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10th February 2023

Extraordinary review: superpowers and quarter-life crises

Extraordinary shows us a world where everyone has a superpower, except our protagonist Jen.
Extraordinary review: superpowers and quarter-life crises
Credit: Disney Plus

From the upcoming writer Emma Moran and the production company behind Killing Eve (2018-2022), Extraordinary shows what it is like to be ordinary in a world where everyone else is extraordinary. Although the feature of superpowers may discourage non-Marvel fans, Extraordinary is far from a typical superhero show: its sarcastic sense of humour and self-awareness will draw in fans of Derry Girls (2018-2022) and Everything I Know About Love (2022).

Jen (Máiréad Tyers) is an average 25-year-old, whose unwonted powerlessness becomes increasingly noticeable when everyone else around her develops a superpower. Jen, the snarky protagonist, is both lovable and frustratingly hopeless. In the opening scene, Jen is at a job interview, which is made more daunting by the fact that the interviewer has the power to make people tell the truth. Jen proceeds to admit to a whole host of unfortunate truths, and when asked why she wants the job, she replies, “I don’t. I just want to live.” In addition to her lack of powers and poor job prospects, Jen must also deal with the typical difficulties that arise in one’s twenties, but with the added layer of superpowers: the man she seeks can fly out the window as soon as she leaves the room; her quirky Tinder date can make people orgasm just by touching them, and even her newly adopted cat proves to be much more than a scruffy pet.

Jen lives with her childhood best friend Carrie (Sofia Oxenham) who unwaveringly supports her through her many challenges and reminds her that she is ‘a brave little soldier.’ Carrie can channel dead people, but her power is often exploited. She complains that she is ‘basically an appliance’ at work. Carrie’s long-term boyfriend Kash (Bilal Kasna) also lives with them. His power is the ability to go back in time which he rarely puts to good use. Jen also has her fair share of family drama to contend with. Siobhán McSweeney (Derry Girls) plays Jen’s overpowering but loving mother who often fails to understand her, but whose presence on screen is always welcome. Jen’s 18-year-old, overachieving half-sister, Andy (Safia Oakley-Green), is the real villain of the story.  She embodies everything that is infuriating about a younger sibling.

The eccentric costumes, upbeat soundtrack, and witty dialogue make this series uniquely entertaining. It’s the perfect show to binge-watch over the weekend, and it will inevitably make you fall in love with the characters. Extraordinary may be a show about superpowers, but its real strength lies in its portrayal of ordinary people trying to find their way in an extraordinary world. With its sharp writing, lovable characters, and unexpected twists, Extraordinary is a must-watch for anyone looking for a fresh take on the superhero genre.

Verdict: 4/5

Extraordinary is now streaming on Disney+

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