Misfits: Series 2
Many of us can recall when the options for entertainment were a half dozen or so channels on our black and white family television. We could never have imagined the myriad of program sources we have available today. Besides the hundreds networks found on digital cable and the high definition content on DVD and Blu-ray streaming video sites have become increasingly popular and important as a daily source of television programming. One of the more popular of such services is ‘Hulu Plus’ where for a few dollars a month provides the user with literary thousands of TV series and films from all over the world. One of these offerings was an imaginative science fiction from Britain, ‘Misfits’. It has been popular series in England continuing to retain the ratings and fan base to place it in its fourth season, or as it is termed there, forth series. Some time ago the first season was released on our shores in a region 1 DVD set. Now the second season has been released giving American fans of the show a realistic hope that eventually the entire series will be available here. Yes, it is still available online but at the time of this writing Hulu Plus only offers stand definition video and audio a show of this quality deserves to be experienced in the best possible method. Besides online content is subject to changes in the provider’s line up and there is no guarantee how long ‘Misfits’ will be offered. I was initially so impressed with this show that is as a significant factor in my deciding to get a multiregional DVD player. While that remains a prudent addition to any serious home theater set up it is a boon to science fiction fans that this show is appearing on in our native digital format. In case you aren’t familiar with the series it basically is ‘Heroes’ were the super powered individuals are culled from the justice system. All of the main characters here were under ASBO, Anti-social behavior order, the British equivalent to our community service. These are defiantly not the self-sacrificing super humans we have been accustomed to watching.
In the first season five twenty something’s here beginning there ASBO service when they were caught in a very peculiar storm. It turns out that anyone exposed to it gains a super power of some sort. These powers are rather random and not necessarily the tradition powers depicted in the comics. The group consists of Alisha Bailey (Antonia Thomas), Curtis Donovan (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), Kelly Bailey (Lauren Socha), Nathan Young (Robert Sheehan), and Simon Bellamy (Iwan Rheon). Alisha’s slightest touch infuses the victim with an obsessive sexual desire for here, Kelly can read minds, Curtis can turn time back and Simon has the ability to turn invisible. At the end of the first season Nathan discovers he is immortal. Unfortunately he finds that out after being impaled, and buried. He is exhumed and rejoins his friends. Nathan was killed by a mob, a part of the Virtue cult, brainwashing them into ultra conservative behavior. The group that is devoted to a man using his storm gifted abilities to appear as a moral leader. Nathan was rescued by a mysterious man in a hoody with an advanced form of parkour. This enigmatic figure is prominently featured in this second season.
The five encounter the hooded man with increasing frequency. The common thread between each occurrence is one of the five is in danger; a predicament they cannot extricate themselves. In every instance the Hood seems to on the scene at exactly the right moment suggesting some advanced knowledge. While this is working itself out as the season arc the gang experiences the usual freak of the week. The brilliant aspect inherent in the premise is the storm as the etiology of the abilities. The atmospheric aberration was significantly wide spread. This afforded the writers an ideal means to have the group encounter a broad variety of others with strange abilities. It also addresses the potential issue of why so many affected people are within a relatively restricted geographic location.
A traditional comic book plot device is super power transference; when the extraordinary ability is moved from its source to an unsuspecting recipient. One episode utilized this situation giving it that special, dark ‘Misfits’ twist. Curtis begins a relationship with a pretty young woman, Nikki. It soon becomes apparent that she is able to teleport from one location to another. The odd thing is she had not been in the storm. It turns out she recently had a heart transplant and the organ donor exhibited that ability. Typical of people this age relationships are in a fairly regular state of flux. Nikki contributed to the breakup of Curtis and Alisha, something that was not very satisfying since because of her power they could touch. For a brief moment Kelly and Nathan try but it quickly falls apart. The Hoody continues to save the group interceding at precisely the right movement. During one such incident Alisha is injured and the mystery man takes her back to his lair. It turns out that he is Simon from the future there to prevent a catastrophic event. The pair fall deeply in love but Alisha is unable to tell anyone, especially the present Simon although it is obvious she has warmed up to him. Once again the season concludes with a well thought out cliffhanger that leaves the fans at the edge of their seats waiting for series three.
The series continues to exhibit the quality we have long associated with British television. They have been producing some of the most imaginative Sci-Fi for longer than most of you have been alive. Typical of imports this series has a more mature presentation of language and explicit sexuality than you would find anywhere but premium cable over here. This instills a greater sense of gritty realism too the show than most domestic super power premised shows exhibits. The entire production has a grittier feel to it, more inner city than ‘Smallville’, is obvious. The writers explore the emotional burdens of these powers not just the benefits. The way the abilities isolate the group from normal lives and the constant drama that ensues leads them to a decision that will directly carry on to series three. Continuity is key here and it shoes.