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TV Review: Deadly Class

Deadly Class, SYFY, Henry Rollins, Benedict Wong, Lana Condor, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Comic Book, Drama Action

SYNOPSIS: The story of teenage orphan Marcus Lopez Arguello as he transitions from living on the streets to being enrolled into a school of assassins. The academy, run by Master Lin, is composed of children of mob bosses and mass murderers, learning the same trade as their parents.

Deadly Class, SYFY, Henry Rollins, Benedict Wong, Lana Condor, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Comic Book, Drama Action

REVIEW: If I were to tell you there is a really good show about teenagers being trained in the arts of murder and torture with an impressive cast, a killer soundtrack, and AVENGERS: ENDGAME filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo aboard as producers, would you be interested? Now, how would you feel if I told you that it airs on SYFY? Yeah, that's right. The network best known for SHARKNADO and some of the cheesiest science fiction movies and series has stepped up their game and delivered a series that looks and feels like a feature film with some edge to it. Deadly Class looks good and has a lot of potential to compete with fare airing on Netflix and HBO, but the first episode doesn't do more than set up the vast fictional world of King's Dominion and the cast of characters populating the school of deadly arts. 

Based on the comic book series of the same name by Rick Remender, Deadly Class is a blend of HARRY POTTER's school setting, KICK-ASS' violence and profanity, and the slick editing of a 1980s music video. The Russo Brothers have been working on this adaptation for several years and even without directing the first episode, their influence can be felt in the first chapter of the show. Unfortunately, not having Joe and Anthony Russo in the driver's seat leaves something to be desired as the pilot is crammed with exposition to set up the first season of the show. Because we don't really have much of an investment in any of these characters, it becomes difficult to want to follow them for an entire season of misadventures. Still, there is something hypnotic about the editing and soundtrack of this show that makes you want to keep watching.

King's Dominion is presented as the hired assassin equivalent of Hogwarts school. Lead character Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth) is brought in after becoming homeless. His parents, killed by a schizophrenic who was released due to President Ronald Reagan's Mental Health Systems Act, left Marcus to end up in a shelter he may or may not have burned to the ground, killing everyone inside. Recruited by Saya (X-MEN: APOCALYPSE's Lana Condor), Marcus is given the choice to enroll at King's Dominion, under the tutelage of Master Lin (DOCTOR STRANGE's Benedict Wong) or remain homeless. Clearly, Marcus decides to join the school. What follows is a series of scenes meant to introduce us to this other layer of society. The school is populated by other potential killers being trained in the deadly arts. Some are the children of assassins while others were recruited for their potential. This leaves Marcus as our gateway to learn about this new world.

The problem is Marcus doesn't seem to really care and that forces us to ask the same question. As he encounters the various cliques at King's Dominion, ranging from gangbangers to Neo-Nazis and crime syndicate families, it becomes difficult to not cringe at the bluntness of the material which wants you to sympathize with evil characters and even grow to like them. One of the Nazi characters, Brandi, is a very sexy blonde who passes Marcus a note covered in swastikas. With the state of the world today, this could be interpreted as an indictment of such hatred and evil, but I doubt that the target audience watching this may take it that way.

Deadly Class, SYFY, Henry Rollins, Benedict Wong, Lana Condor, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Comic Book, Drama Action

Directed by Riverdale helmer Lee Toland Krieger, Deadly Class' pilot has a lot of potential but it is challenging to introduce viewers while maintaining expectations for fans of the comic series. With over two dozen issues of the comic released so far, there is plenty of material to keep this series going for some time. Based on a single episode, it is tough to judge this show and where it is going, but it does have pontential thanks to the 1980s setting and the flashy editing. The cast is all good and there is even a nice supporting performance from Henry Rollins, but there is simultaneously too much going on and not enough. I am intrigued enough to check out the next episodes of the show but what was once a series I had high expectations for are greatly diminished.

Deadly Class premieres on January 16th on SYFY, but you can stream the full, uncensored first episode via the YouTube embed below.

Source: JoBlo.com

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