Kinda: Doctor Who: Season 19
On the lush jungle planet of Deva Loka live the Kinds a tribe of peaceful but telepathic primitives. The Tardis lands near an Earth colonisation dome where the survey team have been disappearing one by one. The last three left are the bullying Sanders, Dr. Todd and security chief Hindle who's having a breakdown.
Tegan falls asleep near the Kinda wind chimes and faces the real horror of Deva Loka in her dreams. A being called the Mara who seeks to cross to the real world and attempts to persuade Tegan to let it possess her. With Sanders heading off to explore the unbalanced Hindle takes charge of the dome and plans to incinerate the jungle surrounding it with the help of his two Kinda prisoners with whom he can now telepathically communicate.
The Doctor and Todd manage to escape the dome and meet the wise Woman Pana who uses visions to show them what will happen to Deva Loka. ow under the spell of the Mara, Tegan possess a Kinda named Aris who appears to now to fulfill the Kinda's prophecy of a Kinda with voice now leading them.
As Adric attempts to humour the increasingly deranged Hindle and delays him from implementing his plan, it's up to the Doctor and Todd to prevent the possessed Aris from leading the Kinda in a revolution to destroy the dome and the survey team.
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Kinda SERIAL DETAILS:
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Kinda CAST & CREW
Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor)
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric)
Sarah Sutton (Nyssa)
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka)
Richard Todd — Sanders
Nerys Hughes — Todd
Simon Rouse — Hindle
Mary Morris — Panna
Sarah Prince — Karuna
Adrian Mills — Aris
Lee Cornes — Trickster
Jeff Stewart — Dukkha
Anna Wing — Anatta
Roger Milner — Annica
Production Staff for Serial 5Y:
Writer - Christopher Bailey
Director - Peter Grimwade
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
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A thought provoking tale this one set on...
ANOTHER JUNGLE PLANET!!!
But the Kinda version is done better than the Meglos or Eden versions, even though in some spots it looks as if the studio floor is exposed. By now Davison is in full swing as the 5th Dr. Long gone now is the capable, unflappable man of words replaced by someone whose mind is always three steps ahead of everyone else's. He always seems to be totally out of his depth wherever he lands but gets stuck in with his English pluck and affable manners. The Tardis crew is diminished by one to give the other two companions plenty to do. Unfortunately it's Nyssa who goes off on a bout of sleeping sickness and is not shown outside the opening and closing scenes. Plus the sonic screwdriver is put on ice too as it's instrumental in curing her condition.
Thus the 5th Dr, Tegan and Adric set forth onto Deva Loka and find some wind chimes (not those one's Grob) which put Tegan to sleep leaving us with the just 2 Tardis members left! Though Janet Fielding gets to stretch her acting muscles a bit in a subplot in which she has mind games played on her by the Mara in a dream dimension. It offers up a very weird dream sequence and adds to the main plot as she is the pathway the Mara uses to find itself into the real world. Really like the possessed Tegan, she does it well, and it's a pity we don't see more of her possessed before the Mara leaves her and goes to inhabit the Kinda called Aris instead, leaving her now completely out of the action and asleep until the end.
The main part of the action is left to the double team of the Dr. and Adric who play off each other nicely and are the only ones to get involved with the crew of the dome. All excellently played from the intellectual, level headed Dr. Todd who enjoys winding up Davison's Dr. every chance she gets, Sanders who's done well as first the angry expedition leader, then kindly and child like after he's looked into the box of Jhana. Then there's Hindle. This guy is scary on all counts as he's very convincing as being someone who's bullied into a nervous breakdown and has become completely insane after telepathic contact with the Kinda. As to the Kinda- they are a nice, well thought out idea but are basically a bunch of extra's wandering round in Hawaiian gear laying flowers on everyone but Aris is well acted when possessed by the Mara as is the old wise woman and her piece of ass padawan learner, Karuna.
The philosophical aspects that abound in Kinda are almost hard to grasp, bet the cast were struggling with what the hell writer Chris Bailey was on about but they all give convincing performances so it doesn't matter. Plus the Dr. ends up getting rid of the Mara but fails to stop Hindle that's left for Todd to do. Amazingly nearly everyone survives at the end. Ok let's forget the infamous rubber snake and go to some other WTF moments one being why Mara addled Aris thought they could destroy the dome by getting the Kinda to build him a replica of the TSS machine out of twigs and then having them dance round the actual TSS machine. How would this destroy anything?
Also what the hell was the ending of part 3 all about? Had the writer / slash director been doing acid to come up with that 'vision' bit? And where did the Kinda all buy their clock radio's from for that sequence? Ok so it was symbolic, sure they meant for the Mara to break out of the body of the jester and envelop the people that would've been scary and without CGI impossible to realise (like the giant rubber snake) . They tried though, that's what counts, like the attempt at originality for some reason so will award it a 8.8/10
I really love Kinda. I'm no Aunty Barry Letts or Christopher Bailey so I know sod all about Buddhism but I really really like the concepts and the imagery that run through this story. Now Tim has already gone into depths of the Buddhism side of the story so I'll take the episodes from another angle; Little boxes.
