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How The Imperfects Grounded The Superhero Genre For Star Italia Ricci

Created by Shelley Eriksen and Dennis Heaton, "The Imperfects" is a 2022 sci-fi TV show that aired a single eight-episode season on Netflix, which premiered on September 8. Although the series was ultimately canceled after that one season, it still managed to amass a significant fanbase, with numerous viewers taking to its bright and charismatic rendering of classic young adult fiction tropes within a fantasy context.

"The Imperfects" tells the story of a trio of twentysomethings, Tilda Weber (Morgan Taylor Campbell), Abbi Singh (Rhianna Jagpal), and Juan Ruiz (Iñaki Godoy), who get brought together by a series of drastic circumstances. Diagnosed with a genetic disorder as teenagers and forced to undergo an experimental synthetic stem cell treatment at the hands of Dr. Alex Sarkov (Rhys Nicholson), the three only come to realize in adulthood that the treatment has given them superpowers, which get unleashed once they run out of stabilizing medication: Tilda, a rebellious punk rocker, develops banshee-like hearing and sonic screams; Juan, an up-and-coming graphic artist, starts shapeshifting into a chupacabra-esque being; and Abbi, a queer, asexual grad student, starts giving off the irresistibly strong pheromones of a succubus. The three thus join forces to find Dr. Sarkov and hopefully find a cure.

They're assisted in their quest by Dr. Sydney Burke, Dr. Sarkov's estranged former partner, who acts as a mentor and guardian to the group. And actor Italia Ricci, who plays Dr. Burke, has spoken about how the show changed her relationship with the superhero genre.

Italia Ricci's experiences on Supergirl and The Imperfects were very different

Dr. Sydney Burke is a deeply complex character, one whose motives and feelings are often not quite clear, either to the audience or to her young mentees. A brilliant geneticist who agrees to help the main trio while maintaining a certain distance from them, she is torn between her desire to help others and the weight of her past mistakes, which manifests in the character of Isabel Finch (Kyra Zagorsky).

Italia Ricci was no stranger to the superhero genre when she got the part on "The Imperfects." After all, she previously played the villain Silver Banshee in the first season of "Supergirl." As she revealed in an interview with CBR, however, the two experiences were very different. Given that Ricci had never played a superpowered sci-fi/fantasy character before "Supergirl," and that her character was directly involved in the action, she had to learn the ropes of the genre as she went along; portraying Silver Banshee ultimately made her feel like "a kid again, playing the most magnificent game of pretend."

When it came to "The Imperfects," however, hers was a different mission altogether. Because Dr. Burke is the more normal, non-super character in the team, Ricci rooted her performance in something closer to reality. "I chose to keep Burke grounded and flat, so there was somebody's more reasonable point of view coming through," she revealed to CBR — a task she ultimately found less scary than her "Supergirl" one.