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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who: Snakedance (Story No. 125/BBC DVD)

Doctor Who: Snakedance (Story No. 125/BBC DVD)


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B-     Extras: A     Episodes: A+



Doctor Whoís decades long run on the BBC has ensured that the show has enjoyed some phenomenal episodes, and endured some awful ones as well.  Story no. 125 falls firmly in the former category.  Snakedance deserves its reputation as one of the strongest stories of Peter Davisonís run as the Doctor, and it adroitly links back to another great story in the 5th Doctorís tenure, Kinda.  Drawn to the planet Manussa by companion Teganís (Janet Fielding) haunted dreams, the Doctor and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) must free their friend from the mental grip of the Mara, the evil alien intelligence that plagued them in Kinda.


The trio arrives on the planet amidst the populaceís yearly celebration of the Maraís seeming defeat centuries in the past.  Little does the populace know that the creature lurks in Teganís mind awaiting its chance at freedom.  As it takes hold of her, it also manipulates a young noble of the planetís ruling elite, Lon, ably played by Martin Clunes.  The Doctor must convince the planetís doubting authorities that the Maraís threat is real, or it will manifest through Tegan and Lon, and bring about a new dark age of pain suffering on the world.


The gripping psychological nature of this tale falls right into Peter Davisonís wheelhouse, as his thoughtful and considerate Doctor slowly puts the pieces of the mystery together, then takes the ultimate gamble to gain the insight needed to challenge the Mara.  Ms. Fieldingís performance as the tortured Tegan marks one of her strongest on the show, and Colette OíNeil delivers a stunningly nuanced portrayal of Lonís over-indulgent mother, Tanha.


The extras wonderfully support the episodes on this disc.  Snake Charmer delivers the kind of interviews and insight that featurette should, including plenty of commentary from Peter Davison and writer Christopher Bailey.  A delightful segment from a childrenís show called the Saturday Superstore features Mr. Davison taking calls from young fans and playing a bit of cricket with a miniature bat.  The usual batch of commentaries nicely round out the plentiful extra offerings.


Snakedance offers quintessential Davison Who, and should make the top ten list of most fans of the classic shows.



-†† Scott Pyle


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