Misfits: The ASBO Five Are Back And Better Than Ever

E4’s ASBO dodging super-teens are back with season three of Misfits, a show that’s lost its most popular character but seemingly none of its momentum, originality or wit.
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E4’s ASBO dodging super-teens are back with season three of Misfits, a show that’s lost its most popular character but seemingly none of its momentum, originality or wit.

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When wiry, Kook-a-like Robert Sheehan (Nathan) had some recent success in Killing Bono (the film, that is) and another flick alongside the ginger wizard from Harry Potter, the Misfits producers must have already seen the writing on the wall. Questions must have been asked, namely, what do you do when your show loses the most popular member of an ensemble cast? They may have looked to shows like Neighbours, who made a habit throughout the 90’s of blithely replacing actors with people sharing no similar physical characteristics whatsoever and continuing with business as usual. They may possibly have considered making a replica of said actor out of papier-mâché and puppeteering him until they could feasibly write him out, which I have it on good authority is what the Aussie soap did with Helen Daniels for almost a decade. The Misfits crew chose a different route however, making a twelve minute webisode which explained Nathan’s absence – he’s currently in a Vegas prison, in case you were wondering - and replacing him with a character similarly enamoured with inappropriate humour.

For some this was never going to be enough to fill the sweary void left behind and minds were already made up that the show was as good as finished. By ‘some’ I mostly mean teenage girls, occupying Twitter with a post-break-up style dismay at the loss of a loved one, sighting arguments such as, ‘no one can do fingering jokes like Nathan’, and ‘no-one’s hair will ever be as curly as his’, and ‘you’re not my real dad anyway. I wish I was never born. I hate you.’ Etc etc. Of course, I’m paraphrasing, and a little oddly at that.

Thankfully, Sheehan’s replacement in the form of Joseph Gilgun (This is England, Coronation Street) is brilliant

Thankfully, Sheehan’s replacement in the form of Joseph Gilgun (This is England, Coronation Street) is brilliant, and has more than enough crass humour to fill the void. So, tear up your Sheehan scrapbook, put the black eye-shadow down and tune in, because if the first instalment is anything to go by then the season three actually looks pretty good.

Episode one of the new series introduces Gilgun as Rudy, a character fully embracing the duality of the human psyche whose superpower is the unwanted ability to divide his mass into two polarized versions of himself – one a strutting, wise-cracking ego-monster with a predilection for anal sex, and the other an insecure and conscientious chap who seems determined to try and control his outspoken counterpart. It’s a subtle touch but in a way a stroke of genius, allowing the writers to feed the same amount of deprived dialogue through Rudy as they did with his predecessor, but also providing simultaneous redemption. The outcome is that you can’t help but find him likeable. Well, half of him, at least.

Mellissa, a girl with a fringe entirely normal in its composition, whose derrière acts as the focus of Rudy’s anal fixation

Alongside Rudy the first episode sees some bit players joining the community service gang, albeit briefly. Firstly, the inexplicably angry Tanya; a villain with a borderline superhumanly asymmetric fringe and the ability to pause time – not unlike Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell, but with less talking to camera and more inflicting bodily harm - and secondly, love interest Mellissa, a girl with a fringe entirely normal in its composition, whose derrière acts as the focus of Rudy’s anal fixation and, for about one second of TV time, that of every adolescent boy watching. Herein lies the conflict of episode one, as Rudy struggles to keep his more sensitive side from betraying his cocky facade, each half of him ends up chatting up one of the girls, unwittingly causing  Emo Zack Morris to go on a lady-spurned rampage, bottling, hanging and stabbing her way through the majority of the forty-five minutes. And all of this over her witnessing a stolen kiss, I can only imagine what she did to her hairdresser.

As for the regular misfits, the third series picks up straight where the last left off. The main cast have all bought new powers from the supernatural ability dealer Seth, who seems destined to play a bigger part in the future. The new abilities are slowly revealed to be, for the most part, pretty underwhelming. Supercharged Vicky Pollard, Kelly, can no longer read people’s minds but is now a Rocket Scientist, because apparently that’s a supernatural ability and not just a job for incredibly smart people who Media Studies students once made fun of. Ex-time rewinder Curtis can now turn himself into a woman, which although possibly helpful on lonely nights of self-exploration or if he ever feels like renting The Notebook, seems, again, not ever so super. On the other hand Alisha no longer gives people the mega-horn every time she touches them, which probably makes Christmas with the family less awkward, but does instead have the ability to see through the eyes of others, a bit like the Eye of Thundera, but more focused, and not on a sword, or in a cartoon. It’s only vaguely similar really. Finally, Simon seems to be steadily improving his ability to be average at Parkour and seeing unhelpfully ambiguous glimpses of the future. At least I presume that’s what those strange soft-focused shots denote, it could just as easily be the effect of some kind of brain tumour pressing on his retina every now and again, but that would be a strange artistic choice to say the least.

The Asbo Five are once again clad in their trademark orange boiler suits and ready for action

Whereas the troop’s original powers represented the types of people they were, this new set represents how much they’ve changed: The alpha male now has a feminine side, the thick girl is a rocket scientist, the girl who only cared about herself can now see things from the perspective of others, and the geeky guy is now really good at jumping and climbing and...okay, the last one doesn’t work, but you get my point – rehabilitation in the justice system does work, or something.

So, with a new member, or two I suppose, The Asbo Five are once again clad in their trademark orange boiler suits and ready for action; currently defined as waterproofing the roof of the now semi-iconic community service centre. The writing’s still sharp, the acting’s still good, and someone, somewhere is still refusing to do their maths homework and take their head from under the pillow until Nathan comes back. Seriously, it’s fine. Have a look. You might enjoy it.

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