LONDON: Shows such as “The Boys” and “Invincible” have shown that, though the superhero genre can often feel a mite overcrowded, there remains some scope for creative (albeit alternative) freedom.
Into that space steps “Extraordinary” — a UK comedy series that’s part of the first wave of British content commissioned by Disney+ under its Star banner.
Created and written by Emma Moran, “Extraordinary” is set in a world where everybody gets a superpower when they turn 18 years old. Everybody except Jen (Mairead Tyers), that is, who is about to turn 25 and still doesn’t appear to be gifted in any way whatsoever. Jen lives with her flatmate and best friend Carrie (who channels the deceased in her job at a solicitors), Carrie’s feckless boyfriend Kash (who can turn back time and dreams of being a vigilante), and their cat (who may not even be a cat at all).
Given that starting premise, you might expect a narrative arc of loving self-discovery and acceptance — not least because Disney is behind the show. And while there is an air of predictable familiarity about this eight-episode first season, “Extraordinary” carves out an identity all its own with a charming blend of risqué humor and observational affirmation.
Without giving too much away, Jen is such a likable lead character because Tyers makes her so wonderfully, fallibly human. Sure, there might be flying delivery drivers and invisible muggers, but people still go on awkward first dates, still humiliate themselves during job interviews, and still get let down by their lazy boyfriends, even if said boyfriend has the ability to reverse his mistakes by squeezing his eyes shut.
There are some missteps, certainly — a few of the gags feel overused, for example, and some of the supporting characters feel a little flimsy and cartoonish — but “Extraordinary” has a novel concept, an exciting young creator with bags of ideas, a talented bunch of actors who buy into the silliness of it all, and enough energy and pep to live up to its name.