The chavvy British answer to the X-Men return, minus a few of their number. With Nathan presumably (hopefully) still rotting in a Las Vegas jail cell, Kelly written out between series, and lovebirds Simon and Alisha both dead in their Romeo & Juliet time-travel paradox, Rudy and the gang are at half-strength.
Enter new recruits Jess and Finn, the latest of the young delinquents to be sentenced to hard time at the unluckiest community centre in London. On their first day, they encounter self-professed unreliable narrator Rudy, who proceeds to spin them a grand old tale involving betrayal, briefcases full of cash and, um, masturbation. Several of the core cast members may have departed, but Misfits' filthy sense of humour remains intact and as ribald as ever. “I think you've got a beautiful penis,” dealer Seth tells Rudy, in one of the more re-printable lines from a very gory story which involves chainsaws, (many) knob gags and people pissing themselves in freezers.
Kelly's departure between series is explained upon her apparently deciding to begin a new career defusing land mines in war-torn countries. A likely story. More cynical viewers might suggest that it has more to do with actress Lauren Socha's recent conviction for assault than Kelly's uncharacteristic benevolence (in a case of art imitating life, she was sentenced to community service) but we couldn't possibly comment. In any case, the newcomers show promise. Judging by their potty mouth, they'll fit right in with Rudy, Seth and Curtis.
The show's freak of the week format remains strong, with the group encountering a seriously injured young man who has the 'power' to inspire others to try to kill him all the time. As powers go, it’s very much the short end of the stick. As the three Misfits turn on one another, poor Jess and Finn are caught in the middle. When the 'other' Rudy gets involved, the kids' own powers are revealed. You're not anyone in Misfits London unless you have a power of your own.
This opening episode is a riotous return from everyone's favourite community service workers. It's not breaking any new ground, but it does re-establish the status quo of the series very well while also being a nice introduction to the new characters. It was a worry that this first episode might have been a bit morbid, given the losses endured during series three's finale. Where Being Human also lost the majority of its main characters upon its return, Misfits seems to have taken those same losses in its stride. And with Rudy, technically you're getting two Misfits for the price of one anyway (and as they're both Joseph Gilgun, that's a real bargain). Young Finn is particularly intriguing. Why on Earth is he keeping a girl bound and gagged in his flat? This being Misfits, there's bound to be more than meets the eye (and what meets the eye is already pretty creepy). In Jess we appear to have another strong, feisty female character, which Misfits do very well. With Lauren Socha and Robert Sheehan gone, this is the least annoying Misfits line-up so far.
The episode ends with the kids meeting their new probation worker – a very angry looking Shaun Dooley – who issues his wards with one of the most horrifying threats ever heard on a television programme, involving a train, intercourse, dog poo and a teaspoon. Time will tell how long this newbie will last – Misfits' probation workers tend not to have the best rate of survival. It'll be interesting to see how his role in the series pans out.
Misfits is back with a bang. This opening tale is no classic, but there are plenty of dirty laughs and guilty thrills to be had therein. It's a promising return from British television's naughtiest genre show. They might be Misfits, but we love them all the same.