Earlier today the first 2 episodes of BBC3’s Doctor Who spin-off Class released, I have watched the first and thought you all might enjoy hearing my thoughts on it! This will contain full spoilers for the first episode of Class, which is available now to watch on BBC IPlayer for free.
Class tries too hard to be cool, that’s my major problem with the first episode. They feature a lot of references and modern slang, but not all of it works with the tone of the show. This could be because it feels forced coming from a cast of mostly 25-year-olds trying to act 16/17. This is not to say that the cast is bad, I actually found them honestly endearing and interesting to watch, despite the obvious problem with their ages.
The one real standout member of the cast is by far Katherine Kelly as the wonderfully sassy and sarcastic Ms Quill, who is an alien criminal who is forced to be the bodyguard to an alien prince called Charlie, played by Greg Austin. Sadly because of the story, Quill and Charlie are almost always by each other’s side, which would be fine, if their on-screen chemistry wasn’t so horrible. Greg Austin delivers a monotonous and unemotive performance, this could be because of his character’s royal nature, but he just became very hard to like.
The show feels also like it is forcing a Tumblr Social Justice Warrior viewpoint onto the audience. With the line “Look at us, talking… about something other than what the white people are doing” from Vivian Oparah’s character Tanya feeling forced and uncomfortable. Later lines about characters fighting the gender-binary at a prom also felt forced. The one thing that does not feel forced is the relationship between Charlie and Matteusz (Jordan Renzo). It doesn’t feel anything like the show is just doing it to make a point and it just feels like representation of modern society.
The show is tonally different to Doctor Who, both in its use of bloody violence and bad language. I am glad that they made the show more adult since otherwise the freedom that being broadcast as a web-exclusive would be wasted. If you ever wanted to see what Doctor Who would look like if it was released on Netflix, this is your show. Gore is used appropriately with a hint of shock value, one character gets his leg severed, another gets blown into tiny bloodied chunks.
The one major letdown was when The Doctor appeared. I was hoping that the show would leave it until later to show him, allowing the characters to develop and become stronger as standalone characters. I get that they needed to use him to get people hooked on the show, but it felt forced. The one redeeming feature of his glorified cameo was that he literally had barely anything to do with the actual defeating of the alien shadow villain. Which, for the record, was killed by turning on the lights and then being hit over the head by a man with one leg wielding a chair.
Overall, the first episode of Class feels somewhat underwhelming, but it has just enough promise to keep me watching just a little bit more. I feel the first episode left me on the edge, it was just good enough for me to watch more in the hope that it improves. Honestly, I think it will. Class is not bad, but it has a lot of room to improve and it better do that fast. Otherwise, it just becomes Doctor Who with adults playing children. I feel I was too harsh on the show, I enjoyed it personally, but that doesn’t mean it was good.
Thanks for reading this, honestly I would recommend giving Class a try. It’s free to watch in the UK on BBC IPlayer, the first two episodes are online as of today and the rest will air weekly starting next week. I probably won’t make this a regular review series but you can expect a whole season review when the show has finished airing. For more content like this, keep it G33k!