Preview: E4’s Misfits. Superheroes with ASBOs


This week E4’s highly-anticipated new drama Misfits hits our screens. It’s being tapped as a kind of Skins-meets-Being Human-meets-Heroes romp, and it’s all about a group of misfit yoofs on community service who get caught in a freak hailstorm that gives them super powers.Yep, so far, so haven’t-we-seen-this-before?

But a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at episode one and I was actually pleasantly surprised…

First up, you have to bear in mind that Misfits was conceived before Heroes was even on your tellybox. It’s true it fits perfectly with the current zeitgeist for Being Human / True Blood style anti-heroes to the point where you wonder if someone at E4 went “right, we need something with kids! Cool, edgy kids! But…with superpowers!” but it’s been in the works for a long time, and has more British grit than what’s come before it.

Far from having the Hollywood gloss of Heroes, or the sometime-sitcom feel of Being Human, this show is dark. It’s made on a small budget, it’s not bothered with all the special effects, and it’s intelligently written. One fellow blogger compared it to Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set, and I think that’s a pretty good comparison. The opener had as many jump-out-your-seat scary moments as it did laugh-out-loud jokes (disclaimer: I’m a big fat wimp) and, for reasons I shall not discuss, had a bit of Shaun Of The Dead vibe in places.

Without giving too much of the episode’s plot away, your orange jumpsuit brigade are ‘I’m not a slut’ Alisha, disgraced sports star Curtis, chavvy Kelly, quiet weirdo Simon (he has a brilliant Twitter, if you’re that way inclined) and mouthy Nathan. Each find themselves with powers that reflect their emotions at the time of the storm…something that we’ll apparently see a lot more of as the series goes on.

The cast are well chosen and do a good job with their characters, particularly Iwan Rheon as Simon. There’s the odd supporting performance I wasn’t so sure about, but as this is about the four leads, that doesn’t really matter.

As much of episode one is about introducing the characters and moving the plot forward, I’ll reserve judgement on whether this is the new show you don’t want to miss. But it has definite potential.

It pays homage to a well-loved genre whilst remaining modern and fresh. What’s most interesting to know is that writer Howard Overman isn’t a comic book fan, something the geeks found difficult to believe having seen a certain X-Men reference in the first episode!

Misfits starts on E4 on Thurs 12th November at 10pm.


Gemma was an award-winning journalist before she'd left university. She spent six years as editor-in-chief of fashion at Shiny Media, overseeing the launch of flagship title, Catwalk Queen. She is founder of Big Girls Browse.

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  1. says

    I did watch it in the end, although missed a chunk in the middle because my girlfriend called. It was fun, certainly better than No Heroics. Some funny dialogue at times, nice style. Has potential, I think. It did remind me a fair bit of Skins at times, but I quite liked Skins.

  2. Charles says

    You know, I expected to hate this, but I thought it was really promising. I think they’re going to run into some of the same problems Heroes did, in that because the creator isn’t a comic fan they haven’t really thought through some of the superpowers. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of good story places to go with makes-people-horny-girl and the reason there aren’t really any major comic superheroes with the power of time travel is because it’s too powerful an ability to write convincingly for.

    It also needs strong antagonists.

    But the tone, the cast, the script, I thought were all great.

  3. says

    After all the online comparisons to Being Human, I had high hopes for this, and I really enjoyed it. For the first episode of series it was well-paced, and not over-expositional, and the dialogue well-observed. Suppose we’ll just have to wait and see how it develops, I have a whopper of a crush on Nathan already, so am keen to see what his special power turns out to be! That said, I have my doubts about Alisha’s ‘superpower’ – as Charles said, seems a dubious direction with limited potential compared to the more classic graphic-novels powers like mind-reading and invisibility…

    Also, the Kelly’s ‘talking’ dog made me cringe!


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