If you follow us on social media then you probably have noticed our obsession with SyFy’s upcoming series Deadly Class. And for good reason. The show looks like something we have never seen on TV before. And now that we have seen the first episode of this new show (titled “Regan Youth”), we can say with certainty that it’s one of the most unique, unexpected, interesting and gritty shows of the past few years. One that’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. But will grab your attention and make you think and see things in a new perspective.
Spoiler warning is now in effect! If you don’t want me to spoil what happens in the first episode of Deadly Class, X out now or deal with the spoiler-rage later.
Background on Deadly Class
But before we dive into what we thought of the new series, here’s a little background info on it. Deadly Class is based on a comic book series by the same name created by Rick Remender with the help of illustrator by Wesley Craig, colorist by Lee Loughridge, and letterer Rus Wooton. Rick Remender also serves as showrunner of the 10-episode TV series alongside Miles Orion Feldsott and Mick Betancourt. All three of them are executive producers of the show along with Mike Larocca and the Russo brothers (Joe and Anthony Russo). And Deadly Class stars Benedict Wong, Lana Condor, Benjamin Wadsworth, María Gabriela de Faría, Luke Tennie, Michel Duval, Liam James among others.
The show is set in 1987 San Francisco, a time when Ronald Reagan ruled the White House, the Cold War raged on, and the yuppie way of life had a strong hold on the public. However, there were also those who were against the yuppie ideal. Those who went against the grain and didn’t quite fit in. And Deady Class is largely about these people. They might be the children of mob bosses, drug cartel leaders, and corrupt cops, who are attending a school where they teach how to kill. But they are still the society’s outsiders who all have finally found a place where they do fit in.
And at the center of it all is Marcus. A homeless teen suspected of having set a house full of his fellow foster kids on fire. Marcus has been living on the streets and dodging cops for years when he gets recruited into joining King’s Dominion, school of the deadly arts. But while Marcus finally is off the streets, at King’s Dominion he has to face a whole new set of obstacles. Some of which include brutal social cliques and a curriculum that will test his limits, beliefs, and morale to no end.
Dark, gritty and real
Now that we know what Deadly Class is about we can dive into the review of this new series. And the words dark, gritty and real are the first adjectives that come to mind after watching the pilot episode of the show. The show is in no way a light comedy or even a procedural drama. It’s something much rougher. A snapshot of teenage angst wrapped in violence and 80’s counterculture. However, it’s also insightful and thought-provoking. A combination that is extremely rare and that, in this case, works like a charm.
The main character Marcus is one that’s rarely seen on TV. Not because his homeless status starting out the series or the fact that he lost his parents when he was young. But rather because of the anger, dread, and fear he’s carrying around. And you can clearly see different combinations of these three emotions come out during the course of the first episode. Yet, by the end of it, after he has finally done something he could never do before, killed his tormentor, Marcus finally seemed to accept these powerful emotions that are raging inside of him. And that in turn let him gain a family in King’s Dominion.
But Marcus isn’t the only complicated character on the series. In fact, all of them seem to have layers upon layers of secrets, trauma, fury and over complex emotions that will no doubt come out to play in the remaining 9 episodes of Deadly Class season one. Take the school’s headmaster Master Lin. He seems levelheaded and all-seeing, but even his hardened exterior still hides a rage over his family’s wrongful deaths. Or Willie who’s secretly a pacifist although he’s street rep is that of a hardened gangster. All the characters on this show are damaged. But in a place like King’s Dominion, that might be the only way to survive. And luckily, we have to chance to go along for the ride and see these characters fighting for survival and their place at the school.
Some rep you got
One of the most fascinating aspects of the show’s pilot episode is how skillfully the writers use reputation to drive the plot of the show. They quickly established that your reputation at King’s Dominion is everything. Yet that it also won’t protect you from getting beat up in a hallway. It’s the thing that defines your social standing among your peers. And the thing that you can use to get the bullies off of your back. Which means that, just like in regular high school, it’s everything and nothing at the same time.
Only in Deadly Class, your reputation isn’t being a geek or a jock. Rather it’s being a cold-blooded killer or a Nazi. And the stakes aren’t being part of the popular crowd or considered a loser. It’s that those who like you will ask you to join their gang. While those who don’t like you will try to kill you. Which is a great way for writers to make sure that everyone can relate to at least one of the show’s characters. Because let’s face it, a private school for assassins isn’t really a thing. However, most of us have gone through the trials and tribulations of high school.
Makes you think
Finally, maybe the best part of Deadly Class besides how visually unique the show is and how amazing it’s wardrobe, make-up, hair and set design departments are is the fact that this series isn’t just your typical garden-variety TV show where you switch off your brain and stare at the screen. I mean, you can do that, too. But the beauty of Deadly Class is that it actually makes you think about big topics like your place in society and if killing can ever be justified. It’s thought-provoking. And lets you not only enjoy some badass action but also ponder your views on many different topics that you probably usually don’t think that much about. And if a show can do that while also delivering a stunning visual performance, that’s a winner in our book!
The bottom line
If you asked us if we recommend you to watch Deadly Class, our answer would be a resounding yes. This show is quite different from everything else you have seen on TV, but that’s just another reason to check out this series. It really is the show that you didn’t know you needed but you will be so glad to have. And if you’re still on the fence about watching Deadly Class because of how dark it seems, just give it a chance. It might surprise you! Since under all the punching, kicking and blood, there are fascinating characters doing fascinating things. And you might just find a part of yourself in one of them.
While if you are a fan of the Deadly Class graphic novel, it’s all the more reason to watch this TV adaptation. It sticks closely to the source material, even incorporating moving version on the actual comic in one of the scenes of the first episode. Has the same dark feel to it. And basically is the live-action version of the comic book that you probably imagined while reading Deadly Class comic.
The bottom line? There is no reason for you not to watch Deadly Class!