Friday, November 12, 2010

MISFITS Season 2.01 Review

I wanted to like Heroes.  Really, I did.

But it was all smoke and mirrors.  It was all cliches, already told stories, and extraordinarily boring characters.

And I don't even want to think about No Ordinary Family.

No.  Everything I want from a superhero story was captured in the UK series Misfits.

You haven't heard of Misfits?  Well, if you're on this side of the Atlantic, I can't fault you.  It's a British show, airing on E4 about a group of juvenile delinquents who are out doing their community service when a mysterious storm hits.  It turns out, everyone caught out in the storm gained strange powers.  Not just our protagonists, but everyone who was caught in the storm.

Our "heroes" include Simon (who turns invisible), Kelly (who can read minds), Alisha (who can make people desire her by touching them), Curtis (who can turn back time), and Nathan (who, after an entire season of trying to discover what his power was, discovered he could not be killed after waking up in his coffin, six feet under).  Most of them are virtually unlikable, although they all have their own distinctive charismatic charms.  But best of all, they don't immediately decided to be "superheroes" or "super-villains" or super-anythings really.  They just want to get their lives together and not have to keep killing their probation workers.

Spoilers Ahead!

I love this show.

I love every single character on it.  Even if they're bastards and sociopaths and psychologically damaged beyond repair.  That's why I love them, actually.  They're ridiculously more believable than any other character in a "superhero" show on television.  And the writers have found a way to introduce new characters and powers each week that are fresh and original and do a fantastic job at both revealing the character of our heroes and advancing them.

Series One ended with, as mentioned above, Nathan buried alive, most of the others just thankful they survived the brainwashed masses of the season finale, and Simon, poor Simon, having accidentally killed their newest probation officer and stashing her in a freezer at the community center.

I realized tonight, while watching the debut of Season 2, that if they ever make a film about the life of Gary Numan, Iwan Rheon (who plays Simon) should automatically have the role.

This episode opens with the return of a mysterious masked figure who appeared briefly at the end of last season.  Whoever they are, they do parkour like nobody's business and have a serious obsession with our group.  He/she (?) delivers a message to the others that they should visit Nathan's grave, where Kelly hears him alive inside his casket.  And in the true spirit of the show, she hears him rubbing one out.

But, as he says, he wasn't really expecting company.

The episode really gets going, though, when they return to the community center, meet their new probation officer (who has a very slack approach to the job) and discover a group of mental patients doing art therapy, one of whom recognizes Simon.  It seems they spent some time institutionalized and she has a bit of a fixation on him.

It's an affection that's not returned, however.  And, as luck would have it, one shouldn't really spurn a mentally unbalanced shape shifter, as she then proceeds to try to ruin Simon's life.

The action is fast-paced, the interactions of exceptionally raunchy, and as usual, the performances are spot-on.  This group of actors have completely inhabited these characters.  It's almost like they're not acting, each performance is so natural, right down to the smallest of facial ticks.

The conflict this week moves deftly from emotional to physical to psychological and back again as Lucy (Evelyn Hoskins (thanks Kelvin)) assumes identity after identity in her attempt to get revenge on Simon's snub.  I can honestly say, there wasn't a single moment in this episode where I was bored, distracted, or otherwise mentally absent from the experience.

And I would be remiss in not asking, just who the hell is the masked figure?  And what does he/she want with our heroes?

Misfits is back, babies.  Misfits is back.


  1. Lucy was played by Evelyn Hoskins.

    I'm still undecided about this. I didn't watch the first series, as I was simultaneously bored by both superheroes and E4's obsession with "yoof" programming, but I decided to give it a go, largely based on your rave reviews.

    Based only on the first episode, the script definitely needs work, as there's rather too much stating of the obvious in it -- yes, it is quite apparent that you need to find the shapechanger without you telling us every five minutes, thank you -- and I'm not sure if Robert Sheehan's gratuitous overacting is a boon or a curse.

  2. Sheehan grows on you. He was insufferable in the beginning, but he's supposed to be. As the first season went on, he began to show more elements of his character.

    All while being obnoxious, of course.

    Episode 1.01 focused mainly on his character and was kind of heartbreaking.