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The Friday Docback 'Kinda' Likes DOCTOR WHO (Story #118)!!


Merrick here...
...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 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.  
IN THE COMING WEEKS - Jumping Continuity With: 
Snakedance (Davison, Story #124) 
The Five Doctors  (Davison, Story #129) 
The City of Death (Baker, Story #105 - Docbacker Selected!!) 
Death to the Daleks (Pertwee, Story #72)
The Krotons (Troughton, Story # 47) 
-- titles definite but sequence may flux slightly due to the arrival of upcoming DVD releases --




Glen Oliver




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"The Impossible Astronaut"

"Day of the Moon"

"The Curse of the Black Spot"

"The Doctor's Wife"

"The Rebel Flesh"

"The Almost People"

"A Good Man Goes To War"

"Let's Kill Hitler"

"Night Terrors"


"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)  





"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)

"The Daleks" (Story #2)

"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)

"Marco Polo" (Story #4)

"The Keys of Marinus(Story #5)

"The Aztecs" (Story #6)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release) 

"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9) 

"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)

"The Rescue" (Story #11) 

"The Romans"  (Story #12) 

"The Web Planet" (Story #13) / SHERLOCK - "A Scandal in Belgravia" (Story #4)

"The Crusade" (Story #14) 

"The Space Museum" (Story #15) 

"The Chase" (Story #16) 

"The Time Meddler" (Story #17) 

"Galaxy 4" (Story #18) 

Mission to the Unkonwn (Story #19) 

"The Myth Makers" (Story #20) 

"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)

"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37) 

"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48) 

"The Colony in Space" (Story #58) 

"The Daemons" (Story #59) 

"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition

"The Three Doctors" (Story #65) 

"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66) 

"Invasion of the Dinosaurs" (Story #71) and SHERLOCK: "The Reichenbach Fall" (Story #6) 

"The Android Invasion" (Story #83) and SHERLOCK: "The Hounds of Baskerville" (Story #5) 

"The Face of Evil" (Story #89) 

"The Robots of Death" (Story #90) 

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)

"The Sun Makers(Story #95)

"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107) 

"The Awakening" (Story #131)

"Frontios(Story #132)

"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134) 

"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136) 

"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)

"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits

"Dragonfire" (Story #147) 

"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149) 

"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann) 


Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)

DOCTOR WHO Title Sequences & DW At Comic-Con 2011

"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)

Why Eccleston Left, Here Comes Caroline Skinner, And Season/Series Six Part 1 on Blu-Ray And DVD

New Trailer For Season/Series Six Part 2





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