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How SYFY's new series 'Astrid & Lilly Save the World' turns the Buffy-esque concept 'on its head'
Astrid & Lilly Save the World, the upcoming SYFY original series, premieres Jan. 26, 2022.
It's been 24 years since the Buffy the Vampire the Slayer TV series changed the whole high school/monster metaphor dynamic forever. As that series said, "Into every generation a slayer is born...," and SYFY's Astrid & Lilly Save the World aims to mix-up the teen/monster-slayer dynamic for a whole new generation of fans.
Today, Astrid & Lilly Save the World creators/showrunners Noelle Stehman and Betsy Van Stone introduced the show and their two leads, Samantha Aucoin (Lilly) and Jana Morrison (Astrid), virtually to reporters at the NBC Winter Press day. The series revolves around two outcast teen girls, Astrid and Lilly, who suffer the insults and stigma of not being popular. But they accidentally open up a portal to another world that is home to a whole lotta monsters. Imbued with unexpected "powers," it's determined only they can save us all.
The co-creators told reporters they wanted to create a series that was specific to the teen experience of being forced in high school to be like everyone else. "We want people to watch this show and be surprised and charmed by our unlikely heroes," Van Stone said. "They matter the most in the world, because it's only the two of them who can save the world."
Van Stone went on to say that they've written strong women who are dynamic and colorful, and likable and unlikeable. "But it's from our experience as teens that these two characters developed, the outcasts and losers, but they rise above that," Stehman added.
Asked about how Buffy the series influenced them as genre watchers and now TV writers, Stehman enthused, "We’re both huge Buffy fans. There are various homage moments to Buffy you will see in our show. But what became our motto was more of a Booksmart dynamic about close female friendships. This is an outcast story where the least expected turn out to be a hero. Their powers are quirky and their monster guide is quirky. It takes the [Buffy] model and turns it on its head."
That inversion also applied to the monsters and mythology that will unfold over the course of the first season. Instead of the expected vampires or werewolves, Stehman said, "Each episode we try to create a monster that is fully formed and very dynamic in its own way. A monster that you want to watch and follow along with, and you might want to root for, but probably not. Each monster has a theme about them that ties into a theme of what the high school kids are going through in that episode. And overall, that is the model for the season. Some of the monsters are straight up terrifying, some are funny, and they are all quirky."
Van Stone added, "And they are not monsters you have seen before. We have created original, weird monsters. They all have big personalities and we’re super excited to give you the whole picture of what they are."