Supacell: Overhyped mediocrity dressed as masterpiece

BD Supacell

Supacell is a British sci-fi superhero television series created for Netflix.

They Cloned Tyrone (2023) was my favourite movie of the year. It had a unique and unapologetic African American premise, and the creativity of the team behind the scenes was evident. So, you can imagine my excitement when I learned that the same platform that brought us They Cloned Tyrone had released a series based in England focusing on Black people. Does this make me racist? No, I just believe we don't see enough uniquely creative Black-led TV shows and films in genres like sci-fi, superhero, and horror.


Supacell is a British sci-fi superhero television series created for Netflix. This comes from the mind of Rapman who serves as the showrunner, creator, writer, and lead director, with Sebastian Thiel directing three episodes.


In South London, a group of ordinary people suddenly develop superpowers, and the only connection between them is that they are all Black. As they grapple with the impact of their newfound abilities on their daily lives, one man must bring them together.


To fully appreciate Supacell, it's important to understand its creator. Andrew Onwubolu, better known as Rapman, is a British rapper, record producer, screenwriter, and film director. He is renowned for addressing socially conscious themes and his uniquely vivid storytelling style. In this particular show, it's clear from the onset that Rapman is tackling gangs and gang-related violence.

What Worked

First off, the last episode has a brutal scene where the secondary villain utilises speed to do something really cold. For me, that was the most memorable moment of the show.

This is a superhero series where the superpowers take a back seat. It's a character-driven sci-fi story that focuses on the daily lives and drama around the primary characters. While the superpower elements are present, grounding and making the characters relatable results in an engaging and enjoyable viewing experience. Each character is given a compelling arc, making them interesting to watch and follow. I appreciated the direction they took with Tazer and the fact that they avoided the easy way out.

The cinematography is good for the most part, with colour grading that gives the show an expensive and visually appealing look. Combined with excellent casting, the show looks impressive. The performances are outstanding, with clear distinctions in appearances and personalities.

The world-building, particularly with the gangsters and this version of London, is well thought out. I also like how the show makes it clear that all the characters are in the same city. There are scenes where characters, following their own paths, cross each other's path but don't interact because their stories haven't merged yet.

The writing and direction of the earlier episodes do a good job of setting up the season with a "promise of things to come." Additionally, the show doesn't shy away from the brutality of street gangs and their consequences. The soundtrack is also excellent, especially during the club and party scenes.

What Didn't Work

The entire season feels like an extended introduction to The organisation. The primary villain only appears in the final minutes of the last episode, which is very unsatisfying.

The show is painfully predictable, primarily due to a weak script/screenplay. After Michael's incident, it was clear where the story was headed. Additionally, the narrative felt like a two-hour movie stretched into a series. While I appreciate the character development, the pacing is so slow at times you might find yourself mentally editing out scenes.

Some subplots don't make sense and certain characters make decisions that look like they are designed solely to drive the story forward without fitting into the larger narrative. For example, Sabrina's sister, Sharleen Clarke, made some frustratingly irrational decisions (in the writing, not performance).

The visual effects are serviceable, but budgetary constraints are evident. The superpowers are generic and unoriginal, think telekinesis, super speed, super strength, teleportation, and invisibility. These have all been done before and better. I wish the showrunners had been more innovative with the powers, adding unique twists and rules, such as consequences for using powers over a long time or just powers that have not been oversaturate in the superhero genre.

The show also struggles with explaining certain elements, especially during the finale. For instance, the sudden change from daylight to night between scenes was confusing. Additionally, a character's reveal of having powers, while executed well, felt like a familiar and predictable trope. Earlier, I had hoped they wouldn't go in that direction because it was too obvious, but they did.


This show should have been called "Supacell and the Hunt for the Butterfly Effect"

This is an entertaining superhero show that clearly understands its strengths. The drama and performances are engaging enough to binge-watch all six episodes in one sitting. It's worth your time. However, if you are an X-Men fan or have seen the three seasons of Misfits (2012) and They Cloned Tyrone, this might feel like a downgrade overall. The best way to summarise this show is as a British interpretation of They Cloned Tyrone with X-Men-like characters.

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