Seriously, its a pretty big thread running through the story. There's the box of Jhana which sends people supposedly off the twist until we discover its really there to get people more in touch with their inner self. There is (paradoxedly) the survey team's dome which boxes its inhabitants in against the elements. There's Sanders' survival machinery box thing that he uses to explore the jungle. There is the box cell that the Doctor, Todd and Sanders are held captive in. And finally there is the city of boxes that Hindle makes. So whereas the story is about the Buddhism principles and finding enlightenment is is also a very strong story for the way people box themselves in against the elements.
Thanks to the script - not to mention Peter Grimwade's superb direction - you really get the impression that SOMETHING is out there in the jungle waiting to pick everyone off one by one. And though it is yet to manifest itself as a giant rubber snake it does manifest itself in other ways. The first one being Tegan's dream where we see her subconscious trying to grapple with the concepts of Adric and Nyssa (the two characters playing chess) or the Tardis (the abstract box next to them and even her idea of who the Doctor is is played out with the character of Dukkha. Later the threat becomes the switching off of the power to the survival dome when the lights go out and the Mara enters the prison cell - a very chilling sequence.
Speaking of chilling scenes, the ending of episode two with the Doctor and co in the cell opening the box of Jhana and Todd screaming is certainly of the best episode endings the series has come up with - tonnes of tension in that scene alone. Not too far behind is the cliffhanger to episode three with the wheel-turn sequence and then Panna's death. Although that final shot of Davison looking concerned is exactly the same as that shot of Davison looking concerned at the end of episode one.
Speaking of Davison, he really has made the part his own here. I disagree that he was "bland" or "boring" in the part - that comes with the next actor (and I use that term loosely) to play the part. Davison captures his vulnerable, enthusiastic, compassionate Doctor right from the get-go and he's easily a match for anyone else who previously held the title role. He even gets to have a pseudo-platonic-kind-of-relationship with a female (Todd) in this story too. All the acting is on a top level here from Davison, Janet Fielding and the guest actors such as Richard Todd, Nerys Hughes, Simon Rouse and Mary Morris. Once again its Matthew Watercloset letting the side down. Apparently the little creep was giving acting tips to Richard Todd!!!
If the script and the performances were first rate, then it falls to certain production elements that let the story down. Yes; that snake is bloody woeful and sadly the guys at the Restoration Team won't be able to fix it for the DVD release since it was "live" in the studio and not a special effect so we're stuck with it. But also the lighting lets the side down too cos we never really escape the feel that whether we are inside the survival dome or outside in the jungle we are still in the studio under the arc lights. Pity.
Still, the writing and the acting and the amazing concepts that bring this one to near perfection; 9/10 from me!
So, planets can be settled at the conclusion of the 6th seasons from now… spooky that at the end of the 6th season from Kinda, Dr Who was just about to be cancelled!
If they'd maintained the same standard of Kinda however, we would have lasted a lot longer than only another 6. There are a lot of things that make Kinda a classic. On the surface you've got a jungle planet being colonised by earthlings - and there's rumblings in the earthling's camp being caused by some of the problems they're having with the locals… and hang on… yep… they've just locked up the Doctor… we've seen all that before… but somehow it's all made to work brilliantly.
It could be the Buddhist undertones - discovering your inner peace (by looking into the box) helps to develop free thinking… or something. The whole mirror thing with the Mara (and the Kinda) is another excellent idea, both in concept and realization. It could be the even performances from everyone in the cast (yes, even Adric is OK) - and the excellent characterizations of the 3 earthlings. We all know how good Todd was (and her chemistry with Davison), but Sanders and Hindle are just as good. Hindle in particular shows that you don't need to be annoying to be over the top as he descends into madness. I love his line "YOU CAN'T MEND PEOPLE"! And the way Sanders changes after looking into the box makes for a really interesting and watchable journey too. Panna and Aris are also very good in their support roles.
But what really makes it for me is the Mara. Ok, the realisation of it at the end isn't great (I wonder if they'll CGI it when they finally release it), but the concept of it attacking you in your dreams is awesome… and bloody scary! The scenes inside Tegan's head are brilliant - from the editing (fade into her eyeball), to the chess players, to the performance of the Mara itself and the interaction between the two Tegans, this is fantastic Who! Equally as "surreal" are the scenes when the Doctor and Todd look into the box and step through the void… again, that was brilliant stuff.
The final thing that makes this work is Davison. I think this was the 4th one he'd made, and he'd really nailed his Doctor by this stage. He's concerned, caring, nurturing, frantic yet patient and making decisions on the run… everything that makes his Doctor so great. So while points could be deducted for the bad snakes, and not shooting the jungle scenes on film (I thought they'd learnt that lesson in Creature from the pit!) - the performances and the spookiness more than makes up for it.
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