REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: SYFY, NOWTV
In this age of easy special effects and complicated, angst-filled arcs, it’s nice to know that they’re still making pulp sci-fi. Vagrant Queen is a low-budget piece of disposable fun which also happens to be almost perfect. From the Chris Foss-inspired spaceships to the funny-faced aliens, the show feels like an artefact from last century, brought up to date just enough to keep it fresh and interesting.
Our titular Vagrant Queen is called Elida (Adriyan Rae), an exiled princess who has spent most of her time on streets as a scavenger, raiding ancient caches of technology for a quick profit. She’s assisted by Isaac, (Tim Rozon) a Human from Earth who is very, very lost, as this entire series is set in a galaxy that is not our own. Rounding out the crew of space adventurers is Amae Rali (Alex McGregor), a horned alien who happens to be a genius engineer. Part of the charm of this show is that none of this requires a lot of thought. It’s a tough-as-nails quirky crew who can’t help but get into trouble.
It’s also nice that each of the characters feels like they’re the stars of their own show, and this is where much of the conflict and humour comes from. Though it isn’t exactly slapstick, there’s a fair bit of understated physical humour throughout and some pretty strong one-liners. The main storyline involves Commander Lazaro (Paul du Toit), an agent of the Republic who has been hunting Eida down for a very long time. He’s a camp and crazy villain, because it’s that sort of TV series. Elida wants nothing to do with her past, but gets sucked into a plot to rescue her mother, whom she long thought dead. However, this is a show that loves to subvert expectations and it takes the tale to some pretty odd places.
Vagrant Queen pulls off the retro-kitsch vibe recently made popular by movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok (but with much less cash), treating the audience to gorgeous, comic-inspired cosmic settings. It has a lot of potential, and is closer to the idea of ‘Xena: Warrior Princess in space’ than Andromeda ever was. The actors are having fun, the SFX guys are doing fantastic and creative things with very little, and everything simply gels together. A joy to watch!