“Misfits” Episode 1 Reviewlet

I saw Howard Overman’s Vexed at about the same time I heard about the Dirk Gently adaptation he’s written (the one that’s on tomorrow night).  Vexed had a peculiar mixed of very light deadpan and also rather bleak humour, and an unlikely comic lead in Toby Stephens.  I absolutely loved it (and Stephens is a great comic too, his timing perfectly balanced on that uncomfortable divide between hilarious and appalling).

I listened to a radio 4 interview with Overman on Front Row on Monday in which he not only discussed adapting Douglas Adams but also a show, now in its second series on E4, about a group of young offenders with special powers.  I was intrigued, and headed over to Youtube to catch up.

It’s fifty types of awesome.  It’s amazingly funny, with Overman’s deadpan/bleak style recognisable.  The five main characters are quickly sketched out, launched into the drama, and then gradually fleshed out as they deal with the weird effects of a freak storm, which appears to give some of them odd powers.  It’s a familiar set up to anyone familiar with superhero shows (Heroes especially) but its roots are thoroughly British and Misfits has the confidence to tackle that head on: “What if we’re meant to be, like, super-heroes?” “That kind of thing only happens in America.  This will fade away…” Despite ironic throwaways evidencing a self-awareness in the writing, the cast give a totally committed performance – and they’re brilliant too – assured and confident.  They play it all with total conviction, the stream of witty one-liners being character-driven.

“This will fade away… I’m telling ya, by this time next week it’ll be back to the same boring old shit.” CAPTION: This time next week. [Trailer]

I’m not going to witter on anymore, partly because everyone apart from me has probably already seen it, but mostly because I want to stop and go and watch episode 2 now.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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