The Doctor Who spinoff Class was recently added to iPlayer and it gets off to a great start, like a really really diverse and fun and dark and just great start. So here we go:
Plot: What’s going on and who’s it going on with.
Right so this episode was pretty much an introduction as to what we could expect in terms of plot, character and theme from the rest of the series and if it keeps up the pace it showed then I’m going to be very excited. It would have been very easy for Class to be a standard, bland mix of the same tired plot-lines of generic kids are unpopular, kids fight alien, kids learn lesson but it’s SO not. What this episode has hopefully shown is that what we have to come is so much more. Obviously the first ep did involve a lot of this is what this person’s like and where they’re from and here’s what they are gonna have to do but soon enough you forget it’s doing that and start going on this adventure with the youths that you’ve just met that you already manage to like. One thing I do find impressive about the episode is it doesn’t go down the obvious ‘ugh my parents don’t get me!’ route but lets them be caring and real and just as flawed as the main characters. I mean it’s just the first episode but the fact that I felt this after just one episode surely signals good things to come.
So I REALLY liked Class, like REALLY REALLY liked it. From the opening scene you immediately get the feeling this is a lot darker than what would probably be it’s most comparable colleague in Doctor Who spinoffdom, the Sarah Jane Adventures. I would in fact say it is exactly in between the younger-audience aimed SJA and the much more explicit Torchwood which seems like an odd spot to be but I’d argue is a very nice gap to fill (immature Torchwood joke here). Obviously this seems a big leap to take from one episode but the amount of blood and violence mixed with the young cast seems to lead to no where else.
But what I would say about the cast from episode 1 is how awesomely diverse they are with a rare-for-a-young-people-aimed-show range of races, sexuality and disability on show which is frankly something highly lacking from young adult shows currently about. Another thing lacking from young adult shows nowadays is there being any. Class is a show made for the 14- 18 year old audience that is frankly terribly underserved by the current television commissioners, this is probably why so many young people have gone to Youtube instead to find anyone that seems representative of what their generation is really like.
It did strike me as an interesting choice by the BBC though to put Class on the currently online-only BBC Three. I will be surprised if the show isn’t picked up for another series on one of the TV-based channels if the quality doesn’t drop. The BBC Three choice though I would say is interesting partially because it didn’t really have anywhere else to go, it’s too old CBBC yet too young for the One or Two but this, to me, highlights just how little content is created just for the teenage audience, especially shows where the main ’17-year-old’ isn’t actually 30.
If Class keeps going as it begins then Patrick Ness will have really proved himself as not just one of the leading YA authors out there but also as one of the top (I might argue the only) YA screenplay writers around.