1/01/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
Region 2 DVD. pub:4DVD B002GV4ORQ. 4 DVDs 6 * 45 minute episodes. Price: £19.99 (UK)). stars: Robert Sheehan, Iwan Rheon, Lauren Socha, Nathan Stewart Jarrett, Antonia Thomas.
check out website: www.e4.com/misfits
The six-part series 'Misfits' first appearing on British television on the E4 Channel has now been released as a collected DVD. This has nothing to do with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, rather it involves five ASBO teenagers doing community service in a community centre. Dressed in orange outfits, to some extent they resemble inmates at Guantánamo Bay.
This is comedy drama, raw and gutsy and not for the faint-hearted. Contemporary in nature, it is vibrant and electric, a pleasant change to much of the rubbish that is going about today. The five teenagers are probably like many of the teenagers in modern Britain. Society has left them at an impasse where they can't really progress either from a lack of education or from social constraints put upon them. Basically, they don't have much hope for the future and as a consequence they have a distinct attitude problem. Many in the same situation would dream of being different in a way that would make them out of the ordinary. These people are granted this wish when a freak storm bestows super-powers upon them.
The acting is superb and the characterisation is excellent. We have five individuals, not stereotypes, competently and powerfully portrayed. It has to be stated that the content is not suitable for children. There are scenes of sexual activity, drug-taking and violence. Industrial language is also common. In fact, the website to the series does not recommend anyone under the age of 18 to enter.
The storm that affects them is immaterial. Any gimmick would have done and it's not of paramount importance to the story. We have Curtis the aspiring black Olympic athlete who has been done for possessing drugs. He gains the ability to run back time and change things that have happened. Kelly is a young female yob who you wouldn't want to pick a fight with, especially after she has gained the ability to read your thoughts. Simon is a sad and lonely lad who doesn't say much and is even more invisible when he is able to turn himself invisible. Alisha is a sexy and attractive coloured girl whose powers are enhanced after the storm so that anyone she touches goes into a sexual frenzy. Nathan is a bit of an enigma, sarcastic, cheeky and disrespectful but this young Irishman has the gift of the gab. Blatant to the point on many occasions, he is actually quite likeable but for some reason, much to his consternation, he doesn't seem to have gained any super-powers.
Just as the five are beginning to discover their powers, it is also evident that others have been affected by the storm including the guy in charge of the community centre who turns into a murderous monster. He is killed and because they believe nobody will believe them, they decide to bury the body. This begins a chain of events which will last throughout the entire series.
Having a super-power may seem a good thing at first sight but there are negatives, too. Alisha discovers that it is difficult to have a meaningful relationship with anyone because she doesn't know if they fancy her for herself or her super-ability to drive people into a sexual frenzy. Kelly finds that reading people's minds is not always a good thing and Curtis, when he tries to change the past, only makes things worse for everyone.
Towards the end of the series, a girl appears on the scene. A miss goody two shoes, she has the ability to affect the behaviour of anyone she meets simply by talking to them. It's like the invasion of the body snatchers! It seems only Nathan, apparently without any super-powers, can save the day.
I'm glad to discover that a new series will be made next year. 'Misfits' is certainly different and it is also compelling watching. Within its age limitation of viewing, it can definitely be recommended. I'm sure this will be re-run on another channel, probably within a few months. However, the DVD is very good value for money at six episodes each of 45 minutes duration for approximately £12. The review copies also contained a disc of extras but I couldn't get this to operate.
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