Once upon a time, Misfits was one of the best shows on television. It was clever. It was fun. It was a half hour of joy. But all that has changed…
Originally, Misfits was a show about five kids on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO), serving community service for misdemeanors which are later revealed throughout the series. After a day of scrubbing graffiti off walls, there is a strange hail storm which grants the five young offenders mysterious superpowers.
Even with these miraculous superpowers, they are still stuck in the underbelly of the socio-legal system. They still have to rock up to clean graffiti off walks, &c., &c. The show seems to say: ‘Even if you made them all into comic book heroes, they’d still be no-hopers.’
They navigate sexual relationships with quite a bit of sensitivity. There’s a story arc involving one of the characters who gets a Rogue-like inability to touch other people, but she still wants to have a liberated sexual life. Thus, she and her boyfriend create a way to have intimacy without touching each other. I thought it was quite clever.
At the end of the second season, one of the characters left the show. He was the loud-mouthed, obnoxious character who, by and large, held the narrative together. Where the others were not inclined to take risks, this character was.
It often happens with shows that, when they lose their ‘funny’ character, they try to replace them with a similarly ‘funny’ character. In Coupling, for example, Jeff left at the end of season three and was replaced with the insufferably terrible Ollie. Coupling tanked soon afterwards.
In Misfits‘ case, they replaced the obnoxious character with a guy who is just creepy. A female character is passed out, so he molests her. He lies, cheats, and swindles his way into getting laid. Worse, it’s not in any way shape or form funny… and yet the writers seem to be pitching it as comedy gold.
At the same time, the plots became increasingly horrible. Where the first season ended with a glorious speech on the joys of being a messed up young adult, seasons three and now four seem hellbent on denigrating women. One of the characters develops the ability to switch genders. He (then she) forms a relationship with another girl and things seem to be going well, until she is molested by the aforementioned replacement character. This causes the new girlfriend to jump on a bus and never be seen again.
At the start of season four, we are introduced to a new character who has a girlfriend with superpowers. He is ‘Super Persuasive’… and is thus treated like the bad guy of the week, because how dare a girl have dominion over a guy. That the new character keeps his girlfriend tied up and gagged so she can’t use this superpower just goes to show what a horrible girlfriend she was.
Another character was introduced: the hypersexual ‘bad girl’ who turns out to be a manipulative compulsive liar…
It’s almost as if the writers are completely lost when it comes to women. That, or they’ve got a writing team of guys who have had miserable, miserable relationships that ended badly for them.
And so all the fun is gone. The charming, strange little show about five messed up kids who, through some cosmic joke, end up with superpowers has deteriorated into a rapey, hatey, molesty show about how terrible women are.