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Review of Misfits – Series 4, Episode 1

Neela Debnath
misfits series 4 300x198 Review of Misfits   Series 4, Episode 1

(Channel 4)

SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 1, series 4 of ‘Misfits’

A new year and some fresh faces have joined the gang. Following Alisha’s (Antonia Thomas) unexpected death and Simon (Iwan Rheon) travelling back into the past to save her, the gang is left two down.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Lauren Socha, who plays Kelly, would also be leaving the show. The audience is informed through Seth (Matthew McNulty) that Kelly has decided to stay in Africa to diffuse landmines which seems something very unlike the character.

Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarett) is the only member of the original cast still on the show. There is of course Joe Gilgun’s Rudy and his split personalities to keep things interesting, along with Seth the only member of the group not on community service.

Just like other shows such as Being Human and Doctor Who, that have had major cast changes, it is always a challenge for the writer to introduce new characters, make them likeable and make it work in the context of the show. While Gilgun managed to add another dimension to Misfits after the departure of Robert Sheehan’s Nathan, losing another three members in one go seems like an insurmountable feat to pull off flawlessly. And unfortunately episode one does not manage to do this.

There are two newbies: Finn (Nathan McMullen), a wide-eyed, naïve manchild with an odd sense of humour and an ineptitude for telekinesis; and Jess (Karla Crome), a smart, sarcastic wise-cracker who can see through walls. Out of the pair of them Jess comes across as the more likeable and ‘conventional’ social miscreant compared to Finn. Saying this, there is more to Finn on closer inspection, namely the girl tied to his bed.

Series creator Howard Overman is clearly trying to avoid replicating personalities in order to make sure that Jess and Finn are not seen as replacements but characters in their own right. However, neither of them are as distinct as their predecessors. It is more difficult to pigeonhole them, which in this case is not a good thing because it makes it difficult to get a sense of them.

The audience knew from the start that Nathan was the joker, Simon was the loner, Alisha was the slut, Kelly was the chav and Curtis was the regretful athlete. It was easier for the audience to get a handle on these characters because of the labels, as the series progressed they developed and these associations fell away.

Perhaps, this is a harsh conclusion given that it is just the first episode and hopefully it gets better as the series goes on. That is not to say that the first episode was awful by any means, it just was not on par with the usual quality of comedy and drama that the show is defined by.

Of course there were the serious moments juxtaposed with humour, such as Jess and Finn discussing how they imagined they were each going to kick the bucket. Jess has the conventional growing old and dying in her sleep scenario while Finn wants to go in a drug-fuelled car crash with Angelina Jolie by his side. The way in which Overman can switch from serious to silly in mere moments is superb and he has not lost his touch. But there are times when it is just not as pithy as it has been in the past, particularly with Finn, luckily Jess throws out some zingers to offset this.

The comedy scenes involving Rudy are on form, possibly because Overman knows this character a lot better than his new creations. The scene where the newbies walk in on Rudy at the start of a five knuckle shuffle session with a chocolate bar and a laptop was hilarious.

This week fell into the gangster heist genre and contained the most gory scene in the show’s history to date. Forget Kelly killing a probation worker with a paint can and her foot, the sequence involving Rudy sawing off a man’s hand felt gratuitously violent. The episode may have been paying homage to gangster flicks but it felt unnecessary to see his cut all the way through the wrist until the hand fell off.

Overall this was a so-so opener to the start of the fourth series but due to the big change in cast perhaps fans can forgive the programme for not delivering as well as it has done in the past.

Next time on Misfits… Unsurprisingly, viewers will discover more about Finn and why on earth he is holding a girl prisoner in his bedroom.

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  • Guest

    It’s great to have the show back

  • FlutterButterfly

    They should of kept the other cast member in… It is not going to be as good it was a shame we lost nathan now all the others apart from them two….. convince the others to return!

  • http://twitter.com/CanadianASOTlov SD

    Don’t know about the others but I liked the episode! And again Howard Overman is a genius with the powers he gives to the episode villains! And give Finn and Jess an episode or 2 to settle in! By the end of December we will have loved them!

  • http://twitter.com/MARKWALTON14 MARK WALTON

    Didnt like the first episode but will watch the next just to see if it gets better.

  • djsosonut

    Loved it and the new characters. Finn’s power really suits him. You can tell he’s trying so hard in every situation hoping to move people, and then it just falls as flat as his first use of his power in this episode. Jess was great, but I already know Karla from other programs so I had not doubt I’d like her. Howard is a genius and it’s great to have the show back.

  • http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/21407 wilfulsprite

    Didn’t like it, sorry. Hollow. I was hoping the show would not end up being simply a vehicle for new talent – but maybe it is. The reason most people stick to a series and make it popular (e.g.Green Wing) is because they form a relationship with the characters. It feels like just as you get attached, they disappear. Being Human suffered in the same way. I’ll stick with it a while, but can’t see any potential.

  • Bub

    This series appears as though it will be appalling, for Rudy to replace Nathan was hard enough in series 3 and the Simon & Alsha story is the only thing that kept me interested. Now we have no Nathan, Simon, Alisha & Kelly & we’re left with the most boring character from the original cast. If the show is going to survive it will need Robert Sheehan to return as Nathan or at least employ new writers that have imaginative ideas. I will watch the entire series but it’ll probably be terrible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.wingfield.90 Nick Wingfield

    Have I missed something here?

    Up till now, Misfits has worked because we care about the characters and know that each of them, deep down, has a heart.

    But at the end of episode (4.1), having committed the most gratuitous torture scene I’ve ever seen on TV, they all casually laugh it off as: “We were infected”. Tee hee!

    You’d think once they were no longer ‘infected’ that they’d feel guilty, ashamed, revolted about what they had just done – even if they weren’t in control of their own bodies. But they just laughed it off while watching a tortured man dying as a result of them cutting off his hand and genitalia. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not squeamish about TV torture. I’m a huge fan of 24. I was a huge fan of Misfits. But if there are more cruel and cold-hearted episodes like this then I think I will be giving it a miss.


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