'Vagrant Queen' Episode 1 Review: 'A Royal-Ass Kicking' is a promising, fun cosmic adventure that keeps it light
Contains spoilers for 'Vagrant Queen' Episode 1: "A Royal Ass-Kicking"
'Vagrant Queen' is a simple story. The theme's not really out-of-the-box, the storyline not convoluted, the characters are not your 'Guardians'-sort of blokes considering it's set in a different galaxy. But what it is, is a fun adventure that's light, nice and easy.
'A Royal Ass-Kicking' serves as the introductory episode as it sets the tone for what is an action and comedy-filled cosmic rollercoaster. Based on the Vault comic book series written by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Jason Smith, it follows Elida (Adriyan Rae), a queen, on the run from a ruthless bureaucracy. She makes a living by being a space scavenger of sorts who when not hunting for something credit-worthy is trying to work on some killer one-liners.
It's hard to not shake off the colorful 'Guardians' and 'Star Wars' vibes the series gives off, except it relies on some major character drama and comedy a lot more. The CGI isn't exactly a million-dollar affair, but it is still convincing enough to get you through the pilot, and it has the pacy and tightly-woven storyline to thank for.
Elida's introduction is pretty interesting as she takes on two other space scavengers and kills them ruthlessly as they threaten to make off with her find. This is just proof that the former queen is now quite comfortable in making a living off this, despite constantly being on the run. Over the course of the episode, it is revealed her name is Eldaya, queen of Arriopa. Her mother was killed by the Republic when she was a child and she's been a lone galaxy-trotting, parts-scavenging gun-slinger of sorts.
And despite that, the Republic wants to weed out the last member of the Royal family so as to firmly establish their dominion. Led by sinister Commander Lazaro (Paul du Toit), they manage to track Elida down to a remote space station where she's forced to team up with frenemy, Isaac (Tim Rozon), and a wise-cracking mechanic, Amae (Alex McGregor), to fend off Lazaro and his troops and make a getaway.
What makes 'A Royal Ass-Kicking' a perfect hour's timepass is the snarky and engaging banter between the characters. The Isaac-Elida dynamic is interesting while Lazaro is the perfect villain. He's ruthless, but his comic timing and his threats are a treat. He may end up killing people or torturing them for information, but the fun is how he goes about doing the job. Part sadist, part comic. Rae, who shot to prominence with 'Superfly' and 'Light as a Feather' does a great job as Elida while Rozon, with his concrete performance as Isaac, steals the show.
After 'Krypton' which lasted two seasons on Syfy, the network has dished out another comic-based content that's promising. And with all the heavy-storied superhero shows and dramas out there, 'Vagrant Queen' comes in as a featherlight entertainer.
Created by Jem Garrard 'Vagrant Queen' airs Friday on Syfy at 10 p.m. ET/PT.