Class: TV series overview (Doctor Who spin-off)

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Class was a series with a lot of potential. But did it ever quite live up to it?
(Image credit: Class/BBC.
Image obtained from: official Class homepage.)

Before we check out the brand new audio episodes, let’s take a look at how Class was on TV as a whole. Did it ever reach its full potential?

It took me a long time to check out Class. When the Doctor Who spin-off first started, I was unable to watch it at the time. And, when I started hearing about it, well, it seemed to appeal to me less than the parent show. In fact, as a Whovian, it had less to appeal to me than other spin-offs, including both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Now that I’ve finally watched the show (admittedly, because Big Finish have made brand new stories set during the TV series), has my opinion changed?

Well, I think we need to begin with the flaws the series had. And some of them are pretty major.

For one thing, the tone could be very uneven, even in the same episode. The opening episode, For Tonight We Might Die, was a prime example of this. For example, the Shadow Kin initially came across as a typical Doctor Who monster. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, especially as they looked cool.

But when they stabbed people with their swords, they didn’t just disintegrate. Blood would come bursting out…and then they’d disintegrate in a flashy special effect. To be honest, it’s a real clash in tone that I wasn’t too keen on.

We take a look back at the Doctor Who spin-off series Class, beginning with the first episode, For Tonight We Might Die.
(Image credit: Class/BBC.
Image obtained from: official Class website.)

High violence

However, I will admit, the series did become more sure of itself as time went on. Certainly, it became a show that wasn’t afraid of showing graphic violence. Although even that became a problem at times. Not that I’m not keen on graphic violence, especially in a show that’s targeted more at a mature audience than Doctor Who or The Sarah Jane Adventures.

But with Class, the violence was often done on too large a scale. At least, large enough that it became hard to believe it was in the same universe as UNIT and Torchwood. Now, the latter not getting involved is more than understandable, as Torchwood as an organization only seems to survive in Cardiff.

But the former? Where were UNIT when at least dozens of people got attacked by the vines of the Lan Kin in Nightvisiting? Or when thousands, if not millions of flesh-eating petals were spreading across London, devouring whole human bodies alive?

The funny thing is that Class didn’t even need to tell stories on a huge scale like it tried to do. Because the storytelling was always at its strongest when it focused on its main characters.

For example, despite my problems with the size of the threat, I really enjoyed Nightvisiting due to how much it focused on Tanya. The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo dealt with Ram’s trauma in a satisfying manner. So even in the earlier episodes, the series still had its strong points.

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