Synopsis of 1×5 – 1×8: Coal Hill will never be the same after this year. The class must battle more monsters as well as their own demons.

I am genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed Class on BBC America. The premise initially was not something I felt compelled to watch: high schoolers defend the Earth. Well, I’ll eat my words. Class season 1 is a thoroughly enjoyable, adventure-packed, emotionally charged, and completely thoughtful show. Spin-off doesn’t even seem like the correct term. They have their own villains, heroes, code of ethics, and they don’t wait for the Doctor to come save them. Tiny Torchwood, that’s what they are.

Episode Four left us on a cliffhanger. Episode Five, “Brave-ish Heart” has April and Ram traipsing through the Shadowlands in search of April’s heart. To get it back, she must defeat the Shadow King. With a little help from their dads (Ram’s dad is far superior to April’s bumbling father), she manages to win the day. She even manages to save Earth from flesh-eating flower petals using her new-found power as the Shadow King. Add tiny flowers to the list of everyday items Doctor Who has ruined for me.

Episode 6, “Detained,” seemed a little like a one-off. But its impact lasted for the final two episodes. Stuck in detention/alien prison, they must confess truths in order to get out. Matteusz admits that he’s afraid of how alien Charlie really is. April confesses that she might not reciprocate the intensity of Ram’s feeling for her; I respect her more and more. One by one they tell their truths, and one-by-one a rift is widened.

During this whole time, Quill is on her own adventure in Episode 7 “The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did.” Through a series of trials, she manages to get the all-controlling Arn out of her head. But she also forges a relationship with a shape-shifter named Ballon and comes back to reality with significant changes. These last two episodes are helmed by a woman known as Ames. She works for a group called The Governors who oversee Coal Hill. She claims they are academics, but they are something much more sinister.

The Shadow Kin return in the finale, “The Lost,” and its time to finally use the greatest weapon that must never be used. Emotions run high and loyalties are tested while the class of Coal Hill must make many sacrifices. April’s fate would certainly see me coming back for a season two. The Governors (and their alliance with the Weeping Angels) is also enough to make me want to come back to Class for a second year.

Overall, the show lived up to my hopes after the pilot (and truly, I wasn’t sure if it would). And it avoided the pitfalls and tropes that could tank a show like this. (So glad they didn’t #buryyourgays). If you haven’t given Class a chance, give it a try. Now that Sense8 is gone, it might be just the ensemble science-fiction show you need.

Class can been seen on BBC America.

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