The review excerpt used as a marketing tagline on this series proclaims “Heroes with Buffy-esque snark”, which is a fair but not entirely accurate assessment. See, the Heroes and Scoobies were inherently good for the most part, and dedicated to using their powers to benefit mankind. These kids? Not so much. As five delinquents sentenced to tons of community service, they’re more interested in getting laid, getting high, and getting out of manual labor than they are with the well-being of their community. This British counterculture spin to the sci-fi concept suggests a different descriptor to me: like Skins meets Attack the Block.
Five wayward teens and their parole officer are working outside one day when a freak storm rolls in and zaps all of them. Instead of dying, they gradually discover that they’ve each acquired a superhuman power. Well, all except the eternally sarcastic Nathan (Robert Sheehan), the breakout comic relief of the show who seems powerless throughout the season. Unfortunately for the kids, their parole officer’s super power is his transformation into a bloodthirsty rage beast, so they’re forced to kill him in self-defense. So what do five shifty juvies do with a dead parole officer? Can’t very well report it to the cops, so they bury him and try to act like nothing happened. Their replacement officer just happens to be the dead officer’s girlfriend, and she devotes herself to proving her suspicion that the kids killed him.
As for the powers bestowed upon the kids, they’re nothing new but they’re used in interesting ways befitting their slacker hosts. Curtis has the ability to rewind time to change events to his liking. Kelly can hear the thoughts of other people, which tend to be somewhat raunchy since she’s usually surrounded by her peers. Simon can turn invisible, but can’t control when it happens, which sets up chances for him to perv out on girls changing clothes and to stalk the object of his affection. And finally, Alisha’s power makes her completely irresistible to anyone who touches her, with all manner of filthy thoughts spilling out of the mouths of her victims when they come in contact with her and immediately begin assaulting her.
The kids eventually find that they weren’t the only ones affected by the storm, as they frequently cross paths with other powered individuals such as a mind-controller who tries to turn everybody into conformist nerds, an 80-something granny who temporarily regains her teen youth, and Nathan’s mom’s boyfriend who runs around naked outside at night acting like a dog. There’s a bit of a monster-of-the-week vibe, but the show is more concerned with the interplay between the five leads than their guests. Nathan likes Kelly, Simon likes their new parole officer, and Curtis and Alisha like each other but are hindered by Alisha’s power. The situations and dialogue are just as raw as one might imagine for their age group and mid-low social class, so this is definitely not one to watch with the kids.
This being a BBC show, the entire season is only six episodes, which will likely leave you hungry for much more. Luckily, we’re way behind on getting caught up on this show since it has been airing since 2009, so subsequent seasons should hopefully follow very shortly here. The bonus features include interviews with the cast and crew and behind the scenes footage.