When five vastly different people are struck by lightening during their court mandated community service, they awake with newfound abilities. Together, they must learn how to navigate their powers and foster the bond that exists between them in order to reluctantly save the world from one evil after the next.
Spoiler Level: None
In the era of superhero media, certain patterns have fallen into the spotlight. Radioactive spider bites, or American super-soldier experiments, or billionaires with a righteous sense of justice—good people who are given opportunities for power and growth. It is a formula that has worked for years, long before the MCU released Iron Man, before Schumacher gave us his Caped Crusader, and even before Christopher Reeve donned the Kryptonian S.
E4’s Misfits isn’t that. In fact, Misfits is the exact opposite of the typical sci-fi superhero narrative.
While the technological and physical sides of science fiction filmmaking have undeniably grown over the years, there has been little innovation regarding the depiction of heroism as a concept. The lack of change is understandable—lodged firmly in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset of storytelling, but the stagnation keeps us from exploring newer, potentially more exciting avenues.
Recent hits like Amazon’s The Boys or Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy prove that there is an audience for superhero stories that deviate from the norm. These stories are designed with the express purpose of subverting and exceeding expectations, which allows for a more satisfying storytelling experience. If this genre is to thrive with the same growth it has seen in the past decade, then it needs to adapt.
First released in November of 2009, Misfits was among the first shows to adopt a new narrative in the modern superhero era, and it lays out a new way of telling these familiar stories. In direct opposition to the typical superhero archetype, Misfits follows the story of five juvenile offenders—people who are frequently considered to be “bad” in the eyes of the greater public—and humanizes them. It takes the reluctant hero trope and amplifies it to such an outrageous degree that it forces audiences to rethink the very definition of heroism.
Through a single strike of lightning, the bad guys become good guys, the good guys become bad guys, and the audience never knows what is about to happen.
It’s an extraordinary feat that demands a lot of talent, not just from knowledgeable writers and directors, but also from the actors who portray the part. Misfits delivers on both fronts, with writing that is unique both in concept and in dialogue and actors that deliver it with equal parts care and hilarity. The show is so strong in this respect that it became a defining moment in multiple careers, including Robert Sheehan, who always turns in a stellar performance, as well as Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones fame.
Aside from its impact on actors and industry, the show stands well on its own, holding strong among similar media powerhouses of its time like Supernatural or the modern Doctor Who reboot. Though many fans of the show began to lose interest as the original cast dwindled and was eventually completely replaced, the quality of the show and its production never faltered. This show saw success throughout all five of its seasons and serves as a prime example of what can happen when creators are allowed to think outside of the box.
Misfits is a fun and thoughtful show that leaves audiences feeling overwhelmingly human. You will fall in love with the characters, and that's a promise. It's a new take on familiar tropes, which allows for the a suspenseful sweet spot in the world of comfort media.
Amazing Science Fiction: Misfits
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Acting - 10/1010/10
Music - 6/106/10
Production - 9/109/10
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