I didn’t know a pair of teen girls accidentally opening a portal between worlds by awkwardly and angrily burning their weird obsessions was something I needed in my life, but Astrid and Lilly Save the World prove that I did. The newest SyFy Original series is written by Noelle Stehman and Betsy Van Stone, who executive produce along with Lance Samuels, Daniel Iron, and Samantha Levine. But the true strength of the show comes from its dynamic duo, Astrid and Lilly, played by Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin, respectively.
Social outcasts Astrid and Lilly don’t have an easy time at high school. Whether it’s the popular kids bullying them for their weight or their own idiosyncrasies, they only have each other to keep moving forward. Two peas in a pod, they’re best friends who love Olivia Benson and patrol the neighborhood spying on their classmates. After they crash a party only to be bullied out of it, the two decide to burn everything that makes them weird. What starts as an awkward anger moment quickly becomes the makings for a spell, and Astrid and Lilly unwittingly crack open a portal to a terrifyingly quirky monster dimension. As the two develop truly weird superpowers, they find themselves called to protect their bullies, correct their mistakes, and ultimately become the heroes they’re meant to be.
In the three episodes I’ve gotten to watch for Astrid and Lilly Save the World, it’s clear that this series is equal parts awkward and campy — in the best ways. When it comes to our leads, Astrid and Lilly’s friendship is not only relatable; it’s something you should look for. They bicker, they disagree, and they’re also each other’s fiercest defender. In crafting their friendship, the foundation for the show is solid because these two leads know how to deliver jokes, empathy and honestly just get weird.
Additionally, seeing two teens with bodies that look like mine is something we’ve long needed in genre series. And for the most part, the balance between how the two see themselves and how everyone sees them is handled the most deftly of any part of the episodes. You see the impact being bullied for their weight has on them, but you also see how they support each other. To top it all off, Astrid’s growing confidence with her crush is a delight to see, especially since it seems her awkward, blunt deliveries are actually piquing his interest.
When it comes to the creatures, the series’ monster-of-the-week format is a great way to highlight a variance of evil that uses the high school insecurities we all have to great effect. Not to mention the series starts with a sexy monster that even the show knows will get you going. While not every effect is perfect, there is a charm to every use of slime and other practical effects that captures the b-horror spirit that matches the tone of the series.
Astrid and Lilly Save the World is the right mixture of camp, friendship, awkwardness, and fantasy. It’s fun and funny while managing to know exactly what it is. It’s the kind of series that’s pushed by its leads. In every scene, you can feel how much fun Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin are having in their roles, and it brings you in for the ride. Even if everything is very literal, it’s also very relatable and hits a sweet spot.
Astrid and Lilly Save the World is available on SyFy every Thursday.
Astrid and Lilly Save the World Episodes 1 - 3
- Rating - 8/108/10
Astrid and Lilly Save the World is the right mixture of camp, friendship, awkwardness, and fantasy. It’s fun and funny while managing to know exactly what it is. It’s the kind of series that’s pushed by its leads. In every scene, you can feel how much fun Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin are having in their roles and it brings you in for the ride. Even if everything is very literal, it’s also very relatable and hits a sweet spot.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.