The pilot for Deadly Class dropped on YouTube ahead of the regular series premiere. The series is based on the comic book of the same name, created by Rick Remender. The series promises to be full of angsty teenagers, studying the Deadly Arts and practicing them on each other. Unfortunately, the Deadly Class pilot doesn’t stray from the teenage drama status quo.
The set-up for Deadly Class is like a twisted, Reagan-era Harry Potter. Homeless teenager Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth) gets recruited by King’s Dominion High School. King’s Dominion trains the next generation of killers, under the tutelage of Master Lin (Benedict Wong). The pilot focuses on Marcus’ struggle to find allies in the hyper-violent high school. It’s a very familiar origin story, and the Deadly Class pilot doesn’t stray far from the formula.
The set-up for the series is pretty basic. A teenage boy enters a new world, but he quickly rises to the top. After only a couple of days, Marcus shows up the school bully, gets into a love triangle, and somehow factors into Master Lin’s secret master plan. The dark assassin twist is an interesting new take, but it doesn’t spruce up the plot that much. The core story in the Deadly Class pilot is still very well-trod territory. The blood-red coat of paint doesn’t add enough to the high school story tropes.
There’s some good acting & directing in Deadly Class, to be sure. The series definitely has a unique style. However, the pilot doesn’t give many of the actors a real chance to shine. There’s also a shockingly low amount of action in the pilot. For a series focused on teenage killers, there are very few exciting fight scenes. Because the pilot has to introduce everyone, it makes sense that there’d be little time for action. But the series is called Deadly Class. There’s little to suggest these kids are all that deadly.
That said, it’s just a pilot. There’s so much work a pilot needs to do for setting up a show. It makes sense that Deadly Class won’t get into all the action right away. What makes this pilot disappointing is how unoriginal that set-up is. The pilot doesn’t promise enough of an edge to keep watching. It’s entirely possible that the rest of the seasons will blow expectations away. However, it’s probably only the diehard Deadly Class comic book fans that will stick around.