Big changes for E4’s ASBO superkids this year – did they handle it with grace?
It was a testing third year for the Misfits, E4’s profanity-loving ASBO superheroes. Not only did they lose lead actor Robert Sheehan, whose Nathan character made himself very central, they also distributed new powers to everyone, then introduced new central character Rudy, played by Joseph Gilgun, almost turning the first episode into a new pilot.
So, a challenging remit for any show, but Misfits’ first two years were astonishingly good TV, so if anyone can do it, surely they can?
The end result is somewhat successful; there are problems, but not quite the ones I expected. Let’s get the praise in first: Rudy. I love him. Not sure I’d want to be his real life friend, but in this show, he’s great. Gilgun manages to fill the Nathan-shaped hole as big-mouthed tryhard, but his folksy, relaxed manner stops Rudy feeling like a knock-off.
Not to say that Robert Sheehan isn’t missed – his absence removes a certain manic energy; the tone feels different, more conventional, rather than the crazy tumble it was before.
The new powers are interesting, although impractical compared to the old ones; Simon and Kelly in particular don’t get much use out of them. Actually, Curtis gets the most interesting one, but sadly they roll it back, leaving him… stuck with a power that creates zombies? Not sure why he hasn’t asked power-dealer Seth to take that off him yet.
Speaking of the suited man, he’s snuck under the radar as a new cast member. His romance with Kelly is fun, though, and he opens up new stories with his power-juggling, so I can see why they want him.
There are weak episodes in the middle of the run, in which the show ventures a little too far into standard TV fantasy territory, without enough subversion to break it up – I’m thinking particularly of the comic artist and Nazi episodes. And the finale, well, they were hinting at that, but didn’t think they’d actually go there.
So top marks for bravery, but it does leave me wondering where they’ll take it in that fourth series that’s been commissioned. At least Rudy’s still alive. even if hardly anyone else is. And, all in all, a decent third run of Misfits, if not a gleeful masterpiece like the first couple.
You can see… currently all of the Misfits backlog on 4OD, as well as various other extras on the official site. Let us know how the third series was for you.
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