Kelly - Lauren Socha
Curtis - Nathan Stewart Jarrett
Alisha - Antonia Thomas
Simon - Iwan Rheon
Nathan - Robert Sheehan
OTHER MISFITS SEASONS
OTHER SUPERHERO SHOWS
Birds of Prey
A bunch of low-level offenders from a city housing estate are assigned community service, something they take to like ducks to potholing. They get caught in a weird hailstorm and find that some of them have started to gain strange powers. This might not be a moment too late as the supervisor of the work detail has become a murderous zombie.
This series wants to be a gritty, youth-orientated show that speaks directly to its core audience and so has rebellious youths, bad language, blood, drugs and sex and superpowers all in one half hour. It's all directed in a hyper-kinetic fashion to appeal to the kids and uses their street language. The thing is that it might be trying too hard. The premise is strong enough to stand up on its own without the need for flashy direction and editing.
The other thing is that, though the show wants the audience to identify with the kids they really are a bunch of thoroughly dislikable yobs. One is thrown out of the house by a mother wanting to try a new relationship. Instead of feeling his betrayal with him, the audience can only wonder why it took her so long. And whilst we're being introduced to these characters there isn't enough time to get much of a plot in place, although by the end the gang have seen one of their number brutally slain, have gained their powers, killed a man and buried his body. A busy day in anyone's book.
The powers range from the obvious (invisibility) to the downright odd (turning anyone who touches them into raging balls of lust), but then these kids aren't the type to put on spandex and save the world.Top
Back on the community work scheme following the events of the storm, the young offenders learn that they were not the only ones affected. The man who is living with Nathan's mother is acting like a dog and the new volunteer at the old people's centre who has taken a shine to Nathan proves to have a secret of her own.
This episode starts the job of humanising the misfits, most especially Nathan. The smart-mouthed one is faced with a couple of situations that shake his confidence in what he believes to be right and wrong and in his own view of himself. Robert Sheehan manages to invest some warmth and vulnerability into the character without selling him out.
With nudity, swearing, drug use and drinking all in evidence in one episode there are still times when the show is trying too hard to establish its street credibility and the fact that the first use that invisibility is put to is to spy on the girls in the locker room is far from original.
Still, this is a big improvement on the first episode and there might be hope for the show yet.Top
Alisha is enjoying her power of turning any man she touches into a her own sex-slave, but since she really wants Curtis and he would hate what she does to happen to him, how can she move forward with him. Kellie finds that restorative justice doesn't restore her hair and the secret of the hidden bodies under the flyover is about to be revealed when an environment station is planned to be built there.
The job of humanising the MISFITS proceeds, but it's very hard work and mostly they continue to come off as very, very unlikeable. Alisha's power makes for a heavy-handed statement about the emptiness of sex without feelings and Kellie's sudden baldness is played more for laughs than for the emotional disruption that it would surely cause.
There is some tension from the imminent digging up of the dead bodies of the social worker and his first victim, but that passes simply enough. It is even played for laughs itself with the new social worker driving around with the dead bodies in the boot of her car without knowing it. She, however, is the new threat, stalking them online to find out what happened to her boyfriend.Top
Curtis was a top athlete before one night of madness with drugs ended his career before it really took off. His power to turn back time takes him back to that night to relive it and change things. Unfortunately, the changes aren't necessarily for the better.
This is GROUNDHOG DAY done MISFITS style. Curtis keeps reliving the same events until he gets them right. Unfortunately, each change he makes seems to have catastrophic results. Fortunately for the audience, each new set of circumstances is sufficiently different from the ones before so that it doesn't get tedious. The fact that the show also follows Nathan getting into trouble at a bowling alley with no repeats keeps it from getting stale.
The downside is that going back in time just seems to give them all a chance to show how disgusting they all really are. Mutual masturbation, potential rape, drugs, toxic toilets, throwing up in the stariwell - these depths are all plumbed. Empathising with these guys just doesn't seem to be on the cards.Top
Whilst Curtis tries to deal with suddenly having two girlfriends who don't know about each other and who he can't dump without time rewinding, Simon finds that his female social worker is interested in him, not just professionally but personally as well. What he doesn't know is that she is desperate to find out what happened to her fiance, the man they were forced to kill.
The central plank of this episode, the story of social worker Sally's manipulation of Simon, is the very best thing that has come out of MISFITS to date. The dance that the two characters engage in around each other is fascinating. The sequence in which Simon is in Sally's house, invisible, watching her go through the minutiae of daily life is as sweet as it is deeply creepy. Iwan Rheon gives a fine performance, slowly opening up under Sally's interest and becoming a more rounded person as a result. Alex Reid is also a major asset to the show, showing a steely core that is struggling with her innate desire to help Simon and the essential wrongness of her actions. Both these performances are nuanced and easily the strongest work in the series to date.
By comparison, the support stories of Curtis' love life and Nathan's stealing of babies are almost irrelevant, there simply to fill out the running time, although both humanise their central characters and make them less repellent.
With a kicking finale, this is certainly the episode where MISFITS came of age.Top
Whilst Simon tries to deal with the aftermath of his confrontation with social worker Sally, a new force has arisen on the estate. The organisation 'Virtue' is persuading the youngsters of the area that they can be more, and better, than they are. When Alisha and Curtis are both 'persuaded', the others realise that there is another person with a power at work. As each of them falls prey to the increasing tide of Stepford kids, it is left to Nathan to take drastic action.
The central story here is taken wholesale from INVASION OF THE BODYSNATCHERS (hell, the show is cheeky enough to namecheck it with the 'You're next' catchphrase), but it's given enough of a twist to work freshly within the format of the show. INVASION OF THE BODYSNATCHERS certainly never had the impassioned plea for the right of youth to be total screwups that we are treated to here.
Whilst not the equal of the remarkably good Episode 5 and with both a twist and cliffhanger that are somewhat predictable, this series finale is one of the best episodes that the show has come up with, funny, dramatic and action-packed as well as foul-mouthed. we could have done without the sock conversation though.
There are threads left hanging for a second series such as the cops looking into the missing social workers and masked BMX bandit. If you had asked us earlier on in the show's run whether we would have welcomed a second series we would have said no, but now that the series has run its course we've changed our minds and look forward to MISFITS season 2.Top
Following the worldwide success of HEROES (in the first season anyway), any show that attempts to deal with normal people getting superpowers is likely to be compared to it.
It would seem that this new series from MERLIN scribe Howard Overman is likely to dodge those comparisons since it focusses on just five kids, all of them young offenders, who get powers bestowed upon them by a mysterious storm, powers that they really don't want and since they don't know each other or have anything in common except for the young offenders work scheme they are all on, moral support is likely to be in short supply.
Apart from that, there's not a lot to know, so drink in the trailer below and prepare for the first episode, which goes out at 10pm on November 12th, so be there or make sure that recorder's been programmed.Top