[Contains stomped/stolen mobile-phones and SPOILERS!!]
After the recent resurrection of my crush on Lauren Socha, I discovered the Misfits (S1-3) boxset on sale for a fiver, and snapped it up. I can now happily report that the first series is just as funny, thrilling, and chilling as I remembered it to be… in fact, it might even be a little more enjoyable second time around, thanks to the clever foreshadowing of revelations made in the finale, and subsequent series (specifically ‘Nathan’s (Robert Sheehan) secret power and the identity of the masked/hooded BMX-bandit who comes to his aid). It’s also reassuring to find that famous lines of dialogue that have been flogged to death on merchandise and in gifs still make me laugh-out-loud when delivered by the supremely-talented cast in the proper context.
Until I watched the extensive “behind the scenes” featurettes, I didn’t realise that Antonia Thomas was fresh out of drama school when she was cast as shameless sex-pot ‘Alisha Daniels’… and you’d never guess it from her audacious and accomplished performance here. Socha had a few more credits under her belt, but was still relatively unknown, and lobbied hard for the role which would eventually bag her a Bafta… so kudos to the producers/directors for introducing her to a wider audience, and allowing her to keep her awesome Derby accent. It’s easy to see why Socha was so drawn to the character of ‘Kelly Bailey’, because she presents such a fascinating paradox… on the one hand she’s the most aggressive and violent of the young offenders, but she’s also the most caring and compassionate! Terrifying when she’s angry, but adorable when she’s smiling… she’s an undeniable force of nature! She’s also absolutely hilarious, thanks to Socha’s priceless delivery and screen-presence… and sexy as hell, when she isn’t wearing that pesky orange jump-suit. Although I’d agree with Nathan’s assessment that Kelly looks a lot prettier after she’s been brainwashed by the “Virtue” cult and starts dressing like a fresh-faced 1970s librarian, given a choice, I much prefer the style she’s rocking at the funeral in the finale, all gothed up in black. Why she chose to wear her most revealing outfit of the series on such a sombre occasion, I don’t really know… but I’m not complaining either!
The recurring cast also included Alex Reid as ‘Sally’, a probation officer who arrives to replace the one our heroes self-defenced-to-death in the opening episode, and begin a series-long investigation into his disappearance. The relationship that develops between her and ‘Simon’ (Iwan Rheon) is fascinating to behold, because you can never be entirely sure how much of herself she’s putting into the flirtation, and how much is simply for show. Did she ever really care about him, or was she just using him? I guess we’ll never know now… but top marks to Reid for maintaining that ambiguity throughout, and providing us with such a complex and sympathetic antagonist. I think the most compelling aspect of her showdown with Simon is that they’re both pretty evenly-matched morality-wise… I mean, neither of them have very “clean hands” at that point, and they’ve both done bad things for good reasons, so it’s hard to know who to root for, really…
Meanwhile, Michelle Fairley appeared in eps #1.1/2 as Nathan’s exasperated mother ‘Louise Young’… before going on to play ‘Catelyn Stark’ in Game of Thrones… though she and Rheon didn’t share any scenes together in either show, so it’s not much of a coincidence, really. Amy Beth Hayes appeared in ep #1.2 as ‘Ruth’, a beautiful “volunteer” who meets-cute with Nathan at the community centre… and Clare Welch played an older version of the same character, after the effects of the magickal meteor storm that made her young again start to wear off. Bunmi Mojekwu appeared in ep #1.3 as ‘Jodi’, the injured party Kelly assaulted before the first episode to earn her ASBO… Anna Koval appeared in ep #1.4 as Curtis’ ex-girlfriend ‘Sam’, who inadvertently guilts him into travelling back in time to try to change their fates, and then ends up dating him again alongside Alisha, thanks to a glitch in the timeline… Florence Bell appeared in ep #1.5 as ‘Rebecca’, the stressed-out mother of a magickal baby that tries to hypnotise Nathan into adopting it… and finally, Jessica Brown Findlay appeared in ep #1.6 as ‘Rachel’, the priggish cult leader who wants to use her brainwashing powers to paint the world beige. Boo! Note: There’s a short interview with Findlay in a featurette about her big stunt scene with Sheehan, if anyone’s curious.