It was inevitable that at some point in time one of our beloved British channels would attempt to cash in on the huge hit that is Heroes. The BBC did it by actually showing the aforementioned mega-hit… and E4? Well, they went and made Misfits, didn’t they?
An interesting, arresting melding of comic book mythology and Skins-style comedy drama, the show’s strengths are threefold.
First is Howard Overman’s excellent writing, creating a script which is sharp and funny whilst energetically propelling the story towards a thoroughly entertaining climax. A young cast also do a fantastic job, sharpening the script even further with engaging performances and superb comic timing.
The look of the show, too, is outstanding. All blues and greys, punctuated by the orange of the super-suit-replacing Community Service jumpsuits and occasionally splashed with the harsh reds of viscera, this is one of the most cinematic shows British TV has produced for a while.
If there is a problem with Misfits, it’s most certainly the lack of budget. No towering American TV behemoth, it certainly shows, and even the gritty, bleak texture to the camera-work can’t hide slightly dodgy special effects and close to third-rate super powers. There are other things wrong – frequent ventures into gratuity, occasionally silly story threads, sporadic originality – but in the grand scheme of things they’re mere quibbles.
Misfits is a hugely enjoyable slice of E4 escapism, capitalising on a great core idea with a fantastic script and first-rate performances from the cast. Throw in the slick veneer of the visuals, and this is definitely not one to miss out on.
Released on DVD on 28th December 2009 by 4DVD.