Misfits Season 3 DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Channel 4 DVD
Directed by Antonia Thomas
Written by Howard Overman
2011, Region 2 (PAL), Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 26th December 2011
Joseph Gilgun as Rudy Wade
Iwan Rheon as Simon Bellamy
Robert Sheehan as Nathan Young
Lauren Socha as Kelly Bailey
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Curtis Donovan
Antonia Thomas as Alisha Bailey
It's Heroes on a dingy British housing estate. Five young scallywags carrying out community service are granted superpowers when they're caught in a cosmic storm. Like The Fantastic Four if the four had all been pottymouth street urchins. Also, there are five of them. Six if you count newcomer Rudy's rather unique power.
Series three of Misfits is notable for the absence of Irish motormouth Nathan, apparently now residing in a Las Vegas jail. He's replaced with fellow motormouth Rudy, who has the ability to split himself into two separate entities. Like Dead Ringers, right down to the gynaecological fascination.
Many will find the loss of Nathan jarring, but the character was always my greatest barrier in enjoying the series. In fact, I missed much of series 1 and 2 the first time around due to my inability to watch the programme for more than half an hour without wanting to strangle Robert Sheehan. Preferably in the midst of one of his stupid, unfunny one-liners. Joseph Gilgun's Rudy offers more of the same, but his attitude is less self-assured and smug, his lines funnier. That said, his likeability is entirely dependent on how amusing one finds a man urinating in a sink. Beyond the first episode, Nathan's disappearance is not once mentioned. The gang don't miss Nathan and neither should anyone else. There's certainly no decline in quality.
Like previous seasons, much of series 3 relies on a Smallville style "freak of the week" structure, the gang encountering a differently powered individual each episode. The quality varies depending on who's headlining (as a rule, Curtis episodes are quite dull) but there's not a bad episode amongst them. The highlight would be the hilarious and gory zombie cheerleaders episode.
Misfits has always had a high body count, but series 3 really pushes it. Suspension of disbelief is required as a veritable apocalypse is visited upon innocents and superfreaks alike. Aside from the fact that they're never held to task for any of the deaths they're responsible for, there's an amoral streak to the youths that feels somewhat disconcerting. The final episode touches on this briefly, but not enough to relieve the suspicion that they should all be in prison several times over by now. The show's anarchic, punky nature make it impossible to take too seriously though.
Episode 1: Deals mostly with the arrival of Rudy and the youths' new found powers, following an exchange with Seth, the 'power broker' (like a drug dealer, except selling superpowers). Simon can see into the future, Kelly is a rocket scientist, Alisha can see the world through others' eyes and Curtis can change himself into a woman. If anything, the powers are even more useless now. Episode one is a great introduction to Rudy, even if the youngsters' inevitable return to community service feels predictable and lazy.
Episode 2: Curtis uses his power to bypass his ban and return to competitive running at the community centre. In his feminine form he engages in a little Sapphic love with a fellow runner. An overly serious rapey subplot sits ill at ease with Misfits' comedy nature, but some funny lines from Rudy and a cathartic payoff lighten the mood.
Episode 3: Simon befriends a comic book artist who has the ability to control others' actions. The odd couple relationship between Simon and Alisha is explored. Rudy might be the loudest Misfit, but over the course of series 3, it's Simon who begins to emerge as their leader and the most interesting character.
Episode 4: The most high-concept episode yet. An old man travels back in time to kill Hitler and prevent World War II from happening. But it all goes massively wrong, resulting in the world slipping into an alternate future where Nazis rule England. It's chav Kelly's time to shine as she discovers that only she can set things right. As it happens, the Nazis are perfectly fine with interracial relationships now (Alisha is dating the Nazi probation worker). Attitudes have changed some since the 1940s. It's typically funny, but there's a distinct lack of scope which makes this the most disappointing episode of the series.
Episode 5: Body swap shenanigans abounds as Kelly becomes trapped in the body of a coma patient whilst the latter tries to rekindle her relationship with her boyfriend. The race is on for the gang to get Kelly back before life support is switched off.
Episode 6: Rudy contracts a super powered STD. Kelly's relationship with the power broker begins to blossom. Meanwhile Curtis's power develops some curious side-effects, randomly changing him into his female alter-ego like some sort of Doctor Jekyll & Miss Hyde.
Episode 7: The power broker finds a way to resurrect his dead girlfriend. Zombies ensue when a recently resurrected cat goes Pet Semetary. There's a great visual gag with a giant hammer and some of the best jokes and action in the series. The best episode of series 3, by far.
Episode 8: With the arrival of a super-powered medium (a great cameo from UK comic actor Mark Heap) comes the ghosts of seasons past; the Foulmouthed Five have to contend with dead probation workers and murdered enemies cluttering up the place, looking for closure. It's both funny and touching, but the youths' failure (sympathetic Simon aside) to apologise to any of their victims is remarkable. Series 3 ends on an intriguing but vaguely anticlimactic note.
Misfits is consistently entertaining, inventive and intelligent. Series 3 is the most enjoyable so far – not only is it amongst the best of UK genre TV, but the best superhero show since series 1 of Heroes.
Video and Audio:
Not graded as this was a screener.
Nathan returns in the first of two short episodes, explaining the character's disappearance. I found it unwatchable, although his fans will be satisfied. The second episode is a more conventional Misfits story, pitting the chaps against a super-powered graffiti artist. Amongst the extras, there are features on the special effects, the stunts and a set of outtakes.