As a comic book series, Deadly Class is something that I missed the first time around. I’m a bit surprised, as I have been a big fan of Rick Remender’s comic book writing, the art looked great, and the cover logo — cover logos are something I’m weirdly obsessed with — looked great. As such, I didn’t know what to expect for Deadly Class the TV series which premieres tonight on Syfy.
It’s safe to say I was absolutely missing out.
As a TV series, Deadly Class succeeds on many levels. The pilot episode is directed by Lee Toland Krieger who helmed the Riverdale pilot. As such, the show immediately has a unique and impressive look, and the individual locations — whether it’s a “shanty town” or the Kings Dominion school — have their own special feel. I also cannot understate how valuable the soundtrack is to this series. The composed stuff is fantastic, but so are the song choices, which firmly place the show in its 1980s setting without being a [negative] distraction.
Another comparison I’d make to Riverdale’s best traits — and, trust, the two shows have very little in common plot-wise — is that the series picked up some young actors that I’d never really been exposed to, and yet, of those young actors, all of them bring their A-game. Benjamin Wadsworth as Marcus, the series lead, especially stands out. Lana Condor is, of course, popular from many recent projects including To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before; she also really made an impression. Of course I am also familiar with Benedict Wong who plays Master Lin, but as I said, most of the cast was new to me.
Appreciated by me is the way that, rather than taking a comic book concept and just running with it, Deadly Class stays very true. Rick Remender who created the series with artist Wes Craig is heavily involved with the TV adaptation, and it shows. Likewise, Wes Craig’s artwork certainly influenced he look of the series, with some animated moments seemingly lifted directly from the comic book page. The show doesn’t often adapt the color palette of Lee Loughridge but I do suspect that might come into play with time.
Being about a school for young assassins, it’s not surprising that there’s violence in this series, but what surprised me is how much more tastefully it is handled over, say, Titans on DC Universe. Considering the source material I expected the show to possibly be disgustingly gory. Don’t get me wrong: There is blood, but it doesn’t seem over the top and always seems appropriate for this show.
For all there is to see on Deadly Class, I have only one complaint, and that is that so many new characters are thrown at us that I, as someone new to this world, can’t remember the character names, though I assume they were said out loud and I had just forgotten. So for now, it’s Marcus, Master Lin, Lana Condor, Stoic Guy, Maria, Chico, Young John Constantine, Quentin Quire, White Girl, Harry Connick Jr., Nerdy Guy, and Putin Jr.. Name tags, please? In all seriousness, I don’t fault the series for this, and it might be intentional — like Marcus, we as an audience are new to the school and these people, and we will surely get to know them more over time.
Ultimately, Syfy has another hit on their hands with this one, assuming people sample it, and fortunately Syfy is offering up many opportunities, as it will be re-aired a few times after its 10pm premiere. Now if only we can get an official soundtrack release for the show, and I’ll be happy. Definitely a must-watch, and if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have to go to the store and find me some Deadly Class comics. I can’t wait to see more of this world.
See some photos from the Deadly Class series premiere “Reagan Youth” below.