Class: The Doctor Who spin off review

Score: B-

“It’s like a HellMouth, or that town in Once Upon Time or the Vampire Diaries.”

When the announcement of Class, a new Doctor Who spin off broke, it had a lot of us scratching our heads and asking why?

The two previous spin-offs of Doctor Who felt inevitable, Captain Jack Harness was a fan favourite, Torchwood also spoke to the adult fans of the show and allowed more grownup issues. The Sarah Jane Adventures bridged the gap between Old Doctor Who universe and the new one and managed to be a kids show without talking down to the audience

Class seemed out of left field, Coal Hill School- now Coal Hill Academy (thanks tories…) had been mentioned in recent times as the workplace of Clara Oswald. It seemed tentative at best.

But like everything else in the Doctor Who universe there was more than meets the eye as Coal Hill School has been around since the very first episode of Doctor Who as the original companion Susan- the granddaughter of the Doctor used to attend and two of the teachers were the original human companions.

Having a location be the link for the Doctor Who universe allows them to stretch out the characters as we develop the British version of Buffy’s Scooby Gang…

The students are initially strangers too each other, nothing but classmates in a very strict science a-level class. The mysterious posh boy from Sheffield who doesn’t understand anything pop culture related, the super genius fourteen year old with the overbearing parents, popular boy football star and the nerdy nice girl.

The students are all very capable actors but for the most part it doesn’t seem like we get a look at their lives other than the main character sketch of whom they are. Also they are significantly older than the ages they’re playing, not to a distracting 90210 level but one of the winning parts of shows like Skins was the authenticity of the actors.

Katherine Kelley is a stand-out as the emotionless and definitively evil (like in the way all teachers are evil) Ms Quill who finds herself constantly drinking for Dalek metaphors. And as the monster begins to go through the cracks in times Ms Quill is solidly the scariest woman in the room.

Class is the first major release from the now purely digital channel “BBC 3”. It manages to be a light hearted look at sixth form for the first episode, I mean I don’t think that the BBC could pull off.

The first episode basically consists around monsters that come from shadows invading Coal Hill Academy and the four students coming together. Also our posh boy from Sheffield turns out to be the prince of a now dead alien race and scary Ms Quill is forced to serve him.

The Doctor makes an appearance as the lucky rescuer of the new Scooby Gang from the Shadowkin (there’s a tumblr joke in there somewhere) that is inexplicable trying to kill people on the planet. There are a couple of small references to Clara and almost nothing about Susan, maybe the show needs to grow as a single entity before we see it as a part of the Whoinverse.

The first episode has exactly two swearwords and a pretty impressive death scene which has one of our main characters splattered in the blood of his girlfriend which is definitely shocking and moves the show into the young adult realm. Without these instances Class could have solidly followed Doctor Who in a half 8 time slot.

Observations

  • I’m a massive Doctor Who fan and the amount of work I had to do to find out about this show is ridiculous. Maybe the BBC don’t know how to do online marketing or maybe they want to kill the show before it starts- either way- buy ad space before youtube videos or invite some blogger along to the set. I’m full of ideas call me BBC
  • Although I usually thinking the opposite- but this show could really benefit from about fifteen episodes per season as opposed to the six we’re getting there’s a lot of potential story in Class but not enough time to explore it

 

 

 

 

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