While Clark Kent and Steve Rogers still appear on the screen as the emblems of North American values, fans are constantly looking for new stories. They want their heroes dark, realistic, and a little naughty. Current audiences flock to characters like Deadpool and Logan, as well as any antihero that rejects traditional ideas.
An example of this is the TV show Misfits, which captures the sensibility of contemporary youth. These young adults are powerful outsiders constantly thinking about sex, drugs, and partying. How can we resist?
The series was first released in 2009 by the BBC as a bizarre concept for a superhero alternative. It revolves around five juvenile delinquents trying to survive their community service. After getting hit by lightning, each acquires special powers. But unlike the cinematic comic book universes, they don’t go on to save the planet. They remain their same horny flawed selves until the occasion might require for them to step in.
Like a black comedy version of The Breakfast Club each character represents a different aspect of adolescence and young adulthood. Since their supernatural abilities are an extension of their own demons, they find solace in alcohol, pleasure, or the wave of drugs.
The show’s magic lies in its simple production. Instead of focusing on showcasing the supernatural aspect of the characters, it chooses to use a peculiar kind of photography that hasn’t been used in almost any recent TV show. The lack of color gives the sense that these 5 delinquents live in a place outside the real world, much like the way they seem to feel. There’s a sense that there’s another world aside from the situation they find themselves in. It’s alluring and depressing at the same time.
With the exception of a few sequences, most of the episodes take place in the same nameless government building. The orange uniforms stand out against the drab grey backdrop. They seem to exist in the middle of nowhere, alienated from the world while standing on the edge of oblivion, an obvious metaphor for adolescence.
The soundtrack is also a key aspect to describe this gang of supernaturally charged weirdos suffering from an existential crisis. With tracks including songs from The Rapture, The Cribs, Florence + The Machine, LCD Soundsystem, and dozens of other anthems portraying the nihilism and indifference these characters feel towards a world forcing them to conform. It becomes the companion to reflect the show’s duality, where decadence and comedy are put against personal tragedies.
Misfits is not exactly the indie version of The Dark Knight, nor is it trying to be. It’s closer to a mix between Skins and Doctor Who. It provides us with plenty of teen nostalgia that isn’t preachy, but instead an adventure storyline where we can easily see ourselves making the same choices or mistakes.
Misfits shows how a teen with special abilities is just as likely to be dismissed and forgotten by the world. Its defiance to portray the darkness in each of us is worth the trip to rediscover that part of us we thought we’d put behind.
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Translated by María Suárez