For some people, this is Bonfire Night. For Bleeding Cool, it’s Misfits Day.
Yesterday I attended the premiere of the first episode of Misfits Series Two, followed by a Q&A with Jonathan Ross and the cast and crew of the show, followed by free drinks and nibbles with the collective blaggers and bloggers of old London Town.
This time last year I went to the first preview of Misfits Series One. Held in the basement of Channel 4’s Horseferry Road offices, there were about fifteen of us and we saw something wonderful.
This year it was held in the main auditorium of the British Film Institute and there was a thousand of us. One series later (repeated and BAFTA winning) Misfits has become something else.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, is the best example of the superpower portrayed on screen. It not only beats Heroes, Smallville and No Ordinary Family, but it beats Iron Man, Spider-Man, Superman, Dark Knight and Watchmen on the big screen too. Yet it does this on the budget of a minor digital channel from Britain. X-Men meets Trainspotting for the cost of Cash In The Attic. It’s a mystery.
The show gives us five young offenders engaged in community service, each wearing the orange jumpsuits anonymous with the scheme. Which becomes their de facto costume when the superpower storm hits, giving them, and much of the nearby community, superpowers. But rather than a gift, the characters treat them more like a nuisance at best or even a curse. So with have Nathan the cocky lad who thinks he’ll live forever, Lauren, the gobby chav who really does know what you’re thinking, Kelly whose touch turns you into a horndog, Curtis the walking time machine with a regrettable past, and Simon the invisible boy who things everyone ignores him.
The first series saw the team mow through their probabtion officers and mourn one of their own, Nathan, dead and buried. For now at least.
The first episode of the second series tackles the first season cliffhangers of the second dead probation worker and Nathan’s burial directly, the police investigation begins to move gears, and we are introduced to a new hardly-seen protagonist, a time-obsessed parkour-skilled masked figure who seems to be exactly where he is needed with the right information. A time traveller trying to put right what once went wrong? A ninja Sam Beckett?
Anyway, we get the meteor storm freak of the week in the astounding Evelyn Hoskins, who plays a mentally disturbed shapeshifter Lucy with a shared history with Simon. And her shape shifting comes with a price, that of pain, with wracking screams that are as powerful as the fantastic effects that put Mystique to shame
Yet meeting the actress afterwards, she’s this short bubbly wide eyed lovely thing – how they saw Lucy in her I have no idea.
This episode focuses on Simon, the target of Lucy emotions and whose invisibility is of little use when he can just be impersonated. And these impersonations go far beyond the likes of Sylar, genitalia are both insulted and blown, stomachs are embedded, people are strangled – and friendships destroyed.
We also meet the new probation officer, who has little earnestness of the first two. His lacklustre approach to his works destroys any delineation between the offenders and him. And he’d probably be the first to say it.
The show is as confident and visually bold as ever, looking like a colourised black and white photo at times, the whole world existing in this small Misfits bubble or somewhere and somewhen. It creates its own reality that draws all the use of powers into it, making it feel absolutely natural.
And even though this is Simon’s episode, everyone’s power gets good use and the shapeshifter sees each of the actors creating very new takes on their own characters. It’s a rich and deep show that reflects both fears and the facades we display and pushes them through the superpower mincer. The language is also just as filthy and inventive. And yes, mostly from Nathan obsessing about his penis, wanking in the grave, and throwing out his opinions of massive fannies. Yet this is the seasoning that helps alleviate the real pain, hurt and isolation felt by the group, banding togther as a way to deal with the madness. There is tenderness, there is concern, there are rare moments of honesty. And, yes, there are dick jokes.
This was a great start, but it’s basically more of the same with a few new twists. Which I’d be very happ with considering the quality of the first series. But I’m told by both the production staff aqnd Jonathan Ross (who has seen the first three) that the first episode is probably the weakest, and that the second and third really build to something special. If that’s true, it looks like Misfits is about to take us onto a whole new level.
Check for some Misfits video on Bleeding Cool later today. Where you may see more of the visual above…
Misfits series two starts on Thursday 11th November at 10pm on E4 in the UK. And in the US whenever the illegal torrent is available. For exclusive content visit www.e4.com/misfits. You can quite legitimately buy the original series on DVD here. And you really really should, you know.
Here’s the trailer to series 2. Spoilers for series 1, obviously. And artwork by Jock.
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