Last week, it was announced that The O.C. and Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz was teaming up with Freeform to develop an American version of the cult British series Misfits. The series followed five teen offenders working off their debt to society through community service. A motley crew of “misfits,” they’re all bonded after a freak ice storm occurs in London, leaving them all with superpowers, but really, they’re probably the worst superheroes in existence.
As a longtime fan of both the series —which ran for five seasons on Britain’s E4 — and Josh Schwartz, I don’t think an American take on the series is necessary. I have total faith that anything Schwartz creates will generally be an amazing force of drama, but Misfits is a tough show to tackle, from the brashness of the series to the British premise.
Here are just a few reasons why an American reboot might not be the best idea:
1The series is uniquely British, and not just because of the accents.
At its core, Misfits is a dark comedy based on American superhero origin-story shows. In many ways, it’s a satire of Smallville, and the series was an origin story for the worst superheroes to ever exist. An American reboot had been rumored since 2011, when the British show was headed for its third season. In an interview with the BBC, cast members Antonia Thomas (Alisha) and Iwan Rheon (Simon) remarked how it would be odd to make an American show about a British take on an American idea.
Part of the show’s charm is definitely knowing that it’s a riff on an American idea, so I think part of the spark that made Misfits so original would be lost with an American reboot. However, if the series is hoping to be super meta, I *could* be on board.
2Freeform vs the Brashness of Misfits
One of the major charms of Misfits is how vulgar the characters are. For most of the first season, they’re still working on not bullying each other — and even once they become friends, they continue talking to each other with language still not allowed on American television. While Freeform has never been afraid of introducing adult storylines to viewers, the nature of the channel (formerly ABC Family) could potentially reduce the beloved series to a watered-down remake.
3The hurdles for reboots
One of the best parts of Misfits — and most OG shows that inspire remakes — is the chemistry among the cast members. When producers try to recreate a show in a new country character for character, they’re often hoping to recreate the natural chemistry between actors, something that’s (obviously) really hard to do. One of the sparks that made the U.S. version of The Office so amazing was that they took the original British premise but not exactly the same characters. And, frankly, the extended ensemble in the U.S. version helped distinguish the two series. The weird dynamic between Nathan, Simon, Alisha, Curtis, and Kelly would have been really hard to recreate.
If the Freeform series does happen, I’ll gladly check it out and give it a fair shot because, who knows, it could be a huge hit. My only hope is that Schwartz and the cast and crew don’t try to make a shot-for-shot remake. Let Misfits be a cult classic, and try your best to pay proper homage.