Tag Archives: Simon

In the Flesh, season 2

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The first season of In the Flesh was very good, but also very bleak. As bleak as its setting in a lonely North England town. It drew some fairly obvious allegories, using the zombies Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferers as stand-ins for homosexuals, religious and racial minorities, immigrants, HIV/AIDS sufferers, and any other group that can most easily be trodden upon by the heartless masses.

I really grew to like Kieren and Amy, who have a pretty adorable friendship. The terrible prejudices and actions of the citizens of Roarton were really difficult to watch. Excruciating, in some cases, because of how easy it is to relate the way the PDS are treated to the way gay people are still treated, and the fact that some of them are attacked. Sometimes by family. In 2014, for fuck’s sake.

The second series is longer (6 episodes, rather than 3), and uses a different sort of allegory.  A new political group, Victus, has been winning seats at Parliament by campaigning with aggressive anti-PDS policies. They (like most far right parties) are channeling people’s fears to enact policies that restrict and control the PDS population. In Roarton, a new MP from Victus shows up, Maxine Martin.

in_the_flesh_wunmiSoon, she has put a system in place to invalidate the passports of all PDS persons. Kieren discovers this when he tries to leave town, to head to Paris and to live a life where he is not completely surrounded by people who hate him and his kind. In order to ‘earn’ his passport back, he has to work to ‘give back’. All the PDS people have to do a certain amount of community service in order to make up for some of the damage they wrought. But as time goes on, it becomes clearer that this is not a system that they can really get out of. The ‘community service’ is mandatory, and they shift the guidelines at a whim. You can draw obvious parallels to concentration camps and internment camps and no-fly lists and ‘random’ inspections of people of color, or anyone with Muhammad in their name. Also to immigrant populations, vilified and contained, mistrusted by the generally douchy public.

The overarching story of the season is the fabled ‘second rising’. There are a few schools of thought on how it may come about, and whether it should come about.  The Undead Liberation Army and its creepy prophet is trying to bring about the second rising. Enter ULA member, Simon. He’s Irish, and he’s all in for the ULA movement. Amy has a crush on him, but in typical Amy fashion, he turns out to be more attracted to Kieren. Que sera, sera.

Simon helps Kieren start to accept who he is–going out without the ‘mousse’ and the contact lenses, looking like the undead person he is. His family hates this, and sees it as such a radical move that he may need to be sent back to a treatment facility to be re-brainwashed.

The second rising can only happen with the help of the first risen. The actual first person that came up from the ground.  Simon thinks this is Kieren. But it’s not.

Amy, once she gets over the fact that Simon isn’t straight, turns her attention back to Philip. She’s going through some stuff–she has tremors sometimes, and occasionally forgets that she’s dead and tries to eat something. Things are changing for her and she’s not sure if that means she’ll turn back into a ‘rabid’ or what. Scary stuff.  The good news is that as soon as she reaches out to Philip, he immediately stops being incredibly creepy and pathetic, and starts to be a little bit adorable.

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In typical Roarton fashion, that doesn’t last long.

It’s a very bleak show, but I actually really enjoy it. The whole zombie thing is such an easy stand-in for so many awful social issues in history and in the modern day. I’m hoping it gets a third season/series, because I still want to see what happens next. It did not end on a resolution, but a cliffhanger. I don’t mind a cliffhanger when the show has definitely been renewed, but I get pretty annoyed when I watch a cliffhanger and then have to accept the fact that I’ll never get to see what happens next. There should be some sort of post-season special. Whenever a show is cancelled after a cliffhanger, they should shoot one more episode to wrap it up. If you are reading this and you work in TV, make this shit happen.

TV Series Review – The Misfits (seasons 1 and 2)

misfits_wallpaperI am generally skeptical of British shows involving supernatural powers or fantasy settings, because to be quite honest the production values and special effects are usually awful. The sort of special effects you would have seen ten-fifteen years ago on American TV.  Luckily for me, I gave this show a chance after hearing lots of good things.

The show opens with the first day of community service for Simon, Nathan, Kelly, Alisha, and Curtis–a group of juvenile delinquents with nothing at all in common.

