The top-rated comedy Hulu comedy Extraordinary, about an Irish woman living in a version of London where everyone has superpowers, is the kind of series that’s unfortunately all-too-common in the streaming era. That is to say, it’s absolutely fantastic (extraordinary, even!). The characters are ridiculously likable, and I can personally attest to the fact that the writing induces side-splitting laughter. The show also has a killer soundtrack — with songs from bands like Modest Mouse and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to The Flaming Lips, The Clash, and Sleigh Bells — and the whole thing is just so darn addictive.
When I discovered Extraordinary last year, it was one of those hidden gems that I didn’t hear anyone talking about and was just so excited to find and quickly finish. And that right there is the problem.
Once I found it, I was burning through episodes like it was some kind of race against time, and I can’t wait for the show’s season two debut on Hulu come March 6. But I almost didn’t find the show at all last year (in fact, I don’t even remember how I accidentally stumbled across it). That’s the kind of happenstance that, I’m sure, keeps showrunners up at night (unless you’re the creator of a blockbuster like Squid Game or Stranger Things). When you’re making a TV show like Extraordinary, not only do a million things have to go right, as The Office actor Brian Baumgartner once told me, but there’s no guarantee that your audience will ever find the darn thing on a streamer.
There are far too many shows, from big platforms like Netflix to much smaller players like Apple TV+, that are really great (Extraordinary has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes) but they nevertheless require some work on the part of the viewer to find. Often because the streamers have so much content that they can’t possibly promote everything.
That’s why I’m all too happy to talk about Extraordinary, from writer and creator Emma Moran, because I really hope more people out there find it. The protagonist is a young woman named Jen, who assumed, like everyone else around her, that she’d get a superpower once she turned 18. Like, a legitimate superpower; everyone around her is flying, has super-strength, and the like. Unfortunately, though, she’s now 25 years old and still power-less. She’s adrift, confused, and desperate, and with the help of her circle of friends she goes on a hero’s journey to find her power — even if that power is just being “ok.”
Speaking of powers, the show gets super-creative in the kinds of extraordinary gifts it bestows on all the characters. They all can’t be Superman or as fast as The Flash, right? In the first episode of season one, for example, Jen is shown applying for a job. She’s seated in what looks like a conference room and hands some papers to her interviewer, who asks all the standard questions — like, how was your journey here? To which Jen immediately starts blurting out all sorts of inappropriate, stream-of-consciousness thoughts:
“It was terrible! I got the bus, because I’m poor, and it smelt like warm, raw chicken. And I’m really nervous so I thought I was going to s**t myself the whole way in — but I didn’t! And if I’m sitting weirdly, it’s because I think my tampon’s come out … but I didn’t have time to go to the bathroom downstairs, because I slept in ….” And to make matters worse?
At the end of the chat, when the interviewer (who’s wearing an eye patch) asks if there’s anything else Jen wants to ask, Jen can’t help but inquire as to whether there’s a gross, ugly hole behind that eye patch.
It’s all because, as the interviewer explains to Jen — and, by extension, to us — drawing out exceedingly truthful answers from people is this interviewer’s superpower.
Season two, according to Hulu, “picks up where season one spectacularly left off, following Jen (Máiréad Tyers) on her powers journey as she enrolls as a client at the power clinic. Jen soon discovers that the process of finding her power isn’t as easy as she hoped, and things in the rest of her life aren’t smooth sailing either.
“Ex-cat, now-boyfriend Jizzlord (Luke Rollason) has had an unexpected revelation about his past, and Kash (Bilal Hasna) and Carrie (Sofia Oxenham) are attempting to be totally mature and dignified about their break-up, which is not easy when they’re still living under the same roof. It seems that Jen and the gang are dealing with new levels of adulting and chaos that none of them are prepared for.”