I'm A Virgo is the best superhero show you're not watching

Jharrel Jerome (Cootie) in I'm A Virgo
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Superheroes are big right now, for better and for worse.

5 Marvel movies hit theaters this year, and then there's other super-centric TV hitting Disney Plus. Factor in DC’s output and the upcoming The Boys season 4, and it’s easy to see why some folks are starting to get a little burned out on superhuman storytelling. There's a lot going on here.

What we're watching

This is the latest edition of a column where members of the Tom's Guide staff share what they're watching and/or enjoying right now, with the goal of helping you find great shows and movies that you may have missed. We previously covered Superman: The Animated Series.

But even though I'm getting tired of superheroes, I need you to carve out time to watch the first season of I'm A Virgo on Prime Video. If I can find joy here, you will can, too.

I'm A Virgo offers many of the standard superhero show trappings. Expect references to comic books, billionaire philanthropists and origin stories. There’s even a proper masked hero patrolling the skies.

What is I'm A Virgo about?

Initially, though, you’re kept at a distance from all the super-stuff. Like Powers and The Boys, I’m A Virgo is a show about the challenges of living well alongside people far more powerful than you.

Set in a slightly surreal vision of Oakland, I'm A Virgo follows Kuti (Jharrel Jerome as he grows up and explores the city. The first episode sees Kuti turn 19 and move out, except his version of growing up is different because he’s roughly 13 feet tall.

Jharrel Jerome (Cootie) in I'm A Virgo

(Image credit: Prime Video)

What follows is good old fashioned origin story with proper world-building. We follow Kuti on a journey of self-discovery as he develops his first crush, takes part in a circus-like sideshow and embarks on a caper to protect his community from targeted blackouts.

From there the show spins its narratives out in some wild ways, using practical effects and great camerawork to bring creator and co-showrunner Boots Riley's vision to life. Sometimes, when you see the giant Kuti, it's an actual giant puppet.

And that awesome vision works because you get to see Kuti make friends, try new things and learn who he wants to be, all while navigating the ridiculous challenges of living in a world built for people less than half his size. 

(L to R) a crowd of people under a billboard with a superhero that reads "Helping you get your minds right!" look up at Jharrel Jerome (as Cootie)

(Image credit: Prime Video)

I'm A Virgo, of course, offers a world filled with others with unique powers, because that's what superhero shows do. And while I love the work Jerome puts in as Kuti, I adore the supporting cast performances from the likes of Olivia Washington, Kara Young, Brett Gray and Allius Barnes. 

The fact that they deliver such compelling, believable performances despite often acting alongside a giant Kuti puppet is astounding, and makes me want to rewatch the season just to try and spot the trickery that makes Kuti's superhuman size seem believable.

(L to R) Jharrel Jerome (Cootie) lifting a car while Allius Barnes (Scat), Brett Grey (Felix), Kara Young (Jones) watch in I'm A Virgo

(Image credit: Prime Video)

I'm A Virgo packs in some some fun nods to comic books, but it doesn't waste a lot of time explaining how its characters are capable of such remarkable feats. It's far more interested in placing you alongside them and giving you space to sympathize with their struggles.

As you might expect if you're familiar with Riley's work, capitalism is one of the biggest villains in I'm A Virgo. Expect thoughtful, explicit takes on the realities of forced evictions, the politics of blackouts and the limits (?) of organizing. 

There's a moment, early on, where a character rides his bike down the street in a sequence that looks like a Simpsons cartoon come to life, and it's one of the happiest things I've seen on my TV all year.

Where other shows fill their casts with cops, executives and officials, I'm A Virgo revolves around Oakland residents, shift workers and community organizers. 

Similarly, where other superhero shows rely heavily on CGI, I'm A Virgo is dominated by the aforementioned practical effects. Instead of feeling cheesy or unbelievable, this makes the show feel warm. You can tell the people who made this series love the world they've created. 

There's a moment, early on, where a character rides his bike down the street in a sequence that looks like a Simpsons cartoon come to life, and it's one of the happiest things I've seen on my TV all year. Naturally, that moment is punctuated by a heartbreaking surprise, and that's one of the memorable moments that makes I'm A Virgo so good. 

Outlook: Trust me on this, I'm A Virgo will surprise you

Jharrel Jerome (Cootie) in I'm A Virgo

(Image credit: Prime Video)

You'll never guess I'm A Virgo goes from there. I certainly never knew what to expect, and after binging the entire season in one night (after only intending to watch the first episode) I came into a meeting and begged my colleagues to let me write about it.

If you (like me) are a fan of Boots Riley projects like Sorry To Bother You or The Coup, you'll find a lot to love about I'm A Virgo. But even if you're a complete newcomer, I think you'll fall in love with the wit, heart and art of this show. 

It's the best "superhero" show I've ever seen, and the next thing that should be in your queue. 

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Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.