Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x01: "For Tonight We Might Die"


Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Ed Bazalgette

The Doctor (to the gang): "Time has looked at your faces and time, time, never forgets."

I know, it's been over a month since BBC3 online dropped this show and between catching up with other series and shaking my head at the overall shoddy promotion for the latest Doctor Who spin-off and reading the mixed comments online, I've finally sat down and properly watched the first episode and you know what, it's not bad.

I think we forget that when Torchwood started off a decade ago when BBC3 was a physical channel, it didn't impress straight away and took a little time to really grab audiences (whereas The Sarah Jane Adventures impressed everyone from the off). Whether or not Class will get that chance remains to be seen but it's certainly a decent set up here.

First of all, you've got the Prince of Rhodia himself, Charlie Smith (Greg Austin) with his enemy turned forced bodyguard and physics teacher Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly) taking refuge on Earth, attending Coal Hill and generally trying to avoid trouble until the Shadow Kin managed to track them down and cause a little mayhem at the prom.

Caught up in the mix of things as well are kind hearted April MacLean (Sophie Hopkins), soccer hunk Ram Singh (Fady Elsayed), brainbox Tanya Adeola (Vivian Oparah) and Polish student Matteusz  Andrzejewski (Jordan Renzo), who was also Charlie's date for the prom itself. All of these kids are given quite the education on monsters from time and space but it's really two of them that suffer the consequences of the new discovery.

Ram himself has to suffer seeing his date Rachel (Anna Shaffer) being butchered in front of him by Shadow Kin leader Corakinus (Paul Marc Davis) while losing his leg (though he's given another one later on in the story) and April finds herself very much linked to the Kin that it forms most of the dilemma for this story as Charlie has reservations about killing her.

Then there's the appearance of the Doctor. With Coal Hill being a tenuous link to the parent show, having Peter Capaldi pop up for a few minutes to help partly resolve the story while informing the rest of the gang why he won't be showing up every week. Capaldi's appearance is nice but a part of me is wondering whether or not it actually helps or hinders the episode and set up for the series in general.

The main characters themselves seem like a decent bunch. Miss Quill probably stands out the most and seems a little amoral, while the rapport between her and Charlie has all the potential to really boil over throughout the series, especially with that cabinet in the mix as well. Ram and Tanya also have some good moments and their 'secret' friendship is kind of nice while April kind of feels like the sort of person you'd expect as a companion of the Doctor. Matteusz has some quippy moments and religious parents but he's the least emphasised of the characters in this opening story.

As for the Shadow Kin, they look impressive enough though something of a mash up of the Vashta Nerada and the Pyroville creature from the parent show's fourth series. Going by the trailers though, it does seem like they won't be the only problem that Coal Hill's rift/crack thingy will be attracting throughout the series.

- Both BBC1 and BBCAmerica should be airing this show along with the BBC3 releases. Holding off seems foolish in retrospect.
- Is it me or are April, Ram and Tanya all from single parent families? Whereas Quill is technically viewed as Charlie's legal guardian to less savvy people perhaps.
- Mr Armitage from Into The Dalek/The Caretaker is still principal and we got to see Susan, Clara and Danny's name on the board during one scene with the Doctor.
- Alex Care's Up All Night is the theme tune for the series. I'm not too taken with the credit sequence but I might grow to like it as the series goes on.

For Tonight We Might Die is a strong enough opening episode for the series. Like Torchwood's first episode, it's far from perfect but the general set up isn't bad. I do think the show overall has more in common with series such as Being Human or Misfits than it does with being a Doctor Who universe series. It's not perfect but it's got something though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

1 comment:

Tom Marshall said...

Without giving anything away, Ram's mum is around but we just seem to barely see her. The others only live with one parent though :)