Based on the American comic book series written by Rick Remendera and illustrated by Wesley Craig, Deadly Class focuses on the teenage orphan Marcus Lopez Arguello, Benjamin Wadsworth (“Teen Wolf (TV)”, “Let The Right One In (TV)”) as he transcends from living on the streets to becoming a pupil at an elite school for assassins.
Is it original, well, no not really. It feels more like a space filler; something that’s cashing in on the current 80’s trend and ‘quite like a lot of other stuff so it’ll probably be successful’ rather than something original. That’s not to say it’s not entertaining just that from the moment it starts you pretty much know what you’re going to get.
The orphan and main character, Marcus suffers a fairly unimaginative childhood of dead parents, abusive teachers and a series of other unfortunate events. It’s a comic book story through and through, that’s not to say it’s bad, especially if that’s your cup of tea and given the success of the Marvel and DC movies of late I imagine Deadly Class is going to end up with a bit of a following.
The assassins school has cliques of course, just like every other American teen drama featuring a school, and the same old stereotypes crop up; the outcast skaters, the Japanese one’s who are of course Yakuza and the charming White Supremacists.
The individual characters too aren’t particularly original, there’s the promiscuous latin temptress with the overly-protective boyfriend figure. The sexy, unobtainable Asian girl, Lana Condor (“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”) whose lips draw Marcus down from the ledge in the pilot episode and whose lithe tattooed body is of course the object of his desires.
And no serious teen school series would be complete with the very British punk character (Johnny Rotten anyone?) whose wit is so sharp he’s in danger of cutting himself, but at least they didn’t make him into a fallen royal or something.
A character with an infamous reputation starts at a secret school for special children, he’s bullied by an older kid and falls for the star pupil. All sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it (Harry Potter…cough cough).
OK, so I think we’ve established it’s not hugely original, but what’s it like to watch? Actually it’s not that bad, the pilot episode drums up enough interest to make you want to watch the next episode. The acting is OK, although I can’t hear Benedict Wong’s (“The Martian“, “Doctor Strange“) voice (Master Lin) without thinking of Kublai Khan from Marco Polo.
Likewise the filming is OK, it’s not bad, it’s not spectacular but it doesn’t look cheap which is something.
Deadly Class of course is supposed to be entertainment but there is a part of me that contemplates the moral ambiguity of a series that glorifies murder and where the solution to all problems is violence and killing those you don’t like. In a way it’s just like all those other comic book series where the (anti)hero kills off the “bad-guys” to “clean up the streets” , it just happens to take it a step further.
As it turns out Deadly Class has actually been cancelled, so make of that what you will but for anyone wanting to watch 10 hours of fairly generic comic book-style teeny drama with a gruesome pulse pumping through it the first series is still available.