Sci-fi fit for the Topshop generation

Those crazy kids at E4 are at it again, making our Topshop generation their disaffected muses. At least, that’s how it appeared in the adverts for new teen-dream drama Misfits (or, as I wanted to call it, Skins Series Four). We were promised a group of rebel scene-agers causing havoc and having sex with everyone but their parole officer, set to a soundtrack of bands that you’re not cool enough to know yet. The scent of E4 cashing in on the popularity of Skins was almost overwhelming and I was quick to write it off before I even saw it. Calling itself Misfits was, and still is, crime enough in my book. I can only imagine the production meeting, full of balding television executives, in which they tried to find a random term for this alienated breed of teenager, skirting over ‘offbeats,’ ‘stray cats’ and ‘ne’er do wells’ before finally settling for ‘misfits.’

Lazy marketing put to one side, having exhausted all other possibilities on 4OD (including that god-awful and ill thought out 3D season), I sat down in front of Misfits with my mug of hot chocolate, ready to grumble. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Less a rehash of Skins and more a mash-up of Heroes and Dead Set, Misfits opens its series with an exciting premise. It is, shockingly, not about five kids who take drugs and occasionally look contemplatively into the distance, because life sux, innit, but rather about five kids (and their parole officer) who are all given superpowers after a freak storm hits the city in which they live.

Aside from the Irish kid, all the superpowers are revealed in the first episode. Chavvy Happy Slapper can read minds, Moody Runner can manipulate time, Actually Not All That Unattractive Moody Psycho Kid turns invisible, Can’t Do Better In Life Than Become a Parole Officer is some sort of zombie monster chav hunter and Pretty Slutty Girl can make herself irresistible to anyone she touches.

Misfits, however, is hardly perfect. Whilst I admire the ingenuity behind Pretty Slutty Girl’s power (it is, if nothing else, original), it is also a pathetic plot device constructed solely for the introduction of gratuitous sex scenes. It’s got more plot holes than a Doctor Who special (seriously; snow in 2059? In London? In November?), holes that cannot even be justified by saying, “but it’s magic!” When the monster Parole Officer was chasing Chavvy Happy Slapper, he could have easily caught her. This is a creature who has no doubt spent the best part of her life living off of White Lightning, curry and chips, a girl who would skip PE to conceive her second baby at the age of 15 in an empty classroom, or hang with the tramps in the park because she’s street like that, yeah? In any case, there is no way that she should have been able to outrun a power-charged bloodthirsty monster. Equally unlikely is the kids’ acceptance of the discovery of a dead body in a locker. Since they had spent the day previous doing a pitiful job of cleaning up graffiti, a mutilated body would surely be enough to make someone be sick, or at least react with something more than a casual quip.

But still, if Misfits steers away from being Skins’ little brother and embraces its sci-fi elements as something more than just a covering for plot inconsistencies, it’s quite possible that I might actually end up enjoying it. Shocker.


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