November 25, 2009


TV image
3 out of 5 stars

Those crazy kids at E4 are at it again, making our disaffected TopShop generation their nonchalant muses. At least, that’s how it appeared in the adverts for new teen-dream drama Misfits or, as I wanted to call it, ‘Skins Series 4.’ We were promised a group of rebel scene-agers causing havoc and having sex with everyone but their parole officer, set to a soundtrack of bands that you’re not cool enough to know yet. The scent of E4 cashing in on the popularity of Skins was almost overbearing and I was quick to write it off before I even saw it. Calling itself Misfits was, and is still, crime enough in my book. I can only imagine the production meeting full of balding television executives trying to find a skewiff enough term for the alienated breed of teenager, skirting over ‘offbeats,’ ‘stray cats’ and ‘ne’er do wells’ before finally lumping for ‘misfits.’
Lazy marketing put to one side, and having exhausted all other possibilities on 4OD (including that god-awful and ill thought out 3D season), I sat down with my mug of piping hot white hot chocolate clearing my throat ready to grumble. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Less a rehash of Skins and more a mash-up of Heroes and Dead Set, Misfits opens its series with a promise of thrill. It is, shockingly, not about five kids who take drugs and occasionally look contemplatively into the distance because life sux, innit, but rather about five kids and their parole officer who are all given superpowers after a freak storm hits The City. Aside from the Irish kid, all the superpowers are revealed in the first episode. Chavvy Happy Slapper can read minds, Moody Runner can manipulate time, Actually Not All That Unattractive Moody Psycho Kid turns invisible, Can’t Do Better In Life Than Become a Parole Officer is some sort of zombie monster chav hunter and Pretty Slutty Girl can make herself irresistible to anyone she touches.
Though Misfits is hardly perfect. Whilst I admire the ingenuity behind Pretty Slutty Girl’s power (it is, if nothing else, original), it is a relatively pathetic plot device constructed solely for the introduction of gratuitous sex scenes. It’s got more plot holes than a Dr. Who Special (seriously; snow in 2059? In London? In November?) that cannot even be justified by saying, ‘but it’s magic.’ When the monster Parole Officer was chasing Chavvy Happy Slapper, he could have easily caught her. This is a creature who had no doubt spent the best part of her life living off of White Lightning and Curry and Chips. A girl who would skip PE to conceive her second baby at the age of 15 in an empty classroom if she went to school, or hanging with the tramps in the park if she didn’t because she’s street like that, yeah? In any case, there is no way that she would have been able to outrun a power-charged blood thirsty monster. Equally as unlikely is the kids’ acceptance of the discovery of a dead body in the locker. Thoughts immediately turned to cleaning and disposing of that body and that of the recently murdered Parole Officer. They had spent the day previous doing a pitiful job of cleaning up graffiti and a mutilated body would surely be enough to make someone be sick or faint or react with something other than a quip. If Misfits steers away from being Skins’ little brother and embraces its sci-fi elements as something other than something that can patch up inconsistencies, I might even enjoy watching it. Shocker.

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