Misfits, the tv series

Hmm.

I’m trying to determine why the current season of Misfits is not working for me. It’s not, that’s clear.

The earlier seasons of Misfits were about the failure of superpowers to solve the problems of ordinary people. How, in fact, once you get superpowers you are still entirely you. It’s like winning the lottery — people want things from you, expect things from you, want to use or control you, and you are still the same muddling-around half-mess you always were. Powers don’t make you someone else. They make you you, with powers.

What made the first few seasons of Misfits work so charmingly was that the people-with-powers the show followed were low-grade criminals. Not supervillains. Not even really very skilled criminals. After all, they’d been caught and sentenced. These were people with a proven track record of making terrible decisions. Once they had powers, their decisions remained largely terrible. This was the fascinating part.

The other thing that worked on the first seasons was the cast. They were, by and large, absolutely terrific. Good actors, all of them. Sometimes downright fantastic. And they did it, they sold these characters as fully realized, complex humans. The stereotypes were present, but each character had depth. The depth was in the script and the direction, and then the actors made me believe it.

In this latest season much of that is gone. The cast has almost entirely rolled over. The new characters are not as cleverly written. When they are given good bits, not all of the actors can make the moment work. The violence has escalated from the earlier seasons. So has the sex. In addition, while the earlier seasons had a fair amount of blunt sexual talk and crassness, there seems to be an escalation of those things to no purpose I can fathom.

I still want to know more about the world of Misfits. But I don’t think I want to learn about it with these characters. I don’t like them very much. And I’m not finding them to be interestingly distasteful. If I want to watch pointless, thick-headed misogyny and racism, I’ll watch Fox News post-election coverage.

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