We’ve all been there: you’re talking up your favorite show to a friend, co-worker or obstinate family member when they suddenly wrinkle their nose and say, “There’s nothing good on television these days.” Or worse, “I don’t watch television,” a phrase always uttered with derision.
I know it’s tempting to argue with these inane statements, but before you start proselytizing about the wonders of Mad Men, remind yourself that the real problem is these poor, lost souls don’t know how to watch television. Even the most hardcore television fans can find themselves stuck in a show rut, watching their Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs on an eternal loop and bemoaning the good old days.
The problem is there is a lot of truly terrible programming to sift through— soul-crushing reality shows, formulaic procedurals and a glut of Two and a Half Men reruns— before you can find the good stuff. And sometimes the good stuff isn’t even on the television, but instead it lives only on the wild, undiscovered plains of the internet.
It’s a daunting task for anyone, but doubly so for folks who aren’t already television junkies. That’s where I come in: every week I’ll spotlight a show, some currently airing, some long cancelled, that’s worth watching. I’m a firm believer that there’s a show out there for everyone, even your non-television owning, foreign film watching hipster friend, and Something Good To Watch will help you find it.
Show: Misfits; created by Howard Overman
Time Commitment: Two seasons (13 hour long episodes); a third season is set to air later this year.
Who’s Going To Like It: People who were disappointed by Heroes and are already bored with Alphas. Comic book fans. People fascinated by youth culture. Actual young people.
What It’s About: A group of juvenile delinquents receive super powers during a freak lightening storm on their first day of community service, bonding them together as an unlikely group of, yep, you guessed it, misfits. They spend the rest of the series covering up accidental murders, hooking up with each other, encountering other newly super powered people and hooking up some more.
Why It’s Worth Watching: It takes a completely original approach to the superhero genre by never actually turning its super powered characters into heroes. Or villains. Or anything at all really. They mostly just keep going about their lives, using their powers to save themselves when necessary, but not really being all that bothered with the rest of humanity. It’s a refreshingly honest genre show that delves into the messy, sex-fueled youth culture of Britain and still manages to be at turns creepy, quirky and always funny.
It’s first and foremost a series about friendships, about finding your own tribe, but don’t get me wrong, the SciFi elements are just as fun, if not more so. In the first season, we get a deliciously twisty time-travel episode, a girl with the power to turn any wild child into a cardigan wearing zombie and a mysterious hooded vigilante. It doesn’t scrimp on the weird.
Misfits is that rare series that’s interested in both character and plot; it’s bawdy, vulgar and sincere, often switching from lighthearted comedy to dark drama without pausing for a breath. It’s a dizzying bundle of contradictions with a kickass soundtrack to boot. It’s a special series; one that’s not going to be right for every viewer, but for the ones who dig its madcap style it’s sure to become an addiction.
Standout Moment: Breakout star Robert Sheehan stands on a rooftop in the climatic scene of the season one finale and gives a surprisingly poignant ode to the joys of being young. (Language NSFW.)
Where To Watch It: Hulu, E4.