Misfits Report Card: Season 3

Misfits surprised me. I didn’t think I’d like it. Perhaps it was something about the way it was advertised. I had no idea that it had a supernatural element to it and thought it was simply about a group of young offenders on community service. For those who have not get experienced it, stop reading and go buy the boxset: it is a very good British science fiction series about a group of young offenders who experience a strange storm while out picking litter and are gifted with amazing and sometimes problematic super powers.

I enjoyed the first and second series but thought that they might experience a problem with the third, since Robert Sheehan wasn’t returning. The loss of the Nathan character bothered me a little. Annoyed me, possibly. The actor had done well out of the project and I thought it was a little churlish of him not to see it through to some kind of conclusion (most series do not have that long a shelf-life). I’m sure he’s been offered all kinds of roles but I think he jumped ship a little too soon. Wasn’t there any way of him honouring his commitment to both the material that had initially promoted him and his new opportunities?

Anyway, that isn’t the problem for Season 3 of Misfits. The series, appropriately, took the loss in its stride and wisely moved on without making much of Nathan’s absence. In fact, one of the strengths of Season 3 is the new character of Rudy Wade. His ‘power’ opens up a range of new opportunities and the actor, Joseph Gilgun, is entertaining to watch. The character very much occupies Nathan’s position in the group while at the same time making it his own. Not an easy transition.

The problem for Misfits Season 3 is not character-based. It’s ‘power’ based and ultimately started at the very end of Season 2. While finding Season 3 entertaining and watchable, I don’t like the way the writers felt the audience’s attention span could not be held with the old ‘powers’. There was still a lot to be done with invisibility, telepathy, personal-history time-travel and hypersexuality – as well as immortality (if Nathan’s character had continued). The Smallville-style myriad of powers given to different people on the estate was working also, giving the group an endless supply of varied problems and enemies. Swapping the powers around at the end of Season 2 has been kind of confusing. There is also an issue in so much as these new powers have been used quite sparingly in the first half of the third series, which isn’t particularly satisfying. The aspect I find most difficult is the nature of the new powers. I know the in-joke is supposed to be that the new powers were a rubbish exchange – but they still need to be interesting to watch. Alisha’s clairvoyance / remote viewing seem to have had very few applications so far. Curtis’ gender-bending abilities were an interesting single-episode study but are pretty useless, otherwise. Kelly’s rocket scientist intellect appeared like a joke that would be quickly solved with an early re-exchange of powers. Kelly has retained this narratively-useless power, however: perhaps she will have to defuse a bomb or something in some kind of finale? Simon’s precognition only seems to have stopped him falling off a wall so far – his Parkour-inspired gymnastics and ability to keep Alisha interested seem more impressive by comparison. When these are juxtaposed with the abilities of other characters in the series (like the power to travel through time and space and change human History) – the Misfits' powers pale in comparison.

So, am I enjoying Season 3? Yes, but having elegantly avoided a difficult problem right at the beginning through clever script work and casting, it seems to have run into some other issues. Time for a list...

Top 5 Misfits Powers (in order of preference)

1) Immortality

2) Telepathy

3) Precognition

4) Personal History Time Travel

5) Invisibility

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