Bottom of the Class (Series roundup)

MILD SPOILERS FOR WHOLE OF FIRST SERIES

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The newest Doctor Who spin-off show is about to air on BBC One. Should you watch it? I know for one I’m certainly not going to re-watch it after it’s attempt at airing on BBC iPlayer last month. Score: 3/10. Read on if you want a more detailed review, otherwise just leave a comment telling me I’m stupid and move on.

I’m always going to be in two minds about Class, because of what happened on it’s launch. I was invited along to the premiere. See the video here: LINK. You’ll note I’m the only person being negative in Adam’s video… Oh well… At the event I met the writer and creator Patrick Ness, along with the main cast. I had a tremendous time there and let me assure you they are all thoroughly lovely people and I don’t wish hate upon any of them. I also wish to preface this post with saying these young actors are the best part of the show. They’re obviously dedicated and given a good set of script they could well be great.

Let’s sing the praises of the show first, the direction is good and I really like Katherine Kelly’s character Miss Quill. This concludes the positives.

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Now here’s the point where I begin criticising the show everybody has worked so very hard on. Class is a fundamentally weak show because it’s linked to Doctor Who. It feels the need to remind you of that every few moments and barge it’s way into the Whoniverse with all the dignity and grace of a horny Labrador. From those 5 minutes where a rough approximation of Doctor Who shows up to the constant name drops of related gubbins like UNIT and Zygons the show can’t decide which side of the fence it sits on. That and it borrows it’s entire premise from Torchwood. Seriously a tear in space/time that occasionally chucks out aliens on Earth caused by Doctor Who, DID YOU THINK WE WOULDN’T SPOT THIS PATRICK NESS?

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A BIG review of the very first episode comes HERE on the blog. I remember telling a few people after the first episode that I fully expected the series to get better because it did show a tiny spark of potential but still remain pretty weak. I’m here to say it didn’t improve. It got much, much worse. The clunky dialogue got clunkier and more embarrassing, the characters retreated into cliched husks and struggled to do anything else, and the stories never became good. They just didn’t. Plot threads dangling over Coal Hill like a thunder storm never once being fully realised and being pretentious enough to assume they’re getting a second series.

Speaking of pretentiousness, the Class fandom. whoops i went there. From the moment the announcement came members of the ‘intended demographic’ took it upon themselves to ensure it was going to succeed. It didn’t work. Yes despite rearranging mugs in shops to spell CLASS and stalking the filming the show has barely managed to scrape the barrel of iPlayer ratings. I have literally just read the tweet from the official Class page asking for fan fiction in the ‘Official Class Fan Fiction Community’. And that sums up the low levels of fans they’ve got better than I ever could. Here’s the thing though, where in the series could fan fiction go? The plot clearly doesn’t advance between episodes, there’s no gap left for other stories to fit. And then we get to a point where April is leader of the lead bad guys and it all goes tits up. The same goes for those books they brought out and I’m never gonna read. Can anyone work out where in the canon they fit? I’ve got a book signed by Fady though so it might flog well on eBay.

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I would do a play-by-play of all 8 episodes but I haven’t watched them since the first chance I gave them. I didn’t feel the drive to watch any more. If you held a bullet to my head and forced me to watch an episode it would be Episode 1. The show isn’t yet tangled up and there’s some nice if clunky character pieces. Capaldi turning up at the end is tolerable even though he’s clearly playing Patrick Ness’ idea of David Tennant.

To conclude I didn’t enjoy Class on the whole. A loose collection of ideas tangled together forming a messy blob. Much like this review actually… There we are. Class airs on BBC One on the night I publish this review. If you truly think Class deserves a second series you watch it to death on it’s TV airings. Because it hasn’t done nearly enough to guarantee it a second series. Cruel but that’s how TV works. Can I stop speaking about this now? Someone bring me a Jaffa cake I’m exhausted.

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Follow MattBobRoss on Twitter. Why not check out other posts like The story & legacy of Delgado’s Master or Doctor Who spin-off idea: Science with Capaldi!

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