Saturday, January 23, 2010

5Y4 - Kinda 4

The only (repeat: only) thing that lets Kinda down is that which will befall much of 1980s Doctor Who - production values. As good a job as Peter Grimwade does in this story, many of his efforts are wasted by some seriously disappointing scenery, lighting and effects. The grey studio floor is glaringly apparent in numerous scenes set in the jungle, inadequately covered up by a smattering of leaves. The lighting for the jungle sets never once lead you to believe that there is a sun of some kind in the sky, and the giant papier mache snake that's meant to be the physical manifestation of the Mara is just embarrassing.

It's a real shame that there are so many who write off Kinda on the basis of the visuals, but they really are poor in some scenes. That such a deep and layered story could be paired with such an uninspiring corporeal realization borders on ironic. But the many, many strengths of Kinda eventually outweighs its one drawback.

Perhaps chief among these strengths is the relationship between The Doctor and Todd. Todd appears older than The Doctor, and, thus, is much more of a match than any of the three young regular companions. Peter Davison and Nerys Hughes have a remarkable chemistry together, and their relationship almost foreshadows a similar one between the Tenth Doctor and Donna in 26 years time. It's almost gut wrenching to watch the two part at the end of this story. The slight sorrow in Todd's voice as she offers her hand to The Doctor in farewell is as close to a romance involving the programme's main character since The Aztecs, and probably even more so. Todd joins a list of great pseudo-companions seen during the history of the series, and it is a real shame that we are robbed of more scenes between the two.

Kinda is one of the glittering gems in John Nathan-Turner's era as producer of Doctor Who. It expands and challenges the mind of the viewer perhaps in ways that the series has never done before or since.


Robert Konigsberg said...
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Robert Konigsberg said...

Interesting. I didn't think the snake was unconvincing. I recently watched "The Birds" and drew a parallel between the growing murder of crows in the schoolyard and the growing snake, to somewhat similar effect.

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