Friday, January 8, 2010

The Misfits

The Misfits: Not Your Average Teenagers With Attitude

"Misfits is indeed silly — sillier, even than it sounds — but it's also brilliant: sharp, funny, dark and, in places, quite chilling. Both the writing and the performances ensure that everything but the preposterous central premise remains entirely believable." - From The Series Review in The Guardian, 2009

When I first read about this series, I found it abit hard to put my head around, I found myself reading and re-reading it to make sure I was understanding it correctly, a group of juvenile delinquents stuck together on community service probation detail are hit with a bolt of lightening that goes through them all and gives them each super powers, and tells the story of how they band together and become a team, it seems abit off doesn't it? But as often is the case with television programs, the description they give us isn't always 100% what we get, Fringe and Being Human both had similarly unappealing sounding write ups in the promo material, but anyone thats seen either program knows they are so very far from that. The Misfits is in that same vain, programs that at first look seem uninteresting and forgettable, but once you sit and watch them, you can't stop. I love a good sleeper hit, I really do.

The Misfits follows five teenagers on community service who get struck by lightning and are given special powers. Kelly (Lauren Socha) becomes telepathic, Curtis (Nathan Stewart Jarrett) can rewind time, Alisha (Antonia Thomas) can send people into a sexual frenzy when they touch her skin, Simon (Iwan Rheon) can make himself invisible. Seemingly left unaffected is annoying and abrasive Nathan (Robert Sheehan), although he is revealed to possess the power of Immortality in the sixth episode, the final episode of series one, and most current episode. The storm seems to have gone what we call "the fantastic four route", meaning each power enhances something about the character's personality, Kelly wishing she could know what everyone is thinking, Alisha's desire to have every man and woman in the world lust and crave her, Simon's feeling he doesn't belong and doesn't fit in believing the world would be a better place if he just disappeared, Curtis' need to turn back time and fix mistakes in his life, and though he never says it outright, Nathan's fear of life itself which he hides behind his sarcastic and rude exterior, which has been countered by giving him the power to survive anything by having immortality.

As the show starts, you meet the cast and their probation officer Tony, who is sent to watch over them. Tony is abit of a jerk honestly, and this leads to the discovering that the storm that made the kids empowered, turned Tony into a rampaging rage filled beast that wanted nothing more then to kill them all, he is able to kill one kid, Gary, who wasn't with the others when the lightening bolt hit them, and was thus not given a power. though no one knows this until the next day when Tony has written that he will kill them all in his blood all over the outside of the community center they meet at, Tony spends the next day trying to kill them all, and through accidental circumstance and afew of them's powers manifesting, they manage to kill Tony, after discovering Gary's body in the locker room shower. They agree to hide the bodies and keep what has happened a secret among themselves, which becomes problematic with Sally, their new probation officer and we find out later the woman Tony was going to marry, trying to discover evidence they killed him, first using scare tactics, and then later going so far as to manipulate Simon, whom she feels is the weakest and least connected of them, which leads to the most creepy and dark moments of the series in general, which is great, a nice mix of comedy, sci fi and horror all in one show about chavs with powers. As the show goes on, though you see Sally trying to get them to confess, you also discover others tha the storm gave powers too, and how the group deals with them, no matter how strange or downright odd the power is, their only thing remotely close to a "super villian" at this point being a woman named Rachel Leyton, an uptight repressive girl in her 20s who founded an organization called "Virtue", she possessed the power of suggestion, able to influence others to essentially become 'perfect' teenagers - dressing in conservative clothing and disdaining sex, drugs and alcohol. She influenced the change by speaking the words, "You don't have to behave like this; you can be so much better.", at one point she gains power over everyone except for Nathan and Simon, who end up stopping her, after she uses her power over a live television broadcast to effect countless others.

The characters are very deep, though at first glance they don't see it, though backstories and just natural character progression, you discover that it seems fate brought them all together, with each of them first being at the same club on the same night, and through the course of that night, each of them doing what got them sent to community service detail that very night at one point or another. You find yourself getting inside each of the cahracter's head, and into their lives, and you start to feel things for them, you see that they all are missing something in their lives away from each other, each alone in their own way, Curtis with his regrets, Alisha with her using her body to get through life, Kelly with her antisocial behavior, Nathan with his pushing everyone that cares about him away with his insecurity, selfishness and rudeness, and Simon with his darkness, depression and isolationism.

Many of the show's dark moments are provided by Simon using his power, he is the one who's mastered his power the best and uses it the most efficiently, it is downright scary at times honestly how well he uses his power. In contrast the show's funniest moments are provided by Nathan with his constant joking and saying the most hilariously rude things, his rants about what his power could be and his oneliners are often highlights of hilarity through out the program, the best being "hey, get up, you can't sleep naked in my carpark, who do you think you are? George Micheal? He can get away with it because he was in WHAM! You weren't..". The rest of the cast brings in a great show, dedicated to the point they all flood the online viral presence, posting in character video clips, blogs, tweets and the like, with Simon's facebook and youtube pages being the most detailed and full of large amounts of video and pictures the shy video film maker who can disappear has felt the need to share with the world, many of which involve the mysterious "Super-Hoodie" whom you see through out the series on posters, or spraypainted on walls, he makes his official in show debut in episode 6, where he helps Nathan out, leading into his story in the second series, which I'm assuming will answer many questions as well as introduce us to more people who were altered by the storm.

So if you're up for something thats slightly out of the normal, and is a great mix of hilarity and spooky, as well as an INCREDIBLE soundtrack, then give The Misfits a shot, you probably will be glad you did, i know I was.



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