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Hulu's Extraordinary Is the Best Superhero Romcom You Haven't Seen

Imagine New Girl in the MCU

Liam Mathews
Máiréad Tyers, Extraordinary

Máiréad Tyers, Extraordinary

Olly Courtney/Hulu

Sitcoms are all about chemistry. If it's a show whose appeal is that it feels like you're hanging out with your friends, it helps if the people making the show are friends, too. And Extraordinary stars Máiréad Tyers and Sofia Oxenham and creator Emma Moran have excellent friend chemistry. 

Within seconds of sitting down for an interview with the trio at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, we were joking around about Jon Bon Jovi, who had given a press conference earlier in the day, and trying to determine who is his British equivalent (Rod Stewart, because of the hair). It felt like being welcomed into a friend group, which is exactly how it feels to watch Hulu's Extraordinary, their hilarious comedy that's like if the roommates from New Girl were all broke, had superpowers, and went on dates with people who were cursed with the ability to cause spontaneous orgasms with their touch.

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The witty British series, which returns to Hulu for Season 2 on March 6, is the best under-the-radar comedy presently on TV.

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It's set in contemporary London, with a fantasy twist: When people turn 18, they manifest a special ability. Their powers can be as glamorous or expected as flight, or as niche as being able to 3D print objects rectally. Jen (Tyers), however, is a rare person whose power never emerged. And her life is kind of a mess. She has a dead-end job at a costume shop, a strained relationship with her family, and a love life plagued by misfortune. She lives with her best friend Carrie (Oxenham), a timid young woman who can channel the dead, and Jizzlord (Luke Rollason), a shapeshifter who got trapped as a cat for several years. Jen brought him home in cat form and gave him his vulgar name, and let him continue to live there when he returned to human form with no memory of his old life. Together, they experience the normal ups and downs of being in your 20s and not having anything figured out. It's a traditional sitcom premise, but the superhero hook, Moran's sharp writing, and Tyers and Oxenham's charismatic performances set it apart. 

The show has a very straightforward origin story. Moran had written a few drafts of a standard "roommates in the city" sitcom, but she felt like she wasn't doing anything new or better than what already existed. So she experimented with laying other genres on top of the premise. One of them was the superhero genre. This was in 2017-18, and Marvel was at its peak.

"I was so sick of it, where I was just like, 'Look at all these f---ing great people doing great things,'" Moran said. "I think I was like, I've got these characters that are, like, losers, and don't have much direction and aren't good at a lot of stuff. So what if I paired them with a genre that's all about being the best?" It all came together from there. The show was commissioned as one of the first originals for Star, a Disney streaming brand, and premiered in early 2023 on Disney+ in the UK and Hulu in the US. (Disney may seem like an unlikely partner for a show this profane, but Moran says executives are supportive. She turns in scripts expecting to get asked to tone it down, but the response is usually "make it grosser.") 

Luke Rollason, Extraordinary

Luke Rollason, Extraordinary

Olly Courtney/Hulu

[Warning: Spoilers for Season 1 of Extraordinary follow] At the end of Season 1, Jen and Jizzlord started dating, but a cliffhanger revealed that he had a wife and child. Jen also started going to a clinic that will help her discover what her power is. Meanwhile, Carrie broke up with her underachieving boyfriend Kash (Bilal Hasna). As Season 2 picks up, Jen and Jizz are trying to navigate their new relationship while also navigating his relationship with his family, who he does not remember, while Carrie experiments with putting her own needs first. 

"They're both in places they've never been before or haven't been for a very long time," Oxenham said. "They're both kind of trying to carve out who they are without these identities that they previously had." 

Tyers said that Jen and Carrie are dealing with adult decisions for the first time. "That's such a thing about navigating your 20s is that you realize that you actually need to make decisions for yourself," she said. "Where do I live? Who do I hang out with? All this kind of stuff. It feels quite overwhelming, I think." 

Extraordinary uses a heightened world and distinct sense of place to bring out what's universal about its emotions. "It's quite a local show," Moran said. "And I mean that in the sense of like, it's filmed where I used to live, and it's a very specific part of London," a gentrifying East London neighborhood called Whitechapel. "So I was always kind of worried it wouldn't translate to people outside of England. But because I think the insecurity at the heart of it is so universal – everyone has felt inadequate at some point – I feel like people can get through the specificity to that." And of course, the particularity of place is part of the appeal. "I think people just really like the specificity of stuff that isn't their day to day," Moran said. "That's what I enjoy about international shows."

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In some ways, Extraordinary feels more like an American comedy than a British one. While it has some of the spiky British sense of humor of shows like Fleabag and Pulling, its rhythm and tone owe more to Hollywood sitcoms, which Moran attributes to watching more American shows growing up. The aforementioned New Girl was a touchstone for how to handle Jen and Jizz's will-they/won't-they.  

Extraordinary's look and sound are distinctive, too. The colorful costumes are designed by Buki Ebiesuwa. "A fitting with her is like the most inspiring chaotic, crazy experience," Tyers said. Ebiesuwa's attention to detail is so keen that even peripheral characters have costumes that nod to their powers. And the costumes help tell the characters' stories, too. Oxenham said that in Season 2, Carrie tries to reinvent herself by wearing leather and fishnets. "I don't know if it's actually a glow up, but she's trying." 

And the show is stuffed with a wall-to-wall indie rock and pop soundtrack that Moran curated with music supervisors Catherine Grieves and Jenn Egan. Putting together playlists that communicate the tone of a project is part of Moran's writing process, and a lot of the songs she picked for Extraordinary make up the show's "Shazamable" soundtrack. Tyers said that her Spotify Wrapped last year was mostly songs from Extraordinary. "You have increased my coolness of music taste tenfold," she told Moran. 

The day after the interview, the trio was scheduled to go to Disneyland for the first time – and because they work for Disney, they got to go for free. It was probably a great time, with lots of inappropriate laughs. If you want to know what it might have felt like, watch Extraordinary

Extraordinary Season 2 premieres Wednesday, March 6 on Hulu. Season 1 is available to stream now.