The Lost

Jan. 3rd, 2017 03:16 pm
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Class)
It's sufficiently long since I saw The Lost that the details have somewhat blurred in my memory. However, if memory serves, it contains most of the strengths and the flaws of the series as a whole. On the plus side it is not afraid to explicitly move the status quo along by redefining Miss Quill's role and status, clearing away the antagonists from this series and rearranging the relationships of the core cast without allowing them to settle into any kind of cosy friendship. It also manages a good exploration of the episode's theme of loss which ties into the series themes of growing up and afterlives all framed in terms that focus on the characters while making the SF elements central to the action. The sacrificial love interest bucked all expectations by not being a sacrificial love interest, but this does make one wonder even more why he doesn't receive equal billing to the rest of the cast in the opening credits.

Spoilers and so forth )

I don't love this series, but I'll happily watch another season. It has a distinct identity from Doctor Who and the potential, and I think ability, to do different and interesting things with that identity. I hope it receives a second season.
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Class)
Oh, of course, one of Class's themes is interpretations of Heaven and Hell across cultures. In some ways I was surprised I hadn't spotted this earlier, both with the set-up of the Cabinet of Souls, and some of the conversation April and Ram had in the realm of the Shadow Kin, but it wasn't until this episode that I really cottoned onto the fact, perhaps because it is a less obvious theme to explore in a drama aimed squarely at teenagers which is otherwise mostly about growing up.

More, including spoilers for both this episode and next, under the cut )

I think it benefits Class as a whole to demonstrate that its stories need not necessarily revolve around the school and the teenagers. Given Katherine Kelly's Quill is one of the best characters in the series it was good to have something that explicitly centred upon her and developed the character. There are a lot of nice moments in The Metaphysical Engine but at the end of the day it felt a little more contrived than many of the other stories.

Detained

Dec. 13th, 2016 09:15 pm
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Class)
Class seems to be at its best in tighty focused episodes which are as much about the characters' emotional lives as they are about the science fiction. I would rate Night-visiting and Detained as the two best episodes of the first season and they both share this structure.

Locking all your characters in a room with no outside interaction is a device that can work well in a story. It is tempting to compare this to Edge of Destruction (having watched that recently) where the original Tardis crew find themselves trapped inside the Tardis. One of the clever things, arguably, about Edge of Destruction is that there is no alien threat, though the flipside of that is that the story fails to explain the characters' somewhat histrionic behaviour. Detained on the other hand has a clear external threat which, moreover, makes them feel angry and requires them to speak the truth in order to escape. As a device to scrape away the veneer of friendship in the group and expose the underlying tensions it is somewhat heavy-handed, but effective for all that.

Detained's position in the season is very obvious. Having, up until this point, built fragile alliances among its teenage protagonists, Class now shatters them just in time for the looming series finale. It's a strong episode but possibly a little heavy-handed in its execution.
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Class)
Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart and Brave-ish Heart lack the compactness and clear focus of the preceding two episodes. This allows them to attempt a structurally more complex story but I'm not sure that entirely works in their favour.

Spoilers under the cut )

All in all, another strong pair of episodes. The greater length gave the story more room for maneuver and let it attempt to tackle several interlinked events and ideas but the price was that it lacked the clarity of focus of Night-visiting and, I have to admit, if you were going to pick an actress from the core cast to carry a two-parter, I would have opted for Vivian Oparah.
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
Nightvisiting is another confident and assured episode from Class. The comparisons with Buffy are beginning to appear increasingly apt, since Buffy liked to make its Monster-of-the-Week an embodiment of the personal crises and dramas of its protagonists.

Spoiler Cut )

I feel about Nightvisiting much as I do about The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo. I can objectively appreciate its quality but I'm still waiting for the show to actually grab me. It may be that while its ideas and execution are pretty solid, it lacks much of a sense of fun (Miss Quill getting all the best lines). I think maybe its point-of-view is much more that of the teenager embroiled in the process of growing up than Buffy's (obvious point of comparison) which was always much more that of the adult looking back on their teenage years with compassion, but also with wry amusement at teenage obsessions and behaviour.
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Class)
The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo is a much more assured episode than For Tonight we Might Die. It feels like, without the burden of introducing the set-up, the characters and including the Doctor, the show actually has the space to tell the sorts of stories it wants to.

Mild Spoiler Cut )

I feel somewhat remote from this show, and particularly from this episode. It is, I think, objectively better than For Tonight we Might Die but engaged me less. I appreciate what it is doing and can see that it is doing it well, but I'm not yet excited by it.

*of course he may not be sacrificial love interest but there has to be something up because, were it not for his billing as a recurring rather than main character, he'd be indistinguishable in significance from the rest of the team.
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Class)
Class has been eagerly anticipated in our household since Patrick Ness is one of the Teenager's favourite authors. This episode certainly appeared to hit its target demographic pretty squarely (judging by an n of 1 + reported views of friends). I liked it, but less than the Teenager herself, who I think engaged very strongly with a vision of what might be like for herself in a couple of years' time.

Cut for mild Spoilers since I gather this has yet to materialise legally in the US )

There are a lot worse pilot episodes out there in the history of genre television, and indeed within the history of Doctor Who spinoffery. For all I felt For Tonight we Might Die struggled to fit everything that was needed into its 50 minutes, it did manage to establish a clear and distinct tone for the show: something clearly post-watershed in its use of violence and horror while at the same time focused around the viewpoint and concerns of modern teenagers. Something, in fact, distinctly YA which is unsurprising given the showrunner. While I did not feel entirely engaged by it, I wasn't irritated in the manner I often am by YA novels. I certainly have liked what I've seen so far better than both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

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