tek's rating: ½

Class, on BBC 3 (UK) / Space (Canada) / BBC America (USA)
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This is a spin-off of Doctor Who, set between series 9 and 10. I didn't get to see it when it originally aired in 2016, but I watched it on Amazon in 2018. The theme song is part of "Up All Night," by Alex Clare, which is pretty cool.

It's set at Coal Hill Academy (which has formerly been seen throughout the history of "Doctor Who," but with the name Coal Hill School). There's a student named Charlie Smith, who turns out to be an alien prince from the planet Rhodia. (I don't think his real name was ever revealed.) The planet had two dominant races, the Rhodians and the Quill. (Quill didn't look human, but the one major Quill character in the series had her appearance changed to look human. I'm not quite sure whether Rhodians looked human or whether Charlie's appearance was also changed.) There was a war on Rhodia between the Rhodians and the Quill, and the Rhodians won. The Quill warrior queen named Andra'ath was forced to become Charlie's bodyguard, and had a creature called an arn implanted in her head, to force her obedience to him, and to only ever use violence in defense of him. At some point after that, aliens called Shadow Kin invaded Rhodia and killed off both races, with the only two survivors being Charlie and Andra'ath, each the last of their respective races. They were rescued by the Twelfth Doctor, who took them to Earth. There, Charlie became a student at Coal Hill, and Andra'ath, who changed her name to Andrea Quill, became a teacher.

That's all some backstory that we learn in the course of the first episode, when Earth is invaded by Shadow Kin, who slip through a crack in space, or whatever, which brings them to Coal Hill Academy. Other students there include Ram Singh, April MacLean, Tanya Adeola, and Matteusz Andrzejewski. Through a sequence of events I don't want to even try to explain, the Shadow Kin's king, Corakinus, ends up sharing April's heart. Like, I think it sort of teleports itself between their bodies with every beat. Or something. Anyway, it means that if either one of them dies, the other will, too. And um... I guess some other students were killed by the Shadow Kin, including Ram's girlfriend, Rachel. But eventually, the Doctor shows up and helps send the Shadow Kin back to their own world. And he instructs the five students who had gotten mixed up in everything, along with Miss Quill, to protect the school against any other alien threats that might show up, through the cracks in space. Which kind of makes the five of them become friends, out of necessity, more than actually getting along with each other. Well, except that Charlie and Matteusz begin dating. Also, once Ram eventually gets over his devastation about Rachel's death, he starts developing romantic feelings for April.

Well, the show only has eight episodes. There are some stand-alone stories, but there are also story arcs that build up throughout the season. The Shadow Kin are in a few episodes, including the finale. Also, the school gets a new headteacher, Dorothea Ames, who works for a secret group called the Governors. She eventually offers to help remove the arn from Miss Quill's head, giving her back her free will. That's something Quill desperately wants, because she really hates Charlie (and misses being a badass). I should say, we don't get any definite knowledge of what things were like for each race on Rhodia, we just get Charlie and Quill's own personal perspectives. Of course Charlie believed his people were in the right, and Quill believed hers were. It's possible the truth was somewhere in the middle, though I tend to suspect the reality was somewhat closer to Quill's perspective. Certainly, I think she's the most interesting character in the show, even if most of the time she's almost more of a background character, not often being included in the adventures that the teenagers have. Though there is one pretty great episode that's all about Quill, Ames, and an alien named Ballon (a shapeshifter who has been locked into human form). The adventure they have takes place at the same time as a problem the teenagers had faced in the previous episode. Anyway, the season finale leaves us with a few major new plot threads that I really wish could be further explored. But unfortunately, the show was cancelled after one season. (There are a few books that I don't expect to ever read, and some audio dramas that I'll probably never listen to. I think all that stuff is set in the timeframe of the first season, so I can't manage to care about it as much as I would if it were set after season one.)

Other than that, I dunno what to say. I basically liked the acting in the show. And the characters were okay. And the stories were okay (sometimes better than okay, but never quite great). And I'm just really disappointed that there's only one season.


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