Will Doctor Who spinoff “Class” have a chance to be the next Buffy the Vampire Slayer?


What if your planet was massacred and you were the sole survivor?  What if a legendary figure out of space and time found you a place to hide?

In the United States we have been offered up only the briefest teaser preview for the new Doctor Who spinoff TV series Class.  With two stars of the Jeremy Piven star vehicle Mr. Selfridge in lead roles–the brilliant actress Katherine Kelly and the up-and-coming actor Greg Austin–the series was built for success.  We are hard pressed to come up with an actress who might make a better first female Doctor than Kelly.  Maybe Sherlock’s Lara Pulver?  So getting Kelly into this universe is great for Whovians everywhere.

Class is the second spinoff series of Doctor Who, following the successful Torchwood, which sparked new phases of the careers of John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Burn Gorman.  Class is steeped in good British and Doctor Who tradition: For 54 years viewers have heard of the school at Coal Hill.  So who are the students attending classes there these days?  Class is going to show us just that, including one student who is an alien.  Class is a teen-centric series, not aimed at the typical young end of the Doctor Who audience.  So this series is for a wider audience and is to explore broader themes.  The several BBC trailers that so far have only aired in the UK are exciting and fun, dotted with fun characters, and even a fan favorite villain from Doctor Who.  


Class, written by A Monsters Calls’ Patrick Ness and executive producer Steven Moffatt, follows Katherine Kelly’s Miss Quill and four students, played by Austin and newcomers Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah, and Fady Elsayed.  Even Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes an appearance at the beginning of the first season.  Moffat called the series dark and sexy and has labeled it a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Ness agreed, saying, “Adults watch Buffy because it’s a great show, but the POV and the agency are all teenage, and that’s what we want to do with Class.

Unfortunately, Class may not make it to the States before being cancelled back home.

Like many a British series, BBC America has been slow to announce the U.S. release date for Class.  Recall how long it takes Doctor Who and Sherlock to arrive in the U.S.  Some shows never get re-broadcast here.  Class aired in the UK last Fall, and we only now have an April date for the pilot to air here.  What is worse is that rumors began in British media last week that Class is on the chopping block at the BBC.  We may soon hear that it won’t be renewed for a second season.

Results from British media, critics, and Doctor Who fans have been positive, with Katherine Kelly’s Miss Quill noted as the best feature of the series.  Had Class aired in the United States by now, an enthusiastic push from American fans might have helped “boost the signal” for the show.  Will we even get to see the series before the final determination of the show’s survival is made?  Will U.S. audiences even bother with a series if it has been pronounced dead on arrival?

Just check out this great trailer for BBC’s Class:

Hopefully the British rumors are just that.  Look for Class on BBC America beginning April 15, 2017.

C.J. Bunce

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