Misfits Series 3: Screening + Q&A

Misfits Series 3, Episode 1: BFI Screening + Q&A with creator Howard Overman and cast members Lauren Socha, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Iwan Rheon…and the new guy, Joe Gilgun.

As we all know very well, Nathan has gone. Last seen taking on Las Vegas in this online short, his replacement in the ASBO 5 is Joe Gilgun (This Is England, This Is England ’86), who’s stepping into the orange jumpsuit as the new guy…Rudy. The gap Nathan was sure to leave would be huge, and lots of fans were immediately skeptical; no matter how often it’s called an ensemble show, Nathan was a huge driving force of the first two series and it’s easy to argue that the show would not have been the same without him.

But now Nathan’s gone, and everyone has new powers: they’re inventive and a little off-kilter, played-for-laughs and taken seriously, and there’s one in particular that could prove very interesting if it’s explored in the right way. Where their original powers reflected who they were then, this time it’s about who the characters want to (or could) be: brilliant, someone else, ahead of the game. There’s room for some deep thinking with these new powers, but Misfits has never shied away from addressing big issues in amongst its comedy and irreverence.

But, just as the first ever episode focused on Nathan, this episode is given over to Joe Gilgun as Rudy. His introduction is swift, mesmerising and revealing, and his power is, on first viewing, visually astonishing. Whether it’s from the A List or not, wait and see. The big question, though – does he replace Nathan? No. He goes one better, and becomes a brilliant, engaging character in his own right. And he’s got more of a history with the rest of the gang than you might think… It sounds blasphemous but Nathan’s absence isn’t felt, caught up completely in watching Rudy’s character unfold onscreen. He’s another laugh-out-loud, hilariously offensive creation, but never a carbon copy and, perhaps, more immediately appealing than Nathan; there’s a part of Rudy that thinks about other people. All of the characters have evolved since that first episode (just look at Simon), and Rudy’s introduction feels like another new chapter in an ongoing story.

The episode itself was a great opener, managing to navigate necessary exposition in such a brilliant, funny way that you don’t even notice; not until you realise that you feel as though you’ve known Rudy forever. There’s a return to some recognisable Misfits tropes, but it feels right to cover some old (and possibly bloody) ground in setting up this new dynamic. The power-dealing Seth has returned, this time with a much larger and ongoing role that could prove to be a brilliant series arc. A personal favourite: the apathetic probation worker Shaun is back to steal every scene he’s in. Interesting fact of the day: the first three episodes of this series have more special effects than the entirety of series two. There’s a very good reason why, and the FX team have done some incredible low-budget work that the series arguably hinges on. Misfits is operating on its usual morally ambiguous ground, and the good news is that it’s as fantastic as ever.

WARNING: some vague spoilers below.

The Q&A was a mixture, somewhere between confessional and teasing, and almost as entertaining as the episode. As the credits rolled on episode one a Northern-twanged voice, very recognisably Joe Gilgun’s, shouted, “That new lad’s well fit!” Luckily for him this was met with applause. If you’re looking to see what Rudy’s character is like then watching an interview with Joe might just do the trick, as they’re rather similar in their approach to communicating with others. The cast (minus Antonia Thomas, who was filming a night shoot covered in fake blood) seem like genuine friends, dissolving into anecdotes and short-hand that gave the panel a veering, tangental quality and a high laughter count. The questions and answers covered a fair amount in an hour, from the idea of an American remake (“on the table”) to a fan request for the return of the much-loved Nikki, and creator Howard Overman revealed that the last scene of series three was written only a few days before it was filmed, and in fact sets up the direction of series 4. Asked whether we’d see any of the original powers return, specifically Curtis’ ability to travel backwards in time, Overman was suspiciously cagey. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett managed to let something crucial slip seconds later, of course, but don’t go searching for spoilers – it will be worth the wait.

Misfits returns to screens on October 30th but, because nobody can wait that long, here’s a handy full-length trailer for the new series to get you in the mood.