Class could have been so much more. It could have been the start of a beautiful, new and fresh franchise that could have had legs that ran and ran for years. No, the show wasn’t perfect, and there was enough cheese to create enough Pizza for it’s first run audience. I believe that Class could have been something special, something more than just a Doctor Who spin-off aimed at Teens. To me, the answer to all Class’ problems stems from one glaring issue.
IT WAS LINKED TO DOCTOR WHO!
Yep, if they had found another entrance to the story of how these kids (who didn’t exactly look like kids at all) had met and formed this team of ragtag alien busters, then the show would have survived and would have opened another stream of Science Fiction for the BBC to grow its programme base.
It seems that the BBC wanted something, anything, to bring in that demographic of 15 to 21-year-olds who watch TV on the go. They wanted to try and create that buzz around a new show linked to the Doctor Who universe. Doctor Who had been criticised by the youth market in general for having an older actor play the Doctor after such young bucks as Tennant and Smith and the radical change of Peter Capaldi had made it slightly hard going at first. I believe that Class was first brainstormed when this hue and cry started.
This pandering to one demographic was the first mistake. Doctor Who is popular because it is Doctor Who. In a way, Torchwood fell into the same trap by trying to sex up the Whoniverse. The audience were apoplectic when the Doctor kissed Rose – any addition of romance was derided by a segment of the audience who thought that this was so far removed from the ethos of Doctor Who that (and excuse the pun) it was alien. I can see why this was, there was no need for any romantic attachments in Doctor Who, it was just an element to get people talking and, in a way, dividing the audience.
Class tried to fill the gap that had been created between Doctor Who and Torchwood. Class had sex, and it had violence, but it was tame compared to Torchwood. There was no needless killing off beloved characters, the ones that did die had no emotion life to them for the audience, the characters who felt something for the person who died had to carry their own emotions and still try to project the emotional output of the person who died. To be quite honest, that didn’t work.
Class should have been anything else but a Doctor Who spin-off. It could, as I have said, been so much more. You have in the Who creative world, some of the most excellent writers in the world ANYWHERE! Why couldn’t the BBC have tapped into that hive mind of brilliance to create new intellectual properties in sci-fi? They could have used 101 different plot devices to get the group together. In fact, they could have used the exact same premise they did for the show except replace the Doctor with some other figurehead. Imagine the premise behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Watcher (Gyles) recruits the next in line to be a Slayer who is predestined to become the Slayer. How about a group of six young people see a phenomenon occur while out on a school field trip, and they try and keep the secret and get embroiled in a galactic battle over the two “visitors” survival. Each one of those scenarios is perfectly valid and with smart writing wouldn’t be a blatant rip off scripts from other shows.
It could have been so much more. The cast (overall) was brilliant. The only let down for me was the character of Ram Singh – the actor portraying him Fady Elsayed had about three different expressions, and he used them ad Infinitum. By the time I got to episode 4, I was considering a drinking game in which expression would appear next. If it wasn’t for the fact I was at my place of work that night, I could have become incredibly drunk, and Ram could have ended up as a tattoo on my leg (hopefully one that doesn’t eat people).
Overall, I enjoyed Class, I enjoyed it more once the first episode was out of the way, and the crowbar use of the Doctor was over and done with. I could forgive the odd reference to him, and the Cliff Hanger ending to the final show could be forgiven if you were taking part in said drinking game as you would be too blotto to realise that the major Big Bad behind the second half of the series was from Doctor Who (no spoilers here folks). I am looking forward to having a nice chunk of time to get stuck into the first two volumes of Class Audio Dramas from Big Finish, from the early reviews I have seen (granted, most of these come from people who hated the TV show) speak of the Audios being really good. I hope I am not the one in the crowd who has the opposite view.
Let me know what you thought of Class in the comments, could it have been a new franchise away from Doctor Who or do you think that it played out well/ poorly in the Whoniverse?
Thanks for reading.