What have we here? Another day, another freak show.
This one is called “Deadly Class.” Elevator pitch: It’s Hogwarts for teenaged assassins.
It is a nasty show that makes heroes out of young murderers. It posits that violent acts of vengeance are honorable, as long as the individuals who are marked for death are truly deserving of summary, capital punishment.
The ones making this judgement of whether certain people will live or die are the teenaged assassins themselves under the supervision of their headmaster. This show makes a mockery of justice.
In this academy for young murderers called Kings Dominion, the headmaster is a beefy Asian named Master Lin, played inscrutably by Benedict Wong.
In one of the show's opening sequences, he disciplines an unruly girl student in his class by suddenly smashing her in the nose with his cane, and then blithely continuing with his lecture about assassins who have had an oversized influence on world history.
In the aftermath, she seductively licks her own blood, leaving your TV blogger to marvel once again at the depths into which TV will plunge in search of entertainment.
Master Lin's subject on this particular day is Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in June 1914 in Sarajevo is credited with igniting World War I.
It is unclear whether Princip was an alumnus of Kings Dominion, but Lee Harvey Oswald was -- class of ’57, according to a plaque on a wall in the school.
This show premieres Wednesday night on Syfy. It is adapted, as so many shows like this are, from a graphic novel or a series of them. Having never become a devotee of these gussied-up comic books, I never know if they are book series or one-offs.
I only know, based admittedly on my somewhat narrow exposure to them through various TV shows that get made from them, that the worlds depicted by graphic novels -- at least the ones adapted for television -- are sad, violent and nihilistic.
Speaking of specious history, “Deadly Class” takes place in San Francisco in 1987, and as such, means to make various statements and generalizations about the era and the administration of President Ronald Reagan (1981-89).
The premiere episode of “Deadly Class” is even titled “Reagan Youth,” a title which, intentionally or not, bears an eerie similarity to “Hitler Youth.”
Whatever the title’s intention, the episode repeatedly makes the claim that Reagan administration policies cut funding for mental health facilities and services so severely that it produced armies of homeless mental patients roaming urban streets, including an abundance of homicidal teenagers who this inscrutable headmaster can then mold into vigilante murderers.
One of these homeless teens is named Marcus, played by Benjamin Wadsworth (pictured above). He is an orphan who witnessed both of his parents be murdered, which has supposedly turned him into a murderer, or a potential one, himself.
He is recruited to join the student body at Kings Dominion by a group of other students. Actually, he is, if you pardon the expression, shanghaied into enrolling at the school, which is hidden inside San Francisco’s Chinatown.
To Marcus’ surprise, this school of murderers has cliques just like other high schools -- only here, the other students don't mind killing you, or at least threatening to.
As much as I try to be open-minded in the performance of my job, I had to conclude, after watching the premiere episode of “Deadly Class,” that watching this show was a sad, disheartening experience.
It is “Harry Potter” for killers -- something no one needs, nor necessarily should want.
“Deadly Class” premieres Wednesday (January 16) at 10 p.m. Eastern on Syfy.