We didn’t really expect Class to have the same type of tone as the former Doctor Who spinoff anyway, but it’s kind of weird just how close the premise for Patrick Ness’ show actually is to the former adventures of Captain Jack and friends.
Speaking to Empire, Ness discussed the premise for Class for the first time, explaining just why so many aliens and monsters would start appearing at a secondary school in Shoreditch all of a sudden:
Coal Hill has existed in Doctor Who since literally episode one. The Doctor’s granddaughter went there. So we thought, ‘All that time activity at the school, has that caused any problems?’ Well, what do you know, it has!
In the article included in the current print issue, Ness explains that the Doctor’s former activities in and around Coal Hill has caused rifts in time and space to open all over the school, allowing aliens and beings from different times and realities to slip into our own. So you know, exactly like Torchwood, where the Doctor’s former activities in and around Cardiff caused a rift in time and space to open all over the city, allowing aliens and beings from different times and realities to slip into our own. But with teens!
Except where Torchwood first had a hilariously immature grasp of adult content when it first began (one it thankfully grew out of), Class seems to want to skew its audience towards comparisons with the tone and protagonists of a show like Buffy, according to Ness:
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. It needs to be from the point of view of the sixth-formers — but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a ‘young show’.
We’re not telling stories of the ‘chosen ones’. It’s happenstance that puts these people [at the centre of things]. What if your timing is just weird and things happen to you? How do you deal with it? I’m interested in real consequences. The Doctor is always exciting, but he never stays. He goes off on the next adventure. What happens to real people?
(British translation note: A sixth former in UK education is someone studying for their last two years of higher education before moving on to University, and are around 16 to 18 years old. They’re high school students, basically.)
It sounds intriguing, but given the similar premise and even the fact the show will also include a gay lead, just as Torchwood did, it’s hard not to feel like this is the BBC’s new attempt at a Torchwood 2.0, in a way. Class is scheduled to air later this year both in the UK and on BBC America in the US.