Friday, May 25, 2012
Oh, the disappointment in watching a highly-regarded program just to get in on the cultural zeitgeist and discovering said show hits me the wrong way. I watched three and a half episodes from the first season of Misfits which is a pretty sufficient amount of time to decide you hate the show and don’t want to see it again.
Is the show awful and everyone’s* blind to it? Am I the one that’s off?
Misfits is one of the pioneers in the trend of content distributed through an online TV-watching platform.
The show is supposed to be in the vein of a superhero-genre-meets-ordinary-world show akin to Heroes. The superheroes, in this case, are five juvenile delinquents in the UK and the show is set during their period of community service.
The superheroes, however, are not just unusually ordinary. Their adolescent angst is in full force and some of them might easily be classified as depressed. Watch people brood over what they see as a bleak existence is generally not something that will appeal to your average TV viewer looking for some escapist fare. However, this perhaps more honest approach has been done well a few times before (I’m thinking “Weeds” as the moderately good example and “Party Down” as the holy grail of this subgenre).
In most cases, however, depressed characters don’t bring a profound realism. In this case, the characters aren’t just depressed. They are depressing to watch. Not to mention, somewhat bland and unremarkable: I’d be hard-pressed to argue that the five characters are more substantive or well-rounded than your average one-hour CW drama.
I could see how the characters might have been intended to be more. Simon, the shy one, spends all his time brooding about what must be something significant, but the hints of something greater never manifested into anything interesting in what I saw. Similarly, Nathan the loud and obnoxious one, is occasionally fun but mostly just obnoxious and loud (I’d give Nathan's obnoxious/funny ratio a 95/5 split and that’s still generous).
Lastly, if I haven’t written much about the superhero aspect of the show, it’s because it doesn’t dominate much of the screen time. Characteristic of the UK version of The Office, the show doesn’t center around people doing work so much as sitting around on talking when they’re supposed to be on the clock. Again, this tends to work better with interesting characters and interesting conversations.
With the Incredibles, Heroes, Watchmen, and Sky High playing on the Disney Channel every other week, simply deconstructing the Superhero genre is nothing novel anymore. One needs to have good characters and this show isn’t it.