Because I review a whole tv series rather than individual episodes, there is a chance of spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the whole series yet, stop reading now!
A show which loses majority of its cast within the first three seasons shouldn’t survive. It should struggle to maintain its appeal when the core characters that you invested so much in over the first three seasons are replaced by people who you hardly know or have to get reinvested in all over again.
Misfits survived one of these blows once. When it lost Robert Sheehan’s character Nathan, I wasn’t sure how the show could really continue. He was the funniest, most engaging and most interesting character. A lot of the humour, a very central element to the whole show, came from his character. I was pleasantly surprised though, when Joseph Gilgun replaced him as Rudy and if anything, actually managed to be a better character than Nathan ever was.
He gets to shine even more this season. He gets to be even more revolting, even more ridiculous and so out of touch and out of his depth that he manages to steal every scene. I doubt they would ever be able to replace his character if he decided to leave because he is the best aspect of the whole show. He even gets some character development this season. One episode which sees another aspect of his power appear is a great showcase of Gilgun’s acting and you forget that it’s the same guy playing three characters.
The show has also had to introduce three new characters this season. Losing Kelly, Simon and Alisha last season has meant the show has almost had to start again. It could have taken the opportunity to reinvent itself but it made the positive move to carry on with the same theme and style of show regardless of the cast change.
The new cast members are a mixed bag. Finn, played by Nathan McMullen is a great addition to the cast. He is funny, stupid and clueless; all great features of a Misfits character. Jess on the other hand is a bit of an Alisha clone. She doesn’t really bring anything new or radical to the show and feels much more like a female filler character than a fresh new addition like Rudy or Finn. Later on, replacing another surprise departure, is Abbey. She has much more potential but doesn’t quite get used as much as she could have been this season.
The cast only make up a small part of the show though. The stories have always been the strongest part of the series and this is no different in season 4. The opening episode doesn’t pause for breath or give the audience chance to meet our new characters properly but instead throws everyone in at the deep end and begins a complex but clever opening story. The rest of the series plays with the serious to silly themes that it always has; from controlling girlfriends (literally), lost family members, kidnapped nuns and stolen penises. The show is a radical, mixed bag and is so much better for it.
Its testament to the series that it takes advantage of the bizarre but unrestrictive setting it has created for itself. “The Storm” can account for powers of any sort and the show really plays with this idea. It never gives our central characters any powers that are incredible or even very helpful; Finn’s telekinesis, the best of the powers, is limited and weak. In fact, it plays down the powers very well. The central characters very rarely use them and they are very rarely central to the shows story but instead another aspect which offers a different angle to a familiar story.
I thought that Misfits would begin to struggle after three seasons and a cull of cast members but the new characters, fresh stories and bizarre powers keep the shows momentum going. It still feels as fresh as season 1 did and as long as they keep Gilgun’s Rudy, I can see it continuing for a while longer.
Overall, Misfits season 4 feels as good as any of the other seasons which is surprising considering the huge changes that its been forced to make. The new characters are a mix of quality but Gilgun’s Rudy manages to steal and save any scene. The stories are still clever, funny and fantastic and demonstrate that you don’t need to make a show about superpowers and have every character as a heroic, glossy role model.
Best Episode – Episode 4: This is a great demonstration of all the characters and has an amazing, quite scary villain. It also brings to a head (excuse the pun) the most bizarre of stories this season.
Best performance – Joseph Gilgun as Rudy
Should there be another season? – Yes, the show is still as good as ever. The characters are good, the stories are fantastic and it proves that a cast don’t always make a show.
Season Rating – 4.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)