Looking Ahead to Misfits’ Final Series

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I can’t help but wonder – if Misfits would have ended a couple of years ago, would more people have noticed? As it stands, the fifth and final series of E4’s seminal ASBO superhero show begins in the UK today, and the atmosphere around it is a far cry from anything we would have seen during series two or three. A tumultuous couple of years for the show haven’t done it any favours and, as it bows out in typically (and hilariously) tasteless style, we aren’t expecting to say goodbye to our original ASBO Five – they’re gone, and in their place are four recently added cast members that we’re only just getting to know.

So who’s still watching? Enough people to convince E4 to commission a fifth series after the fourth was met with a curious mixture of indifference and disappointment. Outside circumstances (which had already seen Robert Sheehan’s Nathan replaced with Joseph Gilgun’s Rudy in the third series) meant that Lauren Socha’s Kelly left the show along with Antonia Thomas’s Alisha, Iwan Rheon’s Simon and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett’s Curtis, all within a couple of episodes. That’s a heck of a lot of people to lose so quickly, and what was left was only loosely recognisable as the Misfits we knew and loved.

So what can we expect from the final series? Early word has it that, though there’s still the chance of a movie and/or a US remake, old characters will not be making an appearance in the finale episodes of the show they made so popular. Whether people will enjoy the upcoming send-off seemingly depends on how much they enjoyed the fourth series of the show, and whether they’ve bonded with Jess, Finn, Alex and Abbey as much as they did with the original five community service workers. There will be many who have, but an equal number of old fans who hold the show’s first two or three years as something kind of sacred.

MISFITS Season 2 Episode 4 (18)

But our characters are still reluctant heroes who may one day become Earth’s dysfunctional saviours, they’re still wearing the orange jumpsuits, and there are still lots of super-powered guest stars to enjoy on a weekly basis. The fourth series left us with an intriguing question mark over Alex’s fate (and his potential new power), Abbey’s identity and whether Jess would ever get a bit luckier in love. Most importantly, a lot of what made Misfits special in the first place is still there, and the diminished fanfare the fifth series’ debut is receiving is a real shame.

Things do need to improve, however, and many of the complaints that came in after series four are hard to ignore. For a genre show that’s popularity and critical adoration, arguably, paved the way for similarly risqué sci-fi and fantasy series both in the UK and the US, ignoring those fantastical elements robbed fans of a lot of their enjoyment. It seems certain that the powers are going to return, if only to offer us a big, bold final send off and, with those, the enormously twisted superhero thread will also be re-injected. Will these unfortunate community service workers become proper superheroes? Probably not, but the possibility is exciting.

No matter what, even people who abandoned the show once Robert Sheehan headed off to Hollywood will probably be tuning in to see how it all ends. That pressure, with any luck, will translate into a final series that’s upped its game, with buckets of the humour, the drama and the rampant silliness that have always made Misfits one of the barmiest, surprising and hugely entertaining shows on television.

The writing’s still top-notch, the plot lines never go the way you expect them to and, more importantly than anything, there’s absolutely nothing else like it on television. That should be celebrated in these final eight weeks and, with Rudy’s words – “are we going to become proper superheroes?” – I’m very excited to see what they can come up with. Who’s with me?

Misfits series five airs on E4 in the UK starting Wednesday 23rd October, with no word on when it will appear on Hulu for US audiences. Are you said it’s ending? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.