Superb. Trippy TARDIS fun.,
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Mara Tales (Kinda/Snakedance) [DVD] (DVD)
I can see why Steven Moffat holds these two stories up to such high regard. Christopher Bailey writes both of these stories that follows Tegan's mind under the influence of the evil Mara. Both stories follow theological themes, with Snakedance throwing in the themes of cultural depreciation and consumerism into the mix.
The first story, Kinda is one of the most experimental episodes I've ever seen. Grimwade directs and thanks to both him and some quality set design, the world of Deva Loka feels very real for a studio set - this helps to immerse and let you enjoy the theological elements of the story. Tegan gets some quality development and is a joy to watch on screen... It's honestly true! Adric doesn't get in the way either as he's sidelined for an impressive guest cast with Richard Todd playing the leader 'Sanders, and Lee Cornes playing a brilliantly creepy 'Trickster'.
Meanwhile Snakedance follows conventional structure a bit more, to me this elevates Snakedance above Kinda by just a smidge. Again Tegan has her time to shine, being post-Earthshock Adric's left (HOORAY!) and Davison gets some quality characterisation. Snakedance has a really interesting feel since the Doctor is visiting a society that exists centuries after major strife. History has been reduced to trinkets flogged in markets, which feels bustling and full of life thanks to Fiona Cumming's direction and Peter Howell's wonderful music. Martin Clunes impresses in the guest cast.
The prevalence of Tegan on the front of the box is well placed. These two stories give her time and let Janet Fielding sink her acting chops into something other than moaning and complaining - the result is by a country mile Tegan's best two stories. Christopher Bailey is a spectacular writer and his characterisation of the 5th Doctor is a breath of fresh air. Amongst some very poor stories, Kinda and Snakedance are gems.
There's the usual drill of commentaries and documentaries (Snakedance's with Robert Shearman is superb & Christopher Bailey gives rare interviews) but the really joy comes from the episodes. These two stories are some of the cream of the Davison crop and alongside Caves of Anrozani make up a Holy Trinity of fantastic Davison stories and truly fantastic Doctor Who stories in general.
One of my favourite Classic Who boxsets and well worth a spot on your shelf.