A few weeks ago I was invited along with a group of bloggers and podcasters to the Channel Four headquarters in Central London to watch the first episode of E4’s new comedy-drama series, Misfits. As we made our way to the cinema-like screening room underneath the building, I had a fair idea of what to expect from the clips I’d seen, but still had worries that I’d seen all the best bits and the rest of the show wouldn’t be as good. I’ve previously mentioned that the central premise of young offenders gaining superpowers could go seriously wrong in so many ways, but happily as I watched the programme unfold I found that it was very good indeed.
Tonight everyone else has had the chance to watch the episode and I can’t wait to see what everyone thought of it. The rest of this post has spoilers if you haven’t seen it yet.
So, the show began with our ankle-tag wearing heroes starting their community service by painting benches. This opening scene quickly introduces us to the characters. Nathan steals the show from the start, loud-mouthed, attention-seeking but very funny. Curtis sums up his situation with the opening words “I shouldn’t be here, man”, Kelly is introduced as basically Vicky Pollard, Alisha’s the spoilt princess who uses her body to get what she wants, and Simon is the quiet weirdo.
When a massive hail storm erupts, they slowly start to find they have superhuman powers, all linked to their personality and emotions. First Kelly finds she can hear people’s thoughts, then Simon discovers he sometimes goes invisible. Curtis can turn back time, and anyone who touches Alisha becomes overwhelmingly sexually attracted to her. Nathan, meanwhile, seems to have no powers at all.
Their parole officer also gets powers, his anger at the time of the storm turning him into a zombie-like monster intent on killing them all. When he attacks, they manage to kill him first, burying the body and keeping a secret that will bond them from now on.
There were a few memorable lines in the episode, including Kelly’s “I’ll kick you in the c*** so hard your mum’ll feel it” – this was a genuine quote writer Howard Overman overheard a teenager say in the street some years ago. He says that it was the same for most of the more outrageous dialogue in the series.
One thing that didn’t quite register with me the first time I watched, bit did tonight, was how good the soundtrack was. From Get Innocuous by LCD Soundsystem to UNKLE’s Lonely Soul, the choice was fantastic from beginning to end.
As an opening episode, this was very good, but the real test is how it develops over the remaining five episodes. Now that four of the main five characters have had their powers established, it’ll be interesting to see how they use them in next week’s episode. When we were having a chat with the cast, Robert Sheehan who plays Nathan mentioned that there were a few moments in the second episode that will be a little embarrassing to watch – if you saw the teaser for next week’s episode you’ll have an idea of what he meant. Overman has stated that the cause of the storm that gave them the powers won’t be explored, comparing it to the strange events in the film Groundhog Day – it just happened, we won’t stop to ask why, and instead just enjoy what happens next. What we might expect to see in future episodes are other people around the town who might also have been affected by the storm in different ways, some more mundane than others. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next.