[personal profile] locker_monster
Space is nice enough to air Class in Canada so I didn't even have to watch the first two episodes through my usual means. I will freely admit that I was only mildly excited to watch this show. It's an unnecessary spin-off, but it's also new content in the Whoverse, so I'll take what I can get right now. I'll keep watching the rest of the season, but it won't be with great anticipation.

While I love Patrick Ness as a writer (if you haven't read any of his books, go out and find some; they're awesome), the way the show is executed is putting me off from really liking it. I feel like Class wants to fill the void left behind by Torchwood, so it has violence and gore and butt shots, but it's set in a high school. Why the hell would you want to watch teenagers be put in these kinds of situations? Okay, so maybe I'm old school and I prefer Buffy the Vampire Slayer levels of horror and pain, but a show doesn't need to be overly bloody and graphic to be good.

Like, two episodes in a row, Ram gets blood sprayed on him. Like, drenched in it. Yes, it makes each situation shocking as hell, but you could still achieve the same level of intensity without a geyser of blood. It's just a weird dichotomy they have going. Post watershed violence and nudity, but you also have teenagers dealing with high school and teenager problems. Maybe I'm just used to all of the teen dramas here in North America with their frivolous romance angst peppered with the latest pop songs. At least Class seems to be bucking some of the usual tropes. Ram actually comes clean about aliens and losing his leg to his father. Any other show would have had him keeping that secret for a few seasons. The rest of the gang turn to Mr. Armitage for help, where as another show wouldn't have the main characters trusting an adult in an authority position. The personal drama is mostly stuff you can relate with, which is actually a hallmark of Ness' writing. He finds the human story amongst all of the unbelievable stuff going on. That's my one thread of hope going forward, that I will be able to stand watching these kids navigate their way through high school and life.

Anyway, let's move away from the teen drama. While Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures had familiar characters at their centre, Class doesn't benefit from that. Coal Hill is the only familiar thing and even then, the school is all shiny and fancy now. When I first heard about Class, I was half convinced that the BBC took an unrelated show about high school kids dealing with monsters and aliens and mashed in Doctor Who references just so they could have another Who related program. I mean, just look at the way the Doctor is used in the episode. He's there for five minutes, maybe ten tops. He's there just long enough for you to watch the entire episode. I know there's nothing wrong in wanting to expand the franchise, but that doesn't mean you should. Will Class add anything to the Whoverse? Eh, maybe. We'll see.

Hmm, maybe I should say some more nice things about Class instead of just complaining. I did like the humour in the writing. The scene with April, Tanya, and Charlie trying to decide what to name the rift was cute. Bunghole. :-D It does give the show a witty Buffy vibe. Yes, I keep comparing Class to Buffy, but I can't help it. That's my ultimate benchmark for high school shows. The little nods to Doctor Who's past were also great. The new building on campus is The Barbara Wright Building. There's an S. Foreman on the memorial wall (along with D. Pink and C. Oswald of course). The Doctor mentions he was the caretaker at the school before it got fancy. They just need a reference to Ian and I'll be happy.

For now, I'm vaguely amused with Miss Quill. Instead of being nice and helpful she's short tempered and blunt, but she still wants to solve the problem. Though, most of the time, the answer to the problem involves violence and bodily harm to other people. It'd be easy to have a Giles like figure, so Miss Quill is a nice change. As for the kids, they're kind of trope-y (nice girl who everyone ignores, super smart girl with no friends, jock type, new boy to the school), but there are signs that Ness will take them away from those character trappings.

As for the Doctor himself, he appears, he leaves, and he has some great lines in-between. Though, couldn't he have given the kids something useful to help battle these aliens? It's practically his fault that Coal Hill is teeming with all of this artron energy. The fleeting reference to Clara was nice, in that it added a little more about how deep the memory wipe goes. It's like the Doctor knows he should know her name, but he can't understand why. I'm also glad that we didn't linger on it. It was an acknowledgement of events that came before and that was it. Will the Doctor make future appearances on Class? Maybe, but I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted to distance him a bit from the show. Doctor Who has a lighter, family friendly tone and you don't necessarily want to encourage the younger fans to watch the more adult spin-off.

Random thoughts: Poor Coal Hill. It's now a Hellmouth. At one point, a character mentions that the school has a higher than normal body count and I just laughed. It's just like Sunnydale High! Hell, they even killed the headmaster early in the season like they did on Buffy. Poor Mr. Armitage. I liked him. I wanted him to stick around and then later on reveal that he knew all about the aliens and the rift. Though, maybe he did know? He makes a reference to the Governors and he makes it sound kind of ominous. Then later on, Miss Quill sees that the robot was made by the Governors, so it seems like Armitage wasn't talking about the school governors. Or maybe the school governors do know about all of the shenanigans that go on at Coal Hill and having robots is how they keep an eye on things. Hey, Ian is the chair of the school governors; maybe he informed the other members. I have a hard time buying that the actors are supposed to be 17/18 (or 14 in Tanya's case); they all look too old. Is it a common thing in UK schools to allow the Sixth form kids to ditch their uniforms? I found it a little strange none of the main characters were in uniform until that corner store guy commented upon Tanya's lack of school uniform. Speaking of odd clothing, the Doctor's coat looked weird. I guess it's one of his new ones for season ten. And my god, the Doctor needed a hair cut. Or, at least, a comb because, whoa, his hair was wilder than usual. Hmm, maybe some of the characters from SJA could pop up on Class? They don't need to make a big deal about it; it'd just be nice to know what they're up to.

At least we have something to watch until the Christmas Special. And if anyone is curious about Patrick Ness, I can't say this enough times: Go read The Rest of Us Just Live Here. It's also about kids attending a high school that's plagued with supernatural and sci-fi threats and it's the best YA novel ever.
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Date: 2016-10-24 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dbskyler.livejournal.com
I haven't seen it, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to, as it doesn't appear to be showing here in the U.S. I'm feeling kind of "meh" about it -- the premise doesn't sound super-interesting to me -- but I'll probably try it out if I get the chance.

Date: 2016-10-25 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] locker-monster.livejournal.com
I read that Class isn't airing in the US until next year, which is kind of crazy. BBC America helps to produce Class for heaven's sake. At least by next year, all of the episodes will have aired and you'll have a better gauge of how good the show is (or isn't).

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