When I was a kid, British television was the boring stuff on PBS… and Benny Hill.
If you’d told me then that in my 30s I’d be absolutely addicted to UK television programming, I would have said you were taking the piss. But I am. Oh, I totally am. I now refer to things I like as ‘brilliant,’ ‘bloody hell’ is my favorite exclamation, and I’ve been known to utter ‘bollocks.’
The only thing I love more than discovering a great new British show is sharing it with my friends and getting them hooked on it as well. I’m known as bit of a TV pusher. Consider my monthly column, British Invasion, your first free taste. When you find yourself turning tricks to get your next BBC fix, don’t say you weren’t warned.
The first show I’m highlighting isn’t the first British show I fell in love with, but it is, by far, one of my all-time favorites. Ever. Yes, I put this show right up there with Battlestar Galactica, LOST, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Misfits is about five young people about to embark on a sentence of community service after being convicted of various offenses. On the first day of their community service, they’re all struck by lightning during a freak storm and develop super abilities as a result. People who claim they don’t like sci-fi need not worry. Misfits blends light sci-fi with drama, a tinge of suspense, and a whole lotta comedy.
Abrasive Kelly (Lauren Socha), tarnished athlete Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), sexy Alisha (Antonia L. Thomas), awkward Simon (Iwan Rheon), and inappropriate Nathan (Robert Sheehan) make for unlikely heroes, and for all the comparisons to NBC’s Heroes, they are not suddenly transformed into noble superheroes using their powers for good. In fact, most times, they exploit their powers for personal gain. And that’s okay! You know who these people are from the fact that they’re performing community service: they lack direction, rarely taking anything seriously, and they’re just hoping to do their time in orange jumpsuits without getting into any additional trouble. Of course, when you develop the ability to become invisible, read people’s thoughts, and turn back time, it’s kind of hard not to find trouble.
While you will come to learn who these characters really are deep down over the course of three seasons, the fearless writing doesn’t do so in a way that feels forced just because they suddenly want you to like them. In fact, they will continue to do things that drive you crazy, even as you root for them, because they are lovable fuck-ups. As with most British shows, the casting is refreshingly diverse. Interracial couples don’t warrant a ‘very special episode,’ and people of color are frequently cast in leading roles. And the soundtrack will have you spending serious dough at iTunes. It’s the perfect blend of new, classic, and the somewhat obscure.
In case you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons you should get on this. Yesterday.
- You want to know what ‘Monkeyslut’ means. You do.
- Zombie cheerleaders.
- Season 2, Episode 3 will make your jaw drop. And then you’ll call me and thank me. You’re welcome, by the way.