Dec 16, 2010

[TV] Misfits: Season 1

Misfits: Season 1Heroes traumatized a lot of us comic book geeks. After years of waiting for a good superhero TV series (sorry, Mutant X doesn't count in my book) we ended up with a show of significant potential but eventually flubbed it. And man did that show crash and burn. No Heroics was a much better homage to the superhero world, even though it was a odd sort of comedy that didn't get a second season (which it should have!)

And this is why American network television continually fails us geeks and I wonder why we pin our hopes on them. These are the same people who axed great geeky shows like Pushing Daisies, Legend of the Seeker, Dollhouse and of course Firefly. So what else is new, right?

And this is why I find myself turning to British television more and more since they seem to (1) respect science fiction more, (2) make some great shows and (3) actually give shows a decent chance. Except maybe for No Heroics, but no one is perfect.

And this particular show really surprised me.

Misfits is a dark comedy drama series based around a group of young juvenile delinquents who manage to get superpowers. The series was created by Howard Overman and is broadcast on the UK channel E4.

The main characters of Misfits, left to right:...Image via WikipediaThe show starts by introducing us to the young 20-something offenders on community service. After a mysterious lightning storm, the group wakes up to discover that they have new superhuman abilities. Kelly (Lauren Socha) can read other people's minds. Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) can jump back in time to change a past mistake. Alisha (Antonia Thomas) drives people who touch her into a sexual frenzy. Simon (Iwan Rheon) can become invisible. And Nathan (Robert Sheehan) is an annoying prick.

But before they can fully understand their newfound abilities, they discover that their probation worker Tony (Danny Sapani / Louis Decosta Johnson) is now more beast than man and has superhuman strength and zombie-level thinking abilities. So yeah, that's not much to work with and that turns Tony into the closest thing to a villain that the show has initially. Of course their bigger problem is dealing with their own twisted personalities and all the other problems that come with youth.

The show does take a while to get to a place where it's good. The character are intentionality written to be annoying and aggravating at times and thus they alienate their peers and ultimately the viewers too. But in time, you'll begin to see the value in these quirky, well, misfits as they bond as a group and you realize they're people. In the beginning they seem to be caricatures of real people but the writers resolve that soon enough. Except maybe for Nathan.

And this is not some Generation X kind of story. They're not going to realize that with these powers, they now have a chance to save the world. Instead they continue to be dicks and they limit the use of their powers to escape trouble, improve their chances to get what they want and other selfish reasons. And it's not like they can use their powers easily - they come in uncontrolled spurts and in the end it's not something they can consistently summon at will. At least not yet.

By the end of the short 6-episode season, I was pretty much sold on the series and I have a good feeling that a lot of you will be too. It's a bit of a slow burn and the kind of show that you need to see to the end before you can make an accurate assessment. Not like The Event - I was struggling to get past the pilot episode. Ugh.

Misfits is a great new addition to geek television and not your typical superhero story. It gets 3.5 annoying Nathanisms out of a possible 5.
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