A still from ‘extraordinary’ Photo credit: Disney + Hotstar
Disney+’s new show, Exceptional, provides an alternative to the venerable superhero narrative long established by Disney’s favorite child, Marvel. What if you were the only person in the world without superpowers? Jane (Máiréad Tyers) exists in exactly the same ridiculous world. Exceptionalwhere everyone gets a superpower at 18. Th birthday.
It should be noted that while some powers will make viewers jealous (the ability to fly, shapeshift or teleport), others are just hilariously mundane (turning anything into a PDF capacity).
Now in her 20s, and powerless, Jane lives with her best friend Carrie (who has the power to act as a conduit for the dead), and Carrie’s deadbeat boyfriend Kash (who at the time can withdraw). Over the course of eight episodes, Jane becomes obsessed with the act of wanting to discover her power, and the resulting antics form the central plot.
While Exceptional, Superpowers could lead to thinking too much of yourself, instead leaving that aspect almost non-existent. In her first series, Emma Moran is quick to embrace the fascination that comes with being supernatural, in fact, the show makes the whole deal refreshing. People ride on the backs of others who act as flying taxis and dodge water splashed by a car on their way to the office, expertly maneuvering their way out of it. Carrie’s ability to teleport has little to do with magic and is used more to get things done quickly at her job as a lawyer’s assistant, while Cash uses her gift only in her embarrassing moments. To erase or correct one’s mistakes.
creator: Emma Moran
Cast: Máiréad Tyers, Sofia Oxenham, Bilal Hasna, Luke Rollason, Siobhan McSweeney, Safia Oakley-Green, and others
Story: In a world where everyone gets superpowers on their 18th birthday, a powerless Jane tries to figure out her powers.
Jane, meanwhile, exists on the periphery of this world. He is at odds with his younger half-sister Andy (who has super powers) and has a strained relationship with his mother Mary (Siobhan McSweeney). Early on Jane also rejects any notion of “the only real power being yours”, which reinforces the show’s larger theme where it tries to focus on the human who lives in the supernatural.
Moran conveys this sentiment through Jane’s effective characterization, which can be taken as a subtle metaphor for being clueless in your 20s. We see her make terrible decisions, make selfish choices, and become the perfect friend to Carrie. In a reality that makes Jane a very average person, she still works her way up to being a quintessential victim who resents everyone and believes the world owes her. These traits don’t make Jane unlikable as much as they make her look like any other lost 20-something who thinks her problems are the only ones worth thinking about. We’ve all done it, those in our 20s are still doing it.
As people move on as they figure out their strengths and careers, Jane feels like she’s always been left behind as if she’s missed a memo about being a working adult. Presenting this narrative in a poignant yet charmingly comic way, Moran creates a show about a world that – despite having characters who can change their hair color with a nod – is accessible to us. .
While her character may not have any power, Jane as Tyr has an infectious energy that bubbles up on screen, and her lack is felt when the plot delves into the individual stories of the supporting cast. Tyrese’s performance is rivaled only by Sophia Oxenham, who shines in these parts as Carrie, connecting the men’s souls.
What does Moran do? Exceptional It is to awaken a world with magically empowered people, who ultimately remain people who do not use their abilities for anything other than selfish and frivolous reasons. The show’s characters are only given superpowers, but they don’t transform into individuals with a sense of justice or benevolence. At the end of the day, humanity with or without superpowers is going to return to the comfort of a contented existence.
Drawing on familiar themes of just feeling like a failed adult when everyone around you is expertly navigating life, Exceptional It doesn’t try to be more than it is: a frank comedy about today’s young adults. Where it explores depth, like the friendship between Jane and Carrie, it does so in a sincere tone. With a second season already confirmed, we can only expect Jane’s unfulfilled quest for power to become more human.
Extraordinary is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.