will hopkins

megcott: HAPPY OPENING @bandstandbway!!! I’ve never been more proud of @naponacott. His honesty, hard work and talent shines as Donny and it has been a joy to walk alongside him throughout this entire process. Not to mention the 5000 million hours of piano playing I’ve listened to over the last year and a half ☺️🎹 I love you with my whole heart and I can’t wait to see you be a ⭐️ tonight and a daddy soon! #BandstandBway #DonnyNovaBand #ImWithTheBand #WeGottaBabyCominnnn

R.I.P. the great Jonathan Demme, one of the finest American directors of all time. His work meticulously eclipsed the borders of experimental, mainstream, and documentary cinema. Thank you for The Silence Of The Lambs, Stop Making Sense, Swimming to Cambodia, Something Wild, and so much more.

Should I Be Watching: Class

Welcome back everyone to another exciting edition of “Should I Be Watching”! Today I have for you the “Doctor Who” YA spinoff “Class”! If any of those words instantly made you uncomfortable then I can just cut to the chase right now and let you know you should NOT be watching “Class”. See how easy this is. Technically "Class” has already aired out on BBC 3 this past fall, but for us Americans/legal television watchers it is currently airing on BBC America as a companion to the new season of “Doctor Who”. I have watched the first two episodes that have aired on BBCA in order to give you MAXIMUM information.

“Class” is an 8 episode series (super manageable!) written entirely by Patrick Ness, the novelist behind last year’s film  "A Monster Calls", in his first television outing. The show follows four school youths who are in whatever the Brit equivalent of high school is (despite best efforts I continue to have no understanding of the UK’s schooling system), who are unexpectedly plunged into a world of sci fi danger. As you may have already guessed, our young heroes must  battle the forces of evil, while also dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. Although this isn’t a groundbreaking set up, the shine on this apple is that all of these surging hormones and genocidal aliens exist within the larger Whoverse.

The show takes place at Cole House Academy, where the ill-fated Danny Pink and Clara Oswin Manic Pixie Oswald taught in the mothership series. And the first episode also boasts an appearance by the man himself who swoops in to save the day and deliver a TARDIS-full of exposition. As an aside I will admit I briefly rage quit watching “Doctor Who” somewhere in Season 9 but am newly reunited with it in Season 10 and enjoying it MUCH MUCH MORE. Bonus: if you are wondering if you should be watching Season 10 of “Doctor Who”, the answer is yes!

As far as British teen dramas and Doctor Who spinoffs go, the bar is fairly high in both departments. Where “Class” excels is in it’s cast of characters who represent a diverse swath of London youth and also talk like real teenagers. The show is charmingly loaded with pop culture references and also refreshingly aware of it’s place in the pop lexicon (in the first episode they compare the rift in space/time causing their problems to the Hellmouth. At least they know). However when compared to the wealth of  other Brit teen dramas it comes up a bit short. “Class” lacks both the irreverence of a “Misfits” and the unabashedness of a"Skins" which results in the show feeling a bit buttoned up and stiff. And while the show does it’s best to take on serious teen issues, the dialogue can sometimes veer onto After School Special Boulevard.

That isn’t to say the show is without it’s quirk and charm. Two of the central core cast are aliens forced to hide out as humans on Earth and they are easily the most compelling part of the show. Greg Austin adorably plays Charlie, an alien Prince Charming who is touchingly clueless and casually into dudes (who isn’t) offers both a much needed comic relief and also very gentle eye candy. Meanwhile a delightfully homicidal Katherine Kelly is forced to be his reluctant guardian by night and begrudging teacher by day. These characters are the only elements of the show that feel utterly unique, and the conceit of it feels most worthwhile while they are on screen.

It’s the sci fi elements of “Class” however that most closely ties it to “Doctor Who”. The first episode boasts a host of genocidal monsters that live in your own shadow, which is SO “Doctor Who” I’m surprised it wasn’t a two part Moffat special already. So far the capers and badies all feel very much in line with the Whoverse with the monsters of the week feeling like they could be just as at home on the main series. This is positive if you come to a spinoff hoping for more of the same. However it’s impossible not to compare to the other Who spinoff “Torchwood” that was able to accomplish staggering sci fi storytelling (specifically with Children of Earth) in a way that was totally original while still playing off the larger Who world.

While “Torchwood” was a show that was able to at times achieve greatness, “Class” is a show that has so far achieved good. But if you are into sci fi, Brit TV or Doctor Who in general, good can be good enough!

You should watch this show if you love Doctor Who and one hour of space hijinks a week just isn’t enough. You should watch this show if you have been flirting with re-watching Misfits for the third time and need something to spice up your life. However if you are a newcomer to this genre of television and are looking for your new favorite show, there are many more interesting offerings to devour first.

“Class” airs Saturdays on BBC America after “Doctor Who”. So an hour after whenever that’s on. 

XO MD