Saturday, 22 October 2016

Guest Post: Adsum Try on the "Class" premiere (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

“I come from a planet far more beautiful than you could ever imagine.”

We've seen that planet now, the civilisation of the planet Rhodia - or, at least, the representation April displayed for us. What would you do if your entire world, your people, those you loved, were all vanquished by an enemy with a power which seemingly cannot be stopped, but only kept at bay? What if then you were taken to a world where the word beautiful cannot possibly even exist, one where a rift causes terrors to crawl out of thin air, one where pain, depression, heartache and death are faced by even those of the youngest ages and where it is impossible to escape from danger? This is just one of so many fantastic interlocking story-lines found in Class, the new series by Patrick Ness, set within the Doctor Who universe. 

At the very heart of the show is a deep sense of personal struggle, fought against on multiple fronts by a group of young teenagers whose lives were already complicated enough. Real world problems are put under the microscope and the heat gets turned up to two-hundred, while all of this is happening their entire worlds are changed when the mysterious Shadow Kin come to earth through a rift in space-time and threaten their lives and the lives of everyone on earth. How our protagonists respond however is what makes this show far more fascinating, because instead of backing away, instead of giving up, they fight - and each in their own way. If what you are looking for in Class is an easy ride which will leave the monster dead and the characters laughing about their day at the end, unfazed by what they have seen and done, this isn't the show for you. This show deals with repercussions and questions; this show isn't like Doctor Who in that once the night has come and it is time to go home, they get to fly away again, moving on to whichever new adventure finds them next, but instead they are left to figure out the fallout and pick up the pieces. It's all very well getting healed by a mysterious man in a blue box, but if in the lead up to that your girlfriend has been brutally killed by a Shadow right in front of your eyes and you were powerless to stop it, what havoc does that leave rioting in your brain and who on earth can possibly understand what you've been through?

A couple of days before the online release, I had the pleasure of going along to the World Premiere of the show along with Tom Marshall, the owner of this blog, and I am eternally grateful to him for bringing me. Whilst there we got to watch the first episode with the cast and crew, – we were in Screen 1! – have a Q&A with Patrick Ness and 3 out of 5 of the main cast as well as a personal mingling session, quite like a cocktail party with all the guests as well as the cast and crew. Having met these wonderful people, what struck me most was that each and every person who had been involved in the show was genuinely proud of what the show had become and, on top of that, they were excited for us to experience it. I got to chat with Patrick Ness, both having my question answered during the Q&A and then again once the mingling had begun and we spoke in great detail about how the characters has been created and developed. The show itself includes a wide range of players from minority backgrounds, whether religious, gender, geographical or indeed one which is important to me, disability. Each and every one of these characters were included at some point of another within the first episode and there was an obvious sense of character to each of them, a background beyond the initial face we get to see, something which I was promised by Patrick Ness would persist throughout the season. This promise was immediately fulfilled when the second episode was dropped along with the first this morning, laying the groundwork for genuinely emotional and gripping story-lines in a way that only added to the first episode.

If you are looking for something light, something fun, this may not be the series for you, because unlike so many other shows and films nowadays, it does not shy away from the real topics that prevail within our lives in the 21st century. If you are however looking for something to relate to, to encourage strength and growth and to do it within a world which has been so well established that it doesn't need to spend extra time filling in gaps for you, extra time which would detract from the time they could otherwise give to allow you connect to the characters, you will love this. Gritty, emotional and entertaining are words that do not even begin so sum up what this show is, but they are the only ones I have to say within the confines of the English language. Perhaps there is an alien tongue which could utter ones more perfect and more beautiful than these. Perhaps we will find out in Class whether I am right, because believe me when I say from this point on, anything is a possibility.

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