I didn’t expect to like the BBC’s “Misfits” much, but the DVD won me over.
The first series (season) set is out today and contains the show’s first six episodes.
It’s about a group of five young adults doing community service for minor crimes. While painting benches, a freak storm appears over the city, dropping car-crushing hail and giving people superpowers that manifest a part of their psyche.
So we have five ne’er-do-wells with powers now — well, four. One of them doesn’t seem to have one. They think they’re alone but quickly discover they’re not. And the powers, in general, aren’t anything special.
But they’re enough to freak these folks out — and turn their probation worker into a killing machine the group winds up killing in self-defense. Afraid no one will believe them, though, they bury the body (and one of his victims). But someone may be on to them …
Not being able to control their powers, though, they wind up taking advantage of them in everyday ways — probably the way most of us would if we could suddenly become invisible or read minds. They mess with each other, do the peeping Tom thing, try to get some sex. One tries to right a past wrong, but with mixed results.
The description in the press release says they must save their town from an “evil that has descended upon it.” Yeah, not much of that going on in these six episodes, but the show is up to its fourth season across the pond, so that must come later.
Like the U.S. pay cable channels, the BBC is more free with language and nudity — and short seasons. Here, the show recently started airing on the Logo channel, part of its effort to diversify from being an all-gay-programming network. There’s nothing gay about “Misfits,” except as part of its repertoire of crude jokes. Logo is a basic cable network, so I imagine the show is heavily edited and bleeped for all the f-bombs (my cable company doesn’t offer Logo, so I can’t compare).
So expecting all the language, the drug use and the general premise of a gang of minor criminals being the “heroes,” I went in with fairly low expectations because that’s not really my thing. But this gang of aptly named misfits grew on me. They’re not horribly unlikable, overall. And even in six episodes, they show some real character growth. They don’t become “good guys,” but there’s a path of redemption set out for them.
It’s a good mix of personalities with some interesting variations on powers. Kelly reads people’s thoughts, but not with any regularity. Creepy Simon can become invisible and inaudible. Curtis can turn back time when stressed out. Alisha gives men an uncontrollable urge to have sex with her when she’s touching them. And then there’s poor Nathan, the screw-up with a heart of bronze who, even though he seemingly doesn’t have any powers, becomes the ringleader.
Nobody in the town seems too interested in finding an explanation for these sudden powers. They always just blame any weirdness on “the storm.”
They’re a mouthy bunch that would never be friends otherwise, but their shared experience bonds them in ways they’re still trying to figure out. And it’s fun to see what other powers turn up as they go about their business. They barely want to save each other, let alone the town, which makes for some interesting, fresh storytelling. And it helps that all the actors embody their parts well.
If you’re lucky enough to have Logo, keep watching.
One final note: I’d recommend watching with subtitles. Kelly’s accent can be fairly impenetrable at times.