TV: Extraordinary (Season 1)

The British live-action comedy-fantasy Extraordinary has an identical premise to the animated Disney film Encanto: what if everyone received a superpower as a coming-of-age rite? Poor Jen (Máiréad Tyers) finds herself in the same boat as Encanto’s Mirabel, going on twenty-five with nary a power in sight. Jen’s powerlessness seems to be the defining failure of her life, but as it turns out, having a superpower doesn’t solve all your problems. Jen shares a flat with a quirky young couple, Carrie (Sofia Oxenham) and Kash (Bilal Hasna), who do have their powers—Carrie can speak to the dead, and Kash can turn back time in small increments to re-do moments. But even as Jen’s roommates try to help her with her frustrations, they’re experiencing their own problems, which their powers are decidedly unable to solve.

Extraordinary boasts a funny, winning pilot and while the subsequent episodes are uneven, there’s a consistent likability to the enterprise. Oh, there’s no worldbuilding rigor to the scenario or the way rampant superpowers might drastically alter the world. But it’s full of fun, neurotic hijinks and amusing superpower sight gags that slickly take the piss out of the inherent silliness of its comic-book tropes. The flatmates are terrific, with Luke Rollason standing out as the delightfully awkward “Jizzlord,” a latecoming fourth lead who steals his scenes with sheer body language. It’s not exactly must-see TV, but it’s a bright, fun diversion that turns the fantastical furniture of the post-MCU superhero craze toward more mundane, relatable issues.

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