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Extraordinary - a review

Mild spoiler alert

By John H. KnightPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Jen, the main charavter, doing Jen stuff

Superheroes are cool, no two ways about that. They have style, skills and powers, they are brave, and many times they are the last line of defence between humanity and extinction. They inspire people, on and off screen, to be better. What's more, though the lines "And I am Iron Man" followed by a simple snap of the finger will undoubtedly be one of the most significant moments of cinema history to our generation, superheroes aren't only battling with purple aliens hell-bent on destroying everything. No, lately, they started to take on different kinds of foes: organised crime, systemic racism, mental health issues, misogyny, far-right ideology in general, climate change, and the list goes on and on. Superhero stories are evolving: the good guy in the cape beating up the bad guy isn't enough anymore. And as some stories are aiming at real-life problems within their well-built worlds, some others set out to explore what would happen if superheroes would encounter the real world, the one we are, the viewers, living in.

Superheroes abusing their powers and being the enemy instead of the saviours is nothing new. We have read and/or seen it in The Boys, in Watchmen, in Invincible, just to mention a few. The idea of an unstoppable being posing as a hero while in reality, being the biggest threat to the world is a compelling one, already well explored and still very promising. What we haven't seen quite as often, is what happens, when people get powers and decide to do nothing with them.

In 2009, reacting to society as a whole, and answering American counterparts such as Heroes, there was Misfits, a British show about a bunch of teenagers getting various superpowers only to use them to make their own life even more difficult and miserable. The show, though never really made it to the mainstream, lived for five seasons and built a cult following.

Based on the same idea we have Extraordinary, This one went a step further, and said, what if literally everyone had powers?

The answer: absolutely nothing. Some people might use it while at work, some might even build a whole career on them, but most just use it to entertain their friends, save on bus fares or even ignore it altogether. Powers in the show make for funny or interesting scenes, but they aren't driving the plot. Everything, even that one character who actually tried to become a superhero could occur in a world where there are no powers.

The principle here is clear: if everyone is special, nobody is special. Except for our main character, of course. While most people get their powers around the age of 18, Jen is still waiting for hers in her mid-twenties. She is a mess, with no prospects, piling after a man who has no interest in her, stuck in a dead-end job, systematically destroying every relationship in her life, drinking too much and thinking too little.

That all changes, when... No. It doesn't. That's the show. It's basically a little less edgy Fleabag with superpowers. So much so that at certain points I was actually expecting Jen to look at the camera and smirk. The parallels are countless: misfit heroine, bad relationship with much more successful siblings, dead parents, London (the real one, with dodgy streets and weird places, not the tourist-trap other London-based media shows us), sarcastic humour, aimless people trying to cope with the enormous shock that is to wake up every morning... But in Extraordinary at one point, they tell off Hitler, so there is that.

Jokes aside, Extraordinary has the potential to be one of the best superhero shows without even featuring as much as a single actual hero. It's funny, it's relatable (I mean, just switch not having powers to not having your life together, and Jen is basically the girl next door, or even yourself), and it feels more real, despite flying people and shapeshifters than many other, similarly built series does. Very highly recommended to the fans of Fleabag or just the fans of good television. It's currently 100% fresh on the tomato site for a reason.

superheroestvreviewpop cultureentertainmentcomicscomedy

About the Creator

John H. Knight

Yet another aspiring writer trying his luck on the endless prairie of the Internet.

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