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Doctor Who: Snakedance (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Snakedance originally aired in 1983.

I know exactly what you want.

Do you?

Yes, you’ve come to pester me with some extravagant theory you’ve dreamed up concerning the Mara, and should I, the Director, fail to take sufficient notice of your colourful improbabilities, it will be the end of civilisation as we know it at least. How am I doing so far, hmm?

– Ambril and the Doctor

I think it’s quite a compliment to the concept of the Mara, introduced the previous season in Kinda, that the relatively new alien menace was chosen to take part in the celebration of classic villains that was Peter Davison’s second season. It was only a year old at the time, and hadn’t exactly been stunningly realised, so it seems like a massive vote of confidence in the monster to see it measured against foes like Omega in Arc of Infinity and the Master in The King’s Demons. Common knowledge will tell you that Snakedance is a perfectly entertaining serial, but can’t really measure up to one of the better stories of Davison’s first season. I’m not so convinced, and think that the two stories actually complement one another perfectly.

Don't let this get out of hand...

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