Coming to Disney+ on January 25th, Extraordinary is a new 8-part British series from debut writer Emma Moran and the producers of Killing Eve. Extraordinary follows 25-year-old Jen (Máiréad Tyers), who lives in a world where everyone over the age of 18 develops a superpower… except for her. What follows is a hilarious and beautifully written journey of self-discovery as Jen tries to uncover her own superpower.
Our introduction to Jen comes courtesy of a brutally honest job interview where the interviewer possesses the power to make you tell the truth. Jen gives a very graphic portrayal of her bus journey that morning, perhaps a little too much information about what she got up to the night before and details surrounding the not-so-pleasant aspects of her personality and reasons for wanting the job. Needless to say, she’s not successful so it’s back to working in her dead-end job at a fancy dress shop. Her boss in the shop is Ange, a 56-year-old woman whose ‘power’ is that she is stuck in the body of a young girl, something she says happened after she walked in on her husband ‘giving it’ to another woman.
Jen shares a flat with Carrie (Sofia Oxenham), who is able to channel the voices of dead people. Carrie uses her power to help Jen communicate with her dead Dad as well as in her day job within a legal firm, where she helps resolve family disputes by channelling dead relatives in order to get their side of the story. Also living in the flat is Carrie’s boyfriend Kash. Kash’s power is the ability to rewind time, but only in small amounts and only when he’s not too tired. Already you can begin to appreciate the endless possibilities for fun within a show where so many different powers are held by so many ordinary people. But buckle up, because there are still plenty of weird and wonderful ones left to reveal as the series progresses.
As Jen’s younger sister Andy (Safia Oakley-Green) celebrates her 18th birthday with a party, she suddenly gains the power of super strength, which proves to be the final straw for Jen. Lucky for Jen, a company called Discovery exists, which promises to help those who still need to discover their power. Unfortunately, a visit to their offices with Carrie ends in disappointment when Jen learns that their packages start from £9500. Can she raise the money in order to be like everyone else? Or can she learn to accept herself just the way she is?
Trying to find a way to come up with the money for enrolling with Discovery is just one of the many plots that play out across the series. Adding to the core cast members is a stray cat, which the flatmates take in and name Jizzlord, only for it to transform back into a man with no memory of his life before becoming a cat. A lot of the show sees Jizzlord learning to integrate into society and be human again while attempting to learn more about who he is and where he came from. Meanwhile, Kash decides to set up a crime-fighting vigilante group and sets about auditioning for members. Meeting the hopefuls and then watching how the team comes together, argues among themselves, breaks up and then tries to resolve their issues end up providing some of the show’s funniest moments.
If it’s not already clear from this review so far, the joy of Extraordinary comes from the quirkiness of the powers being wielded by the most normal of people. We meet a dentist who makes people generate their own soundtrack for all to hear (suspenseful horror music from a terrified Jen as she prepares to go under the drill). A genuine Doolittle vet who can talk to the animals he’s treating. A wannabe vigilante who can 3D print anything using his butt, so long as you’re prepared to wait a few minutes for him to drop his trousers, squat and do the business and a date of Jen’s who can give any living creature an orgasm just by touching them. None of these powers is likely to result in any power-hungry destruction like you might see in shows such as The Boys. Just random, obscure powers there to amuse us and infuriate Jen.
All of these different powers wouldn’t amount to much if it weren’t for the writing and the cast, both of which are superb. I love the character of Jen and Máiréad Tyers plays her brilliantly. But the other core characters are just as good, not to mention the extensive supporting cast. I loved every episode and the potential for future seasons is exciting. I know we’re only in January but this is definitely my favourite show of the year so far.
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.