Monday, May 20, 2013

What Might've Been: Misfits of Science (1985)

NBC was looking for something to replace Knight Rider on Fridays, something that would hook the action-adventure crowd. Unfortunately, their first attempt was not only a failure, but the network was lucky they weren't hit with a lawsuit of some kind.

Misfits of Science was conceived by network programming chief Brandon Tartikoff. Apparently, Tartikoff couldn't get Marvel to find a studio to adapt their wildly popular X-Men comics to television, and it would be another few years before those "merry mutants" would get there, via an animated series. So, Tartikoff did a sort-of end around with the Misfits, a trio of mutants, each with their own unique powers.

Misfits also holds a place in history as the first starring role for Courtney Cox (currently on Cougar Town). 9 years before Friends, and one year removed from grooving with Bruce Springsteen, Cox was cast as Gloria, a young woman with a history of juvenile delinquincy who was also blessed with telepathic abilities. The cast also included Kevin Peter Hall (who later had the title role in "Predator"), Dean Paul Martin, and Max Wright, the latter two as the team leader and his boss, respectively. There was a 4th Misfit, but this is where Universal and NBC were risking butting heads with Marvel over the name, Iceman, and so the Misfit by that name was cut after the 90 minute pilot and never mentioned again.

Misfits of Science had the tall order of trying to beat CBS' long running soap, Dallas, which was now firmly entrenched at 9 (ET), especially with Knight Rider gone. The series lasted less than six months before being cancelled.

Here's the opener:

Hall & Martin are no longer with us, and chances are more likely that Marvel would green-light a live-action X-Men series for primetime rather than have something like this be attempted again.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

This show was often the butt of jokes as far as outrageous TV premises go, but I don't think it was any worse then Knight Rider or a number of similar shows.

I saw some eps back in the day, and thought it was harmless fun. If it were rebroadcast I can see it on The Hub or Sy-Fy channel.

hobbyfan said...

I think Universal has permanently consigned it to the vaults now that the X-Men movie series is active. I doubt they'll put the Misfits back on the air on either SyFy or Chiller or even Cloo, even if it was for one day.