In many ways, the basis for the new Disney+ show Extraordinary is actually quite familiar, despite its name. Living together in an inexplicably beautiful apartment in East London, a group of twenties begin to navigate the frightening adult world of endless work, dating and friendships with funny and heartwarming consequences.
So far, it’s so mundane (apart from how an unemployed person, a party shop clerk, and a legal assistant can get to a separate level, of course). That is, until our 25-year-old heroine, the hilariously candid Jen (Máiréad Tyers), fails a job interview (here, besides listing many of her worst traits, “sometimes I wonder? I’m a little racist”).
It’s not until we leave their flamboyant offices in central London that we see where the show’s name comes from. Masses of passengers fly overhead as they walk home, weaving the capital’s skyline. A passerby is chatting on facetime in front of a floating iPhone, while another lights a cigarette using just their fingertips.
Everyone over the age of 18 develops a superpower in this parallel universe, the brainchild of Emma Moran, author of Have I Got News For You, and the producers of Killing Eve. Everyone but Jen shows up.
Jen’s roommate, Carrie (Poldark star Sofia Oxenham), a perpetually anxious legal assistant, can communicate with the dead (useful when reading wills at the law firm and arranging the estates of dead celebrities). Carrie’s well-meaning but somewhat unlucky boyfriend Kash (newcomer Bilal Hasna) has big plans to turn back time and use her unemployed free time to build a vigilante army using the citizens with the most socially useful powers.
If you think all this sounds a little silly, don’t worry, it’s pretty much. Fortunately, she doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Aware of its inherent ridiculousness, there is no sense that the writers or even the cast are taking themselves seriously. Adding a supernatural element to everyday situations is definitely hilarious, and it’s really laugh-out-loud.
Despite being in a parallel universe, there are some constants and Extraordinary excels at capturing the weird and funny essence of the ordinary. Men seem to defy galaxies in their capacity to be flaky and venomous. When Jen regularly seeks solace by hooking up with Luke, instead of calling an Uber home, she literally flies out the window, leaving him stranded during post-coital pee.
Or another disastrous one-night stand with a painfully weird guy who has the power to make people orgasm with just a touch (do you sense a theme?) make it your own”. Obviously, you can’t expect an almost Fleabag-like appearance on camera at such a predictable moment.
An alchemical combination of sharp comedy writing and the fine notes of Killing Eve and the extraordinary talent of largely new faces provides the perfect backdrop for a Gen Z comedy success. Tyers is impeccable as the irresistibly confident and honest Jen, whose misadventures provide the drama’s crux. Hasna also offers a master class in her debut performance as Kash, instantly stealing every scene she’s in with the impeccable comedic mastery of a seasoned pro.
While there are some candid moments, Extraordinary is ultimately all about laughter. Sometimes it feels like the show just lacks some depth – just don’t expect any big M “messages” or big T “themes” beyond the somewhat stereotypical idea that it’s okay to be nice. But what the show lacks in depth, it makes up for with a comforting and weirdly hilarious mix. The perfect antidote to the January blues.
Extraordinary at Disney+