High school reunions are fear-inducing enough without adding the apocalypse to the mix. That’s the premise of Prime Video’s newest show, Class of ’07, now streaming on the platform.
Class of ’07 follows Zoe (Emily Browning), fresh off a humiliating stint on a reality dating show. She’s gone off the grid in an attempt to heal her bruised ego, which just so happens to coincide with the 10-year high reunion of her all-girl’s private boarding school. And also a tidal wave.
The latest entry in the canon of apocalyptic series, Class of ’07 examines how we cope in the face of overwhelming danger and dwindling resources, with a healthy dose of comedy and nostalgia. Browning and co-star Caitlin Stasey, who international viewers will recognize from Reign, Please Like Me, and as the chilling grinning visage from the promotional poster for 2022’s surprise horror hit Smile, liken their own responses to such an event as being akin to Station Eleven, the HBO Max series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s book of the same name that follows a theater troupe at the end of the world.
“I fear for myself in the future because I don’t have a skillset outside of acting, and who needs a fucking actor?!” Stasey tells The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “Relative to the people I just did a show with, if you need entertainers, you’ve got 11 of them who are far more adept at entertaining!”
Stasey’s character Saskia was the requisite mean girl in high school but has reinvented herself into a positivity influencer—that is, until the heightened environment she finds herself in sees her regressing into old habits and reassuming the alpha position. Faced with this catastrophe in real life, Stasey says she’d probably be hoarding resources like some of the other characters on the show, or performing abortions, she jokes. “Come to me if you need a [back]street abortion!”
“Print that!” Browning laughs, noting that actually, given the dire state of reproductive rights in the U.S., where she and Stasey both live and work, that’s not such a calamitous proposition.
Despite Class of ’07 taking place smack-dab in the middle of the aughts nostalgia boom, it has modern parallels—most obviously to society’s hurtling towards end times at a devastating pace, but also to how COVID stunted many young peoples’ progress.
Filmed throughout Sydney, Australia, at the end of 2021 after two years of hardline COVID-19 lockdowns for the country, it was both actresses’ first time being back in the great southern land and seeing their families since the pandemic. One character’s storyline deals with how her stranding will affect her IVF, which, given the roadblocks COVID put in place, many people hoping to conceive over the past few years can certainly relate to. Another character is so ashamed of not being where she thought she’d be that she pretends she’s a doctor instead of a nail technician, which of course has disastrous ramifications when someone inevitably needs medical attention.
While Browning, who has starred in films like Sucker Punch and the series American Gods, didn’t attend her own high school reunion—and thus was spared the indignity of having to make up her own success stories—she says she was “a constant embarrassment in high school,” adding, “I was probably more Zoe-esque [then] than I am now. I didn’t have a filter and maybe spoke my mind a little too much and was loud and annoyed people.”
Stasey, who made a name for herself when she debuted on Aussie soap institution Neighbours when she was in high school, also didn’t attend her reunion.
“I wasn’t invited! Because I didn’t graduate so I don’t think I qualified,” she concedes.
Instead the two actresses reminisce about their horror stories of high school proper, such as being made fun of for normal bodily functions, such as toe hair, Stasey says.
“I’m so glad that Instagram didn’t exist when I was in high school,” Browning says. “I can’t imagine being a young girl today and seeing these [images]. It freaks me out, as a woman in my thirties. Looking at Instagram makes me feel like I want to die.”
Another thing that freaks her out? The waistlines of the period in which Class of ’07 looks back on and the fact that they’re in fashion again. “My waistlines are getting lower, but they’re never going to be as low as they were in 2003,” she says.
“It’s depressing buying stuff that you used to have and competing… with children, little 16-year-olds who are buying the same clothes as me and I’m like, I cannot do this. I need to respect myself and get out,” Stasey says, acknowledging that the outfit she has on is like she stepped out of a fashion magazine circa 2002: patterned velvet flares, a midriff ruffled blouse, a long beaded necklace that she stole from the set of Class of ’07, and a funky, half-grown-out love child of a mullet and a pixie cut that made me look twice when she walked in the room.
One thing’s for sure: She’s never going back to flared jeans worn with thongs—the Aussie vernacular for flip-flops—during the middle of winter “and getting the hems soaking wet. Fucking horrible.”
Baby-G watches, though, might be making a comeback, and the two ponder whether they can buy them on eBay.
“That brings up such a visceral feeling in me. I was so excited when I got [one of the watches] as a kid. Maybe that’s why the nostalgia thing is such a thing,” Browning says, reminiscing about the fairycore, raver, and vintage Prada and Miu Miu that she still has when she bought them the first time around.
“People who were teenagers and coming of age during that time are now the adults who are making content and are profiteers for nostalgia,” Stasey sagely offers. “The future is feeling less and less beautiful so we’re always going to be like, it was better then—for some people in some regards, the future had a lot to offer us and the future doesn’t feel so bright in a lot of ways.”
That’s the question at the center of Class of ’07: How is this rag-tag group of largely stagnated millennials going to overcome the shitty hand they’ve been dealt? And, indeed, it’s a conundrum for us all.
Keep obsessing! Sign up for the Daily Beast’s Obsessed newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.