Curtis was an all-star track athlete, headed for the Olympics before he got busted for drugs. He seems the most sane of the group.

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He definitely doesn’t think he belongs with the rest of these losers.

Kelly got in a fight over a boy, Simon set a fire, Alisha was caught drunk driving (or drink driving, if you’d prefer the UK vernacular). Nathan is just your typical rebel without a cause, only he’s more of a moron without a cause.

Misfits NathanAt first, I absolutely hated him, but he was my favorite character by episode two. He is devoid of all shame, all sense of propriety, and possibly any ability to scrutinize his own behavior.  He’s the id, incarnate, and he says lots of things we wish we could say in social situations.  On the other hand, he says a lot of things we wish we could unhear after they are said. So, fair warning there.

The team is sentenced to work at a community center cleaning up graffiti, picking up garbage, etc.  They are out doing just that when a freak lightning storm hits and they all sort of get zapped.  This section is a bit ridiculous because well, the special effects just aren’t that good.  Still, the show is worth putting up with this sequence.

The long and short of it is that the group get super powers from the crazy lightning strike.  Curtis, we soon learn, can rewind time.  Nathan’s power takes a while to reveal itself, but he turns out to be immortal.  Kelly, the chavviest of all the chavs,

Misfits Kellycan read people’s minds.  She is kind of awesome, despite how trashy she is and how strange her accent sounds to an American ear. She is brave and loyal and has a pretty good moral compass when it comes down to important decisions.

Simon, the shy one who (according to Nathan) looks like a ‘panty sniffer’ has the ability to become invisible.

simonTrue to form, I liked Simon the most at first.  After all, if there’s someone who is socially awkward and shy, I’m going to empathize with them. That’s obvious.  Plus, he’s pale.  He might, in fact, be the male version of me.

Over the two seasons, Simon has the biggest transformation.  Mostly he transforms from a lonely nerd to a parkour-expert and generally shirtless badass. Still pale though! We, the melanin-challenged, can still be superheroes! Take note, world.

Alisha gets genuinely fucked when it comes to super powers.  All of them get super powers that sort of reflect a main facet of their personalities.  Curtis is overcome with regret, so he gets the ability to turn back time and make right his big mistakes. Simon is painfully shy and he can turn invisible.  Alisha is…promiscuous?  What’s a nice way to say her main reason for life seems to be to get as many men to want her as possible?

Misfits Alisha

Well, she gets her wish. Her superpower is that when men (or women) touch her, they try to rape her because they just can’t stop themselves.  Sex with her is the only thing they can think about.  If a man she doesn’t want or like touches her, she’ll be raped.  If she touches a man she does want, she’s basically raping him.  Rape either way. So…yay.  Worst super power, ever.

If you get confused about their powers, here’s a handy infographic:

Misfits infographic

Very quickly after the lightning storm, things start to go to shit at the community center.  Their probation officer, also affected by the storm, attacks and kills them.  Curtis has to turn back time to undo what has happened, and instead they are forced to kill their probation officer and hide his body.

The thing about this show is that it walks a very fine line between comedy and drama.  Somehow they allow you to be in the moment when really serious, scary, or emotional things happen, but seconds later you can be laughing hysterically–usually at something Nathan says to defuse the situation. It’s a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is really helpful when you’re dealing with the supernatural.

Over the course of the first two seasons, they kill at least 2 probation officers, someone has sex with an octogenarian, someone has sex with a gorilla, they all die at least once, there are two separate semi-religious cults, a character called SuperHoodie, people who travel into the future and past, Simon is referred to as ‘the Invisible Cunt’ and Barry, the group is overpowered by a man who can control dairy products, and Jesus rises again during the Christmas special. The show is funny and goofy and really truly enjoyable.

You need a dark sense of humor to appreciate this show, but if you have one then it is excellent. You also need to be able to laugh off incredibly heinous language and slang.  And if you watch the Christmas special, please be aware that there is a truly traumatic bit with an ‘afterbirth’.  There’s a reason I’m not having kids.  Actually, there are 500 reasons, but that is definitely on the list.

I really enjoyed the show, and I especially adored the main theme song. Must. own.

The entire series is up on Hulu or on DVD.  The trailer is here.