When Series 3 of the British science fiction comedy drama Misfits came to an end this time last year, it was difficult to imagine what could happen next and which characters would even return if the series were to continue. With the revelation that most of the cast would not be reprising their roles in this new series, and that the series would instead be led by original member Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), recent additions Rudy (Joseph Gilgun) and Seth (Matthew McNulty), and new characters Jess (Karla Crome) and Finn (Nathan McMullen), it could either pick up quite suitably, or, more than likely, could go completely downhill. Fortunately, whilst the series will never be as good without its original cast members together, it worked out quite well.
After the death of Alisha (Antonia Thomas) and Simon (Iwan Rheon) and with Kelly (Lauren Socha) running off to Africa, Series 4 picks up with this newly reformed group of young offenders who have been sentenced to work in a community service programme together, each with an individual supernatural power which they were left with after a strange electrical storm that took place in Series 1.
Now, also joined by outcast Abbey (Natasha O’Keeffe) and barman Alex (Matt Stokoe), the group are faced with a new and intense probation worker (Shaun Dooley), even more zombies, a genital-stealing transsexual, a nun who can summon the four horseman of the apocalypse, and a suit-wearing bunny yielding a baseball bat. And there we were thinking it couldn’t go anywhere else.
Written by Sam Liefer and Ben Edwards under the direction of lead writer Howard Overman (Merlin, Vexed), Misfits has always been a show known for its explicit language, constant sexual innuendoes, occasional bloody violence, and its generally messed up set of characters who manage to make us laugh for whole episodes at a time. Fortunately, all of this remains, as the script continues to come off quite fresh with jokes avoiding any over-use, and the whole premise of the show upholds its originality.
Although none of the original cast members remain by the end of this new series, the new characters that we come to know certainly do a fairly decent job of replacing them and keeping old fans engaged. Joseph Gilgun’s Rudy is constantly hilarious, Nathan McMullen’s Finn is always awkward but often sweet, and Karla Crome’s Jess is a bit like Alisha and Kelly mixed together, though her character does become far too moody to really care about by the end.
It’s Gilgun’s character, Rudy, who remains the show’s strongest element, though. The This Is England star successfully holds the group, and the new series, together, stretching out from his confined misogynistic role with a story evolved around a third Rudy and also the possibility of love. His talents are really able to shine in this series, giving somewhat emotional performances that always manage to provoke an audience reaction in some way.
An aspect that seems to take a back-seat in this new series, however, is the powers of the ‘Misfits’ themselves. Finn never really experiments with his telekinetic power, although we know that one day he will be able to do something great with it, Jess only uses her X-ray vision a number of times, and we are yet to know if Abbey and Alex even have their own, although there are stories around how they have each been effected by a power in some other way.
It has certainly been a series of a progressive transition, but by doing a great job of letting us to get to know the new characters individually and successfully setting up their new relationships, it seems to find itself towards the end. Now that a fifth series has officially been commissioned, as well, we can hope to see the gang explore their powers more from here.
As we are left on quite an exciting cliff hanger, the new series definitely leaves us with promise. It might not have been as good as it used to be but it is still pretty good, and there’s certainly much to look forward to with Series 5 already.
As Rudy puts it himself, Series 4 provides, “New powers, a hint of sexual possibilities, tears, laughter, horribly graphic violence, oh man mutilated testicles, haha yes. Something for the whole family.” And if that’s not enough to tempt you, then I don’t know what is.
Misfits Series 4 is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.