Forget the last season of Doctor Who or Torchwood on BBC. The series that has been showcasing just how good British SF on telly can be is the current series of Misfits over on Channel 4. While I found the former two shows severely lacking in coherent plots and properly distributed drama, the latest season of Misfits has been keeping pretty entertaining.
The fourth episode of the current season, aired yesterday, went with a whole alternative history plot of time travelling and what if the Nazis won the Second World War. Relating it to the universe that the series had already set up for itself, nothing was too predictable and what was happening on screen made perfect sense. You weren’t left fumbling in the dark for answers or explanations as to what the hell was going on. I’m not saying that stuff was handed out on a plate to you, but it showed that SF does not need to be wacky and implement tonnes of deus ex machina in order to be good.
In a way, I sometimes feel that Doctor Who is only wacky in order to just keep kids entertained. As if that’s all they need. Truly, I was bitterly disappointed by the last lot of Who and Torchwood. It was really beginning to make me think that SF on British telly is all about being stupidly impossible, but what Howard Overman has been doing with his series is just wonderful.
I’m not saying that it would be possible to make Doctor Who implement more coherent plotting that doesn’t involve you keeping a filing cabinet of case notes beside you for an entire season in order to understand the ending. The formula for current Who has become too ingrained now. What I’m saying is that if anyone else is going to set up a new British SF series anytime soon, they should take a look at all the things Misfits is doing right first.
Okay, and I’ll admit that the fact that you can’t get lines such as, “I’ve just been fighting fucking Nazis and kicking the shit out of Hitler,” into a pre-watershed show may be causing me to be a tad biased. Though I haven’t heard an equivalent none-sweary punch line in either of the BBC’s offerings over the last few seasons.
Though I do believe that the Americans should be wary of watching the remake of Misfits should it ever see the light of day. After all, they managed to mess up Skins and that was essentially about teens, sex, drugs, drink and bad music.