Misfits has easily been e4’s best original drama from the past two or three years but this year it was time for the asbo-superhero show to draw to a close. Now with a completely different cast from when the show started out Misfits had become a slightly confused entity. Despite this I thought series four was on of the programmes strongest overall, mainly because it took everything back to basics; the writing had become over-complicated by series three and the upheaval of cast members meant that they had to start again from scratch. With it’s fifth and final series though, Misfits badly fails to deliver.
In the past Misfits has been a eclectic mix of comedy, drama and action, every element being well thought-out and completely fresh and original. Series five however lacks the fresh-faced bite it once had. There aren’t many darker moments and only one episode of the series where we get a flash of the horror element that the show so successfully pulls off in previous seasons. The cast interaction is awkward too, and by this series it becomes impossible to look past the fact that these people actually live in the community centre and the support worker isn’t even bothered by it. The support worker, played by Shaun Dooley, it must be said is the programmes strongest character and the funniest, a dangerously insane man with homosexual tendencies that he doesn’t really know how to express but by episode eight even this joke is wearing thin. I’m also a big fan of Joe Gilgun’s Rudy and think he makes a great central character but what it comes down to in series five is the writing being off the ball. There are too many episodes that just feel like filler with the odd hint at the overall story arc that then is rushed together in the final episode and limply flops to a climax. Not to mention the fact that they kill a character off and then have him come back moments later, it seems too set on having a happy ending to let that happen, never a strong way to end something.
In the past Misfits has provided some of the best TV moments, and was one of the freshest drama ideas that has been produced in recent times so it’s a real shame that it’s final series fails to deliver and cap off what should be remembered as a very important milestone in British drama.
Following from arguably the weakest series of E4’s superhero’s-with-asbos drama Misfits series four stripped itself back down to basics. Introducing us to two new gang members Finn (Nathan McMullen) and Jess (Karla Crome) both of whom are much more well-rounded personalities than the main cast that preceded them. Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is the only remaining original member and he meets a rather abrupt end only halfway through the series. Joseph Gilgun’s Rudy also returns having joined the gang in series three. The gang are overlooked by the series’ enigmatic, scary and at times laugh-out-load hilarious new probation worker, played by Shaun Dooley.
This series focusses much more on character study than any of the previous ones opting to flesh out all members of the gang into relatable, yet still fucked-up, youths and their super powers take the back seat. Finn, in particular, is an everyman that the show has lacked in the past, one that actually cares about girls and aims to do good generally, he is fantastically portrayed by McMullen too, a great newcomer. Much the same can be said for Jess, she’s a girl with a bite but is much subdued and ultimately more realistic and believable than both Alicia and Kelly who left the show at the end of series three. Rudy is a much more likable centre-piece than his predecessor too and in series four he is given much more of a chance to show his true colours and Gilgun masterfully brings the character real gravitas.
In series four creator and main writer Howard Overman is much more concerned in human drama than the comic book style action we grew used to in previous series. Often looking at the relationships these teenagers have with each other and outsiders and how they deal with boyfriends/girlfriends, parents and people in authority overall giving a very impressively realistic overview of the lost youth of today. That’s not to say, though, that the series has lost it’s action side there are episodes here which flow into the darkly violent, horror movie-style action scenes they’ve done so well in the past, enemies the gang face include the four cyclists of the apocalypse, the return of some zombies and, in perhaps the shows greatest episode of all-time and a perfect example of the absurdity the show can do so well, a golf-club wielding killer rabbit in a suit. If that isn’t enough to make you watch it then what is?
What series four has done so well is brought things back down to earth, it seemed at times in the past it was all getting a bit too complicated but by losing the majority of the cast it’s given the programme a chance to review what it’s actually about and gives these criminal youths some real personality again. It reminds you of what made you get into Misfits in the first place and with the news that Overman is trying to get funding for a film version and the overwhelming possibility of a fifth series it seems that it could go on to become one of Britain’s most succesful exports in years, and rightly so.