(Joe and Daniel from That Hashtag Show are joined by Doctor Who Expert, Cynthia Egan as they discuss series 10’s premiere of Doctor Who, “The Pilot”.)
Class is now in session!…Nope too easy…Doctor Who gets a “Classy” Spin-off…no…nevermind…let’s just jump right into it. To fully grasp the new series spin-off, Class, one must first understand Steven Moffat’s unhealthy obsession with the classic (…or class-ic) Doctor Who serials and easter eggs…both of which actually came together very nicely to create this new show. The series takes place in Coal Hill; where the FIRST Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman began first raised the suspicions of two teachers who went on to become the very first human travelers with the Doctor. This throwback had a nice touch, especially for a Classic who fan, like myself…but thankfully, this show doesn’t spend forever in the past and once the story got started, I was hooked!
The Pilot does start off a little slow and the characters are still a little 2-dimensional, even by the end of the episode…especially the character of Sophie Hopkins played by April MacLean. When her obvious foil was a need for love and she literally “loses her heart” or “is sharing it” or “it’s in another dimension”, I couldn’t help but grumble, but otherwise the characters are pretty well rounded and the wide cast allows a “Once Upon a Time” or “Buffy” melodrama kind of feel to it…which leads me to how self aware the show is…mentioning both shows within the span of minutes to let the audience know that they know who they are appealing to and I actually really liked the way they dropped pop culture and Who references into the show without being too blatant, as well. For example; Tom Baker’s costumer, Laura Hudson in the shop was a cute gag.
The overall story felt a little campy too, but in a good way. The ‘aliens’ in the show; Miss Quill and Charlie Smith (played by Katherine Kelley and Greg Austin) have incredible chemistry and a neat lead into why they are here. Their own backstories seem complex and I look forward to getting small pieces of info about them as the show progresses.
I was a little disappointed with the minimalist take that Peter Capaldi did in the show. While his performance was great, and I do not think he should be in every episode, I feel like he was in a rush to leave and that’s not the Doctor’s typical role within his own show. A two parter where he appeared from the get-go as opposed to dropping him in as a cameo would have felt more natural…we ALL know he was going to show up…he didn’t need build-up.
On a kinder note…I absolutely LOVED the realism of the student interactions with each other…the only thing that binds them is their new awareness of aliens and it shows. The interactions feel awkward…sometimes even forced, like real highschool…as opposed to a Babysitter’s Club or Captain Planet. Phenomenal acting from Vivian Oparah as Tanya Adeola. I am absolutely fascinated to see where her story goes and I feel like she has the most to lose and the most to gain in all of this. If the Doctor is actually just bored and playing “Survivor” with these kids to see who his next companion should be, my money would be on Tanya.
Overall, I really enjoyed the show and I look forward to seeing episode two next week!