Class Season 1 review – The Indian Elite is just as binge-worthy

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 3, 2023 (Last updated: February 7, 2023)
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Class Season 1 review - The Indian Elite is just as binge-worthy


Class reworks Netflix’s hit Elite to unsurprisingly binge-worthy effect.

This review of the Netflix Hindi series Class Season 1 does not contain spoilers.

You can rely on Netflix for at least a couple of things. One is canceling your favorite show. Another is milking successful IP for all it’s worth. As we’ve seen with Money Heist getting a South Korean remake, the streamer isn’t above giving an old story a new lick of paint. Such is the case with Class, an Indian remake of the Spanish-language mega-hit Elite, which is still continuing apace itself. You can’t move for lurid teen dramas these days, and this one combines the usual formula – immense wealth and class disparity backdropping young-adult misbehavior – to surprisingly binge-worthy effect.

Class Season 1 review and plot summary

It’s a good premise, to be fair. You get all the social-issues drama you need – gender, sexuality, identity, and so on, and so forth – along with a stark commentary on caste and, for good measure, a melodramatic murder plot. There’s plenty of opportunity for fun costuming and production, and you can fill the thing full of good-looking young actors. Everyone’s a winner.

You can tell that showrunner Ashim Ahluwalia sees the fictional Hampton International School in New Delhi as an opportunity not just to re-do Elite but also to filter it through a self-aware lens that feels as if it’s trying to top itself just for fun. Whereas that show is sometimes off-puttingly self-serious, here, three audience-surrogate students arrive on campus almost with the awareness that we’ve seen it all before.

Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli have been transferred because their old school has burned down. Hampton sees their rehousing as good PR, an elite establishment giving back to the community, but it’s obviously a gimmick. Among the upper-class students, all scions of impossibly wealthy businessmen and industrialists, is the son of the builder who may or may not be responsible for the fire that burned down Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli’s school in the first place.

There’s a lot that’s overly familiar here. Piyush Khati, Madhyama Segal, and Cwaayal Singh, who play the transfers, do a good job of making their plight believable despite our acquaintance with the format, though. By the time a troubled student named Suhani (Anjali Sivaraman) is found dead, apparently murdered, we’re already quite deep into our checklist of expected tropes, and we’re only one episode – of eight – into the story.

Is Class good?

That story employs a lot of the same formal tricks as Elite, cutting backward and forwards through time and presenting the same events from multiple perspectives. You’ll buy in, eventually, because the po-faced drama is designed to get its hooks in, even while you continue to notice – and often, at least in my case, laugh at – the more ridiculous elements. If the intention of a show like Class is to deliver a highly entertaining but deeply familiar experience, then it succeeds more than it has any real right to, thanks at least in part to some legitimately strong construction and tonal control.

You’ve seen it all before, of course. But what’s the harm in seeing it again?

What did you think of the Netflix Hindi series Class Season 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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