When the Doctor Who spinoff Class was announced last year, I had second thoughts. A lot of second thoughts. Would a show without the titular Doctor be able to hold an audience? Would a show coming from the chaste legacy of Who (remember when a Doctor and companion kissing was practically scandalous?) be able to depict twenty first century teenage relationships, including same sex relationships, accurately?
The answer to both these questions: yes.
If you're not familiar with Class, it takes place at Coal Hill Academy (formerly known as Coal Hill School), which has been part of the Whoniverse since 1963. While the Twelfth Doctor makes an appearance in the first episode, it exists on its own terms (you don’t need to be a Whovian in order to appreciate it. Think Alien of the Week with a side of Teenage Angst™. These kids are worrying about an alien invasion and making the football team and sixth form homework. Like, how do you plan the senior prom when you are sharing your heart with a demon (that looks surprisingly like teenage Groot)?
What I find most refreshing is the portrayal of relationships. It doesn't shy away from things being messy or dirty, like when you're in a floating classroom in the middle of space and you decide to have the Let’s Talk About Your Relationship Talk.
Moreover, there's all kinds of relationships: platonic opposite sex relationships, romantic relationships and as reported here at Geeks OUT last June, the first gay male lead in the Whoniverse since Jack Harkness on Torchwood (as Charlie Smith, who also just happens to be an alien himself). And these relationships are just there. No one makes a big deal that their two friends are dating who just happen to be male. You're not hit over the head with the diversity, which has more of an impact than commenting on it every damn minute.
I haven't even begun to touch on the gloriousness that is Coal Hill's physics teacher/alien wrangler, Andrea Quill. She deserves her own Appreciation Society and GIF-based listicle.
Just a small taste of Quill greatness.
Is it the best TV show you’re not watching? Probably. So go pay a visit to Coal Hill this weekend. It's on BBC America right after Doctor Who, so you don’t even have to change the channel. The rumor is that the show’s renewal decision is hinging on how it performs in the US (it has already aired in Canada and the UK). Go forth and give these kids, who are showing us proper representation of queer romance and all kinds of love, all the love they deserve.