Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Superhero Media: Misfits

I remember when Misfits came on television the first time, I wasn't able to watch it because it was on a digital channel and I still had an analog television. A couple of friends gave it rave reviews, but I just never got around to seeing it. Flash forward to 2018 and I decide to watch the entire series, which is now on Netflix, another friend mentions that she'd stopped watching after the third season. A quick look online told me that most people feel the programme became unwatchable after the third season, as most of the original cast had left. This is actually a little unfair, as the final two seasons of Misfits really don't resemble the original all that much, being more episodic and focused on "monster of the week" style antics rather than the overarching story that it began with. 

The "inciting incident" of Misfits is a mysterious storm that grants the protagonists (and, we find out later, at least 100 other people) super powers, somewhat based on their desires. Curtis gets the ability to travel back in time, because one mistake ruined his sprinting career, Kelly can read minds because she's concerned about what other people think about her, Simon can turn invisible because he's constantly ignored by those around him, and so on. This theme dissipates rather quickly as the writers include more esoteric powers and introduce a character who can "deal" powers by taking and giving them, which he does for money. By the time the final "team" of characters are around, the powers are pretty much just whatever the writers need or want, including flight, telekinesis and removing powers by having sex with someone. Abbey is probably the most fascinating character in the series, not having a power herself, but being an imaginary friend of a woman brought to life; her search for meaning makes for some strong character moments. 

Misfits "feels" a little like a superhero roleplaying game that someone is running, with a good basic premise that kind of falls away after a while because the players caught up with the story the GM had written and wanted to keep going. Where Misfits ends doesn't really resemble where it started, but it's still an entertaining programme with a few really good ideas for supers characters to be discovered. A person whose acid trips come to life, a woman with hypnotic breasts and swapping body parts with another person are all fun ideas to explore in your own writing or games and are mostly handled pretty well here. I can't imagine anyone really wanting to play the characters from Misfits in a miniatures game, but if that was your thing, there are plenty of jumpsuit clad miniatures out there to have a go at converting and painting. Misfits is probably not something I'll rewatch, but the entire series is worth a look if you can find it. 

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