While many 2023 superhero movies and television series are featuring colossal universal shake-ups, Extraordinary Season 1 is a fun and comedic take on the genre that super speeds in the opposite direction. Purposefully small-scale, the new Hulu series avoids the high-octane explosions of its contemporary peers to tell a human story on the micro side. Part of that humanity stems from the premise – Jen (Máiréad Tyers) is a young woman living in a world where once a person turns 18 they gain a superpower. The only problem is she’s 25 and still hasn’t developed one. Living in an apartment with her best friend Carrie (Sophia Oxenham), who has the ability to channel the dead, and Carrie’s boyfriend Kash (Bilal Hasna), who has the ability to go back in time, Jen navigates her life while trying to find her superpower.
In the opening scene, Jen sits at a job interview across from an employer with the ability to make people tell the truth. “Don’t worry. If you’re the right candidate the truth can only work in your favour,” the interviewer mentions sternly. Jen then proceeds to word vomit when asked what her weaknesses are. Here, they, unfortunately, aren’t kryptonite but are something more relatable to viewers watching at home. “Crippling insecurity. I’m selfish, kinda lazy. I lack ambition. I’m stubborn, argumentative, jealous. I only wash my hands if there’s someone else in the bathroom.” While we don’t see Jen wash her hands when someone is in the bathroom, throughout season one, we do see her strengths and how her weaknesses and insecurities at not having a power can damage her relationships with her friends and family.
More Misfits than Heroes, Extraordinary Season One focuses on the characters at the center of its story more than the superpowered plotlines. Over the course of the eight episodes, we really get to know Jen. We see her as she works her job at a costume store, around her family, and as she pursues romantic interests almost as much as we see her pursuing a power, however, this doesn’t make it any less compelling. A part of that is due to how showrunner Emma Moran imbues the show with a pulsing youthful sensibility.
From the way the characters interact and speak to fantastic contemporary needle drops such as Leikeli47, Wet Leg, and Princess Nokia this is a show that will be especially relatable for older Zoomers and millennials. Another part of the show’s winning formula is Máiréad Tyers’ fully realized performance as Jen. Her comedic timing not only cracks you up, but she also possesses a vulnerability and can bring weight to the more dramatic material the show steps its toes into.
As superhero consumers, we’ve always had an investment in the humanity behind the mask. We’re just as invested in Peter Paker, Clark Kent, and Bruce Wayne as much as their costumed counterparts. Extraordinary Season One provides a neat take on this interest by focusing on a human in a superpowered world. Warm, comedic, and featuring a winning performance from Máiréad Tyers as Jen, Extraordinary should be on your list as the countless superpowered Marvel and DC heroes punch their way toward your eyeballs in 2023. Even without the powered spectacle, it’s great – hopefully one day in the show Jen will realize this too.