5)
Peter Davison was my 2nd Doctor, for years I associated Doctor Who with Tom Baker, until one Christmas when my wife picked up the New Beginning's DVD box set. This set included the first Peter Davison serial Castrovalva, and opened my eyes to a whole new world of Doctor Who. Since that time I have picked up as many Davison serials as I could get my mitts on, and while not all of them are as good as Castrovalva, he does have many many excellent stories during his tenure. I happily report that not only is Kinda one of the best, but for fans of cult weirdness like me, it's also quite possibly the strangest.
The Serial begins with the TARDIS landing on a planet called Deva Loka. This planet at first glance appears to be a primitive jungle planet. Upon arrival Nyssa of Traken collapses from exhaustion, and the Doctor creates a device to protect her while the rest of the TARDIS crew (Tegan and Adric) explore the Deva Lokan landscape. After a while they discover an automated survival suit, which leads them back to a dome. This dome is the headquarters for a group of colonist, who are running a survey expedition of Deva Loka, and are slowly depleting it of it's resources. The colonist are also studying the local native population, The Kinda, who appear to outwardly primitive in their appearance, but each wear a DNA double helix around their necks hinting at some greater underlying knowledge.
While this is going on Tegan, passes out under a bunch of wind chimes that affects the sleepers subconscious. These wind chimes are supposed to be used by multiple sleepers at once, as their is great danger in one unconscious mind being exposed to their power at once, and this opens up her mind to a dark entity known as the Mara. She is slowly put through a series of metaphysical tortures until she agrees to become the Mara. These sequences are not only some of the finest of the Davison era, but quite possibly some of the finest visual pieces of the entire classic run of Doctor Who.
Much like George Romero's Day of the Dead this serial pits science against military, and the latter portion of the narrative begins to focus more on this, as the military component of the expedition with the assistance of a reluctant Adric begin to consider firebombing the jungle, which they begin to view as a threat to their colonization. The last 2 parts of the serial bring the serial to one of the most intense conclusions of the Davison era. If I were to fully synopsize this serial, I would take up pages, needless to say I have only scratched the surface, because a great part of these episodes is seeing exactly where it goes.
This is not your typical set of Doctor Who episodes, the metaphysical imagery, and the use of such a non-typical villain as the Mara really kicks this episode up a notch. This is counter balanced by the Military/Colonist threat, normally this would feel like too much is going on, but the script courtesy of Christopher Bailey really brings everything together in the end. This is an episode that will definitely warrant a few revisitations in the near future to fully pick up on all the little details of the plot, and the imagery. If you are only going to check out a few Fifth Doctor Serials, make sure this is one of them.
As usual the Doctor Who restoration team have weaved their magic on another Doctor Who serial restoring Kinda to vibrant glory. Kinda is presented in it's original 4:3 full frame aspect ratio, and looks fantastic, colors pop, and flesh tones for the most part are largely accurate. There is a tad bit of softness in some scenes, but that is common with these Doctor Who releases, and probably has more to do with the source material than the restoration.
The audio is similarly well restored, and is presented in the original English mono track. The dialogue, music, and effects are mixed well, and are completely audible throughout the serial. There are no noticeable audio defects that can be heard on this track. Optional English subtitles, and a subtitle trivia track are included.
As is the par for course for Doctor Who releases, we have a pretty nice slate of extras for this release. The set kicks off with a series of episode specific commentaries by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse, and Nerys Hughes (Professor Todd). This is followed up by a making of featurette called Dreamtime, and a short documentary on Doctor Who script writer Peter Grimwade, that is quite possibly my favorite extra on this set. The disc is wrapped up with Some Deleted scenes, a CGI effects comparison, an isolated music score, and a photo gallery. Also, episode 4 can be viewed with updated CGI effects.
One of the best of Peter Davison's era, and also one of the finest 80's Doctor Who. Kinda contains some fantastic imagery, and has a great story. The restoration work here is up to the usual quality standard of the Doctor Who Restoration Team, and the Extras are really interesting and offer some great insight into Kinda and it's writer. Highly Recommended