Power-full stuff

Published date19 March 2024
Publication titleSignal
TELEVISION seems to be an endless buffet of greatness if you know where to look for the good stuff and, crucially, if you can afford to shell out for the streaming subscriptions over which it is scattered. Aside from the expense, the down side of this glut of quality is that shows that should stand out for their originality and wit — such as Extraordinary — often get lost in the quagmire. But it is back for a second season and, hopefully, about to get all the attention it deserves because it is confident, creative, crude and, above all, irresistibly fun

Jen (an excellent Mairead Tyers) lives in a world where superpowers are normal, but this is no heroic Marvel-esque caper: the superpowers range from splitting yourself into multiples, which is handy for work, to “booping” people down to miniature size, to having a bum that doubles as a 3D printer. While most people come into their powers as they approach adulthood, Jen is in her early 20s and yet to find out what she can do and, therefore, what it is that makes her special. Superpowers have always been a metaphor’s best friend, but part of the cleverness of Extraordinary is that it doesn’t try to mask the mundanity of what it is really about. Jen doesn’t know who she is yet and feels left behind. That is largely it. In a strange equation, however, the sillier the powers and the dafter the events that transpire as a result of (almost) everyone being slightly magical, the more profound its emotional core turns out to be.

I say profound, but with caveats. The first season saw Jen flailing around, largely without a plan, eventually finding love with a man-cat called Jizzlord (Luke Rollason, who I hope finds delight in looking at this on his CV for the rest of time). That should give you an idea of what is on offer here. This time, she has scraped together enough money to attend the Power Discovery Programme, where a therapist played by cult comedy favourite Julian Barratt wanders into her mind and tries to locate any psychological blockages that may be holding her back from her power. Jen’s mind is a hectic second-hand bookshop, ‘‘a s...hole’’, filled with volumes and volumes of books about her life, such as Worst Things You’ve Thought About While Masturbating. Again, I say “profound”, but one of its best qualities is that it really does spring its depth on you when you least expect it. Jen’s relationship with her family...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT