The latest import from the U.K. is Misfits Season One. While a fourth season is in production across the pond, we finally get the first six episodes of the saga on DVD. Five young people working community service are struck by lightening in an ice storm and end up with super powers. Figuring out how these new abilities affect their lives, which pretty much stay status quo, is difficult. Especially when trying to get away with murder.
The quote on the front cover of Misfits compares the show to Heroes and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is woefully inaccurate, as this series resembles both very little. Of course, it doesn’t really resemble anything else, either, making comparisons hard.
The cool thing about the world of Misfits is that not only are these average people, but they stay average people, at least in season one. Others around them have been affected by the storm, too, so it’s not like they are particularly special. They don’t attempt to fight crimes, or begin to alter their schedules. They just go about their lives, adapting to the changing circumstances.
If you think that’s a little bit odd, you’re right. That is the one thing that nags throughout the episodes. If the affects are so widespread, why is it never covered as a news event? How come the police aren’t shown to be investigating, or the government taking action? This kind of thing could not happen in modern society without repercussions of the type that are not seen on Misfits.
On the other hand, part of the theme of Misfits is that these characters are people who do not fit into society. They don’t go with the normal flow, so it is arguable that they could be unaware of any such public action, and remain outside of those circles. In that regard, it is forgivable, as long as it is addressed in future seasons.
The characters of Misfits are all unique individuals, and the powers they get are based upon the personalities of each. Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is a runner who made a mistake that he regrets, so he gains the power to go back in time and change things. Alisha (Antonia Thomas) likes boys, and soon she can make them lust after her. Simon (Iwan Rheon) is lonely and feels invisible… literally. Kelly (Lauren Socha) gains the ability to read thoughts. And smarmy Nathan (Robert Sheehan), well, you’ll just have to wait and see about him.
The stories are interesting too. Sure, these guys will encounter others with powers, and that does lead to some conflict. But more important is how these new changes impact upon their normal activities. Some get to dwell for entire episodes, while others get scenes in multiple installments that explore the possibilities. Each is a rich personality, well acted in an authentic way.
The cast is buoyed by some wonderful recurring characters that help to flesh out their world. In particular is Sally (Alex Reid, Ultimate Force), a parole office who is searching for what happened to her fiance. Tony (Danny Sapani, The Bill) is memorable as the original guardian of the misfits, and viewers might recognize Michelle Fairley from Game of Thrones as Nathan’s mother, who appears at least one time too few.
The thing most striking about Misfits is how different it is from your average show, and how almost none of the major characters have the typical look of an actor, especially for those of us accustomed to Hollywood’s standards of beauty. It lends a level of reality to the proceedings, especially when the great, believable acting really sucks you into this world. This is a series I would recommend checking out for sure.
If you’re a fan of bonus features, Misfits has you covered. There are a ton of interviews with various cast and crew. Three “Making Of” featurettes last over half an hour, breaking down the casting of the main characters, as well as two special effects sequences. There are also four of Simon’s short films, which he is seen making throughout the episodes, and contain mostly new footage. Together, all of this is definitely enough to satisfy.
Misfits Season One is available now.