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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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Doctor Who: Kinda (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.

Kinda originally aired in 1982.

My dear, you can’t possibly exist, so please go away.

– a figment of Tegan’s imagination… or is it?

Every once in a while, there’s a story that undergoes something of a critical reappraisal among Doctor Who fans, as particular fans champion a forgotten story as a classic, attack the assertion that a given story is a classic or even suggest a stinker is in serious need of reevaluation. I actually like that, even fifty years after the show originally aired, there are still discussions to be had around what the good, bad and indifferent stories are. I think Kinda has cycled through this process quite a bit – a story initially overlooked in Peter Davison’s “much better than you remember, if you can get past the cheesy production values” first season, but one that has been somewhat re-appraised in the decades that followed.

A hot-shot colonist...

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