Misfits has gone through a lot of changes since its conception. As we enter into season four we’ve already lost all but one of the original cast members. Dare I say it but we’re left with the least interesting member of the original group. Nathan was funny and mysterious, Simon was creepy but heroic, Kelly was mouthy but endearing and Alisha was provocative but incredibly insecure. Curtis on the other hand simply seemed whiny and arrogant given the fact that he felt superior to the rest of the cast. Over three seasons he’s mostly grown out of this but still feels largely out of place. For instance, in the season two Christmas special, after they’ve completed their community service, Curtis is the only one who has a respectable means of employment in the bar.
By this point in the series, it could be argued that he’s too far down the rabbit hole to return to a respectful role in society. This series will certainly be interesting as most of Curtis’ storyline have revolved around his sense of superiority, his relationship with women or trouble with his power. Hopefully season four will introduce some new conflicts for the character to keep him from seeming like a remnant of seasons past. Especially in regards to his power. He traded his time travel power for money, bought a gender swapping gift, and switched that for the power to raise the dead. Now? I can’t imagine he kept the power of zombification so I’ll be interested to see what the new storm does for him and his reactions, even if I haven’t been that invested in the character in the past.
Speaking of new powers, along with two new characters come two new powers. The only woman of the group, Jess, has x-ray vision. Part of me feels like they missed a step by giving the x-ray vision to the woman of the group. It’s probably a bit cliché to give the power to a male but it might have fascinating if the power didn’t work on demand or only worked when the character was already aroused. Of course you could still do that with the character of Jess but from the trailer, she really seems like more of a straight character while Finn is the comedy side of the pair. That means that the X-ray vision will probably only be used responsibly. On the whole, Misfits has probably had a lot of opportunity to do more with the powers the characters had but has relied on gimmicky plots such as a humanoid gorilla or modern day Nazi’s. Those ideas are great but often pale in comparison to the episodes which are more character centred.
No character was more a victim of underused powers than Kelly. She could hear other people’s thoughts and then she had the power of a rocket science and neither one was really utilised to its fullest potential. Rocket science was a bit lame anyway and it only really seemed to get used once or twice outside of an introductory joke where no one believed a chav could be a rocket scientist. And perhaps that’s the biggest problem I have with what Misfits has become. In the beginning, it was fun to watch a bunch of downtrodden youths struggling in their lives being given awesome powers and completely misusing them. Their powers were a reflection of who they were and their deepest flaws. Since then however the powers have become a means for a joke or a punchline, or a brief one episode challenge. I think this change really happened around the time they introduced a character who could teleport about a foot in front of himself.
Perhaps this is a just a side effect of the very short seasons that Misfits has. That isn’t really a flaw with the show but rather how British television sets out its seasons. And yet, American shows such as Breaking Bad can tell effective arcs in eight episodes, so there’s no reason why Misfits can’t build up to something over eight episodes too. One area I think that this would have been effective is raising Seth’s girlfriend from the dead. Although I do enjoy that episode, I also feel that it escalated rather quickly. I think that his girlfriend’s insatiable lust for blood and his two-timing Kelly could have been drawn out over a couple episodes and been equally effective.
Case in point, the second new character, Finn, was described as having telekinesis, but not in an A-list kind of way. What exactly is wrong with the A-list kind of way? Nathan was given immortality in an A-list kind of way and it still made for interesting stories. This power doesn’t really reflect anything of his character, at least not as far as I can see from trailers, but it feels like the power is just meant as a joke. Like ‘haha, he’s got a crap version of a good power.’ Although the producers adamantly state that they aren’t trying to bring in another character like Nathan, it does feel like they’re trying to replicate the success that character had. However, Nathan as a person was funny, which had little to do with his power. Even Rudy’s split personality power is used for gags. Often his jokes come from literally arguing with himself. That said, I do like Rudy because his power is intricately tied to his insecurities. Perhaps Jess and Finn will surprise me in the show but my first impressions from the trailer aren’t exactly positive.
There is one cast member that hasn’t been addressed, although he isn’t really a new character. He isn’t a series regular either though. Seth has been around since the season 2 Christmas special, although it was only in the most recent season that the show really delved into the character and his backstory. It was actually built up quite well by introducing a character who traded powers and not instantly explaining why. So the audience were left wonder why this man was trading powers. Throughout season three we saw him talking to associates in person and on the phone. It was just disappointing that the climax of that story was resolved so quickly in one episode. I’m glad Seth is back and I’m intrigued to find out what Howard Overman has planned for the character next.
On the whole, I don’t feel quite as hyped up for the fourth season of Misfits as I hoped I would be. I was really looking forward to the previous season and it just ended up being a bit of let down with dissatisfying powers and inconsequential episodes. This time around, my expectations have been adjusted. I really hope this season will be better than expected. Yet, the team are reduced to fighting a six foot killer rabbit and the horsemen of the apocalypse it seems more likely season four will be a sign of the end.