Misfits (Season 3): 8 Episodes: with a whole new bunch of powers and a line-up change, the gang are re-booted and re-established. It takes around 1/2 the season, but once the new guy – ‘split personality’ Rudy – is properly established his comic timing, screen presence and character far outdo Nathan, which isn’t an easy feat. The rest of the cast keep up with their characters well and the dealer gets a bigger role than before. A critical problem with Season 3 is that the writing is all over the place, I’ve never seen a series with such variation in quality between episodes; some are among the best and most clever to date, yet others are barely watchable or deadly boring, and the rest are average at best. To finger out a couple, the Nazi time travel and gender bending episodes are just boring, boring and boring – however the super STD episode is comedy gold and the zombie cheerleaders is nothing short of pure cult. Slow burning, with individual episodes ranging between 1/10 and 8/10, Misfits Season 3 asks a lot more of its audience than previous outings, and although it’s still daring, dark and outrageous it only gets its shit together in the final couple of episodes. It’s definitely lacking the clever writing that made the first two seasons special – Season 4 will be a tough sell for me.
Black Mirror: (3 Episodes) nihilistic social commentator and comedian Charlie Brooker’s latest TV drama Series. Despite each episode being set in a different reality, time and having different casts; all stories impeccably balance being realistic yet bizarre, believable yet surreal, sensible yet satirical, controversial & shocking yet engaging & thought-provoking. The series takes things from the present, twists and warps them until they’re barely recognizable, then throws it up on the screen as a cautionary tale, highlighting where these things can, have, or are going wrong. The casting and acting in particular are outstanding; production is ridiculously high and very slick – this is clearly something that has aimed exceptionally high from the planning through to post-production stages. The first two episodes are fantastic, however the finalé feels more like a single afterthought stretched to the limit – it’s still good, but has by far the least to say about the fewest subjects. The 15 Million Credits rant is among the most powerful and affecting TV moments I can remember watching. TV is undoubtedly where Brooker and his opinions shine brightest – I’ve started two of his books but finished neither due to page after page of brutal insults becoming rapidly tedious. On the whole, Black Mirror is darkly satirical, riveting and massively unsettling, this could well be the important thing you’ll see on TV, but don’t read anything else about it as there’s spoilers everywhere; hunt this down and make your own mind up.
Episode 1 – The National Anthem: The UK Prime Minister must meet a bizarre demand in order to free a kidnapped princess. Satire and commentary of newsrooms, politics, social media and the fickle public.
Episode 2 -15 Million Merits: a numb dystopian future where people work for merits and spend on useless rubbish. Scathing critique of reality TV, talent shows, free-to-air adult channels, consumerism and where our lives may be heading.
Episode 3 – The Entire History of You: anybody can have a chip that will replay any memory on demand… but that’s not always a good thing. Stand-alone sci-fi idea, definitely the odd one out.