Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: Misfits of Science

Misfits of Science is an American superhero fantasy television series that aired on NBC from October 1985 to February 1986. It features super-powered humans and their madcap adventures. A double-length pilot and 15 additional episodes were created; however one episode did not air before the show was cancelled due to low ratings.

CAST

  • Dean Paul Martin as Dr. Billy Hayes – the non-powered yet undisputed leader of this misfit team. Billy is a young research scientist at the Humanidyne Institute who specializes in “human anomalies” and a fast-talking but good-hearted schemer full of boyish enthusiasm who often gets the team into as much trouble as he gets them out of. Although easily distracted whenever an attractive woman walks by, he is honestly interested in getting involved in a serious relationship with Jane Miller even after she showed up pregnant by another man.
  • Kevin Peter Hall as Dr. Elvin “El” Lincoln – Billy’s colleague and close friend. El is a towering man who gives himself the ability to shrink for minutes at a time from his height of seven-foot-four to eleven inches via hormonal treatments which he activates by pressing a nerve on the back of his neck. A recurring joke after such transformations is that he always has to put on the tiny change of clothes he carries with him for his small size. The character is shy and struggles socially, and despite being so tall he is a poor basketball player.
  • Mark Thomas Miller as Johnny “Johnny B” Bukowski – a rock-and-roll musician who was electrocuted on stage, thus giving him formidable electrical powers. Johnny continually drains any electrically charged items in his surroundings, forcing him to live in isolation. He wears sunglasses because his eyes glow when he is fully charged, he can hurl lightning bolts and run at superhuman speed, easily outracing in one episode a parody of the Six Million Dollar Man, but he is vulnerable to water which short circuits him and burns his flesh. He is a big Chuck Berry fan, in the pilot singing “Johnny B. Goode” when he goes into battle.
  • Courtney Cox as Gloria Dinallo – a troubled telekinetic teen with a history of juvenile delinquency and a mother in a mental institution who claims Gloria’s father is from outer space. She has a crush on Johnny. Gloria can only use her telekinesis on things that she can see: using a blindfold on her renders her powerless.
  • Diane Civita as Miss Nance – the scientists’ secretary who, although she usually seems more interested in doing her nails, going on her coffee break, and watching her soap operas, is actually the one who keeps their department running and is always there at the end of the show to turn off the lights and say good-night to the bunnies in their cages.

  • Jennifer Holmes as Jane Miller – Gloria’s probation officer. Although attracted to Billy, she is often put off by his eccentric behavior. Her character appears only in the earlier episodes.
  • Max Wright as Dick Stetmeyer – the uptight director of the Humanidyne Institute. Unlike the other cast members, he is not actually considered to be one of the Misfits.
  • Mickey Jones as Arnold “Beef”/”Ice Man” Beifneiter – got his power to freeze anything he touches from placing himself in an experimental cryogenic suspended animation unit back in 1937 due to grief caused by the loss of his beloved Amelia Earhart. The team drives around in an ice-cream truck because the lumbering and now rather simple-minded Ice Man dies if he gets too warm, so they keep him in the freezer. Beef only appears in the pilot episode due to legal objections from Marvel Comics who published a similar character in X-Men, but the characters continue to use the ice-cream truck.

 

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