Doctor Who has launched a few spinoffs in the years since its 2005 revival. The latest will be Class, and it looks like it'll be distinctly different from the other shows set in the Who universe. The series will have a young adult slant and follow a cast of teen characters in a school setting, and according to creator Patrick Ness, Class has been modeled after a TV show that is beloved by many: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ness explained why he fashioned Class after Buffy, saying this:
Adults watch that, because it's a great show, but the POV and the agency are all teenage, and that's what we want to do with Class. It needs to be from the point of view of the sixth-formers - but that doesn't mean that it's necessarily a 'young show.'
Class does sound like it shares some key similarities with Buffy, partly due to its setting being a school that goes through crazy shenanigans thanks to some properties that make it a monster magnet. The new Who spinoff will take place at the Coal Hill School, which happens to be located in an area in which the walls of time and space are breaking just enough to leak some unwelcome visitors through to the U.K. Frankly, it sounds like it wouldn't be too hard to imagine a Buffy/Class spinoff if the rules of time and space don't apply. Buffy revolved around teens, but it certainly couldn't have been called a show just for kids. If Class manages the same kind of appeal to adults and teens alike, this drama could have a long future ahead of it.
Similarities aside, Patrick Ness went on in his chat with Empire Magazine to reveal that there will certainly be key differences from Buffy, saying this about what sets Class apart:
We're not telling stories of the 'chosen ones.' It's happenstance that puts these people [at the center of things]. What if your timing is just weird and things happen to you? How do you deal with it? I'm interested in real consequences. The Doctor is always exciting, but he never stays. He goes off on the next adventure. What happens to real people?
Doctor Who has touched on the fact that the Doctor has been known to gleefully wreak havoc on time and space without sticking around to deal with the mess; it should be interesting to see how Class handles timey-wimey consequences in the same setting on a weekly basis. Peter Capaldi is set to appear as the Doctor in an episode of Class at some point, and the youngsters may have some serious words for him if they've been dealing with the effects of his travels in time.
It's impossible to say at this point if we can expect Class to attract the same kind of intensely loyal following as Buffy. Patrick Ness seems to have the right idea about borrowing some of what made Buffy work without stealing any of its big elements. Hopefully the young and diverse cast who will walk the halls of Coal School will deliver.
Class will premiere in the U.K. on BBC Three in October, and its initial season will consist of eight episodes. There's no word of when we on the American side of the pond will get to see the latest Doctor Who spinoff, but we can cross our fingers that BBC America sets a date sooner rather than later. Check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see what you'll be able to catch on the small screen in the meantime.