Have you watched Deadly Class yet? If not, you really should, unless you hate fun. Or maybe you’re morally opposed to teenaged assassins learning how to get stabbier, so if that’s the case go ahead and sit this out. But if watching cool, hip teen assassins get off the mope wagon and get hill crazy sounds like your cup of tea, here’s 7 reasons why SYFY needs to get this amazing show renewed for a second season before I run out of tears.
Deadly Class in a World of its Own
Deadly Class takes place in 1987, during the waning years of the Reagan administration and the rise of the social disaffection many of the soon to be dubbed Generation X were feeling towards society. The show largely focuses on the goings-on at a boarding school… for assassins.
Kings Dominion is a finishing school for assassins. Located in San Francisco, California, Kings Dominion is managed under the watchful eye of Master Lin and his legion of Murder Monks.
Leading crime families from around the world send their children to Kings Dominion to learn the art of assissination, murder, and general kill craft. Those students are called Legacy students, and the legacies go to great lengths to keep each other at bay.
Master Lin also recruits kids without prominent families to Kings, but these “Rats” have it pretty rough from the beginning. The Legacy students bully the rats incessantly, and few rats are expected to survive the Great Freshman Exam.
Kings Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts has no association with the Kings Dominion Amusement Park in Doswell, Virginia, as far as I know.
Deadly Class features an ensemble cast unlike any I have seen in a long time. The younger cast members are believable in their roles, mostly because they aren’t a bunch of 30 year old actors playing at being teenagers. Benjamin Wadsworth plays Marcus, a conflicted kid with a poet’s heart, sick of violence and pretentiousness in the world, and yet… he’s a killer; Liam James plays Billy; a good kid who was sold to a boarding school for assassins by the mob; Luke Tennie plays Willie, a supposed gang-banger who is hiding his pacifism; Lana Condor is Saya, a Yakuza princess who may be the deadliest killer on earth; María Gabriela de Faría plays Maria, an assassin from Mexico who dresses in Day of the Dead makeup when she’s on the hunt.
Each and every one of the primary actors plays real, living, breathing people. Each one of these kids feels fully fleshed out from the first episode. Marcus is pretentious as hell, but he knows it, and even jokes about it. Billy’s pain over his dad’s abuse is palpable; Saya’s rebellion from her family doesn’t feel like a part. Willie is split between his duty to his family, his loyalty to his friends, and his strong desire to run off with his girlfriend. It all feels very, very real.
Then you get to Benedict Wong, who plays Master Lin, the enigmatic headmaster of Kings Dominion. There is a slowly simmering fury raging under the surface of a brutal benevolence: you can never tell what Lin’s motivation is, whether he wants the kids to survive, or if he’s using them as pawns for some secret agenda of his own. Wong plays Lin with a stretched-thin kindness, one that feels like it could snap and bring forth a torrent of rage and pain. It’s terrifying at times.
The supporting cast is equally brilliant, and you find yourself wishing they were on more. Taylor Hickson’s Petra is the perfect goth dream-girl, but there is an edge and wit to her that cuts thin. Sean Depner’s portrayal of Viktor, a spoiled, pompous Russian sack of muscle is hysterically funny at times, but he’s a beast in a fight. Siobhan Williams plays Brandy, an obnoxious southern white supremacist that fights in a cheer-leader uniform.
Party Like it’s 1987
A lot of ’80s centric movies and TV shows focus on the New-Wave glitz that permeated the decade, or focus on bubble-gum acts like Madonna and Wham! for their soundtracks. Deadly Class dives head-first into music that fits each character, with bands like The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, and Love and Rockets sharing the same soundscape as Dead Kenndys, Iron Maiden, Agent Orange, Public Enemy, and Fugazi.
Each episode of Deadly Class is named after a song from the ’80s, and those songs flavor the episodes they grace. It’s an amazingly well curated collection of music, and you can check out the playlist here.
There have been some brilliant villains in Deadly Class so far, from the intense, steady menace of Chico (Michel Duval), Maria’s boyfriend and Marcus’ worst nightmare. Duval is quiet, unbridled rage, with a swagger and charm that can’t be beat.
Then there’s the Kuroki brothers, a pair of brutal Japanese enforcers who come to Kings Dominion to capture Saya. They are sharp dressers, and wear some pretty spiffy masks to boot!
Chester “F***face” Wilson (Tom Stevens) is probably the biggest bad of the season, and has a serious bone to pick with Marcus. He’s also obsessed with gaining the fame he thinks Marcus has stolen from him, and has embarked on a murder spree (with the help of his hillbilly cousins) with the goal of getting invited to be on Donahue. Stevens is amazing in the part, with a beautiful singing voice, too. His talks with Chico are some of the best- and most horrific- scenes in the series.
But the real menace of Deadly Class, at least in season one, was the Scorpio Slasher, brilliantly brought to life by French Stewart. The Slasher is a teacher at Kings Dominion, and he’s not at all impressed by the student body:
SAVE DEADLY CLASS!
There’s not a lot fans of Deadly Class can do right now, other than bugging SYFY nearly daily to get the show renewed. There is a petition circulating right now that is hoping to spread the word a bit, too, and you can find that here.
You can catch the entire first season of Deadly Class on SYFY on demand through your local cable or internet provider.