The amount of shows with Black female leads are in the single digits. And the amount that are also sapphic? Could be counted on one hand. Vagrant Queen follows Elida/Eldaya, played by Adriyan Rae, a Black female alien queen who is on the run from her planet’s people after seeing revolutionaries kill her family. She then teams up with a human man, played by Tim Rozon, named Isaac, who is just trying to make it back to Earth where his wife and newborn son are. Later, they meet Amae, Elida’s love interest played by Alex McGregor, who joins their merry band after evading an attack by the same revolutionaries who almost killed her brother.
I cannot even begin to imagine what a show like this could mean to a queer Black woman, but I know for at least me personally, to see such a positive relationship between two women in the science fiction genre and on a major network was life-changing.
I started to watch this show live after a few episodes had already aired, and seeing the community support for the show on social media, especially Twitter, gave me such high hopes for the show’s future. Vagrant Queen is definitely a tongue-in-cheek, campy style of a show, and despite it dealing with heavy topics like grief, survivor’s guilt, and more, it still manages to balance the darker moments with lighter, laugh out loud comedy.
Obviously, therefore, there is a lot to love about this QBIPOC led show, so here are 10 reasons why you should absolutely watch Vagrant Queen right now.
That one guy from Schitt’s Creek is in it
Yeah, that guy! Mutt Schitt, Alexis Rose’s love interest (for a bit)! The actor, Tim Rozon, plays completely platonic, designated Straight Friend™ Isaac. This only human, Earthern character who got stranded after a space mission gone wrong, meets up with the main character, Elida, to make a living while devising a way back home. Rozon, who also plays a central character in another Syfy show, Wynonna Earp, probably felt conflicting feelings this summer, since Earp was renewed after a massive showing of fan support around the same time this show was cancelled due to “low” fan support. Though, hey, at least his career is doing pretty good!
It’s based off a graphic novel series of the same name
The show followed the graphic novels pretty faithfully, and the writer, Magdalene Visaggio, and illustrator, Jason Smith participated in the weekly Twitter Watch Parties along with the cast, crew, and fans every now and then, too. Prior to watching the show, I had never read any of the 6 Vagrant Queen books, published by Vault Comics, but they are definitely on my TBR now!
Big, strong, dumb, kind main character, but make her an alien
Elida is big and strong, due to the need to toughen up in order to survive being alone on the run, but she also simply does not know how to act around people wanting to be her friend or are even interested in her… but like, in an adorable sweet way. At one point earlier on in the show, Elida wanted to protect Amae, but didn’t know how to articulate that. So instead of saying, “hey, I want to keep you out of danger,” Elida forced her to stay on the ship, which just ended up frustrating Amae. Thankfully, as the season progressed, Elida learned how to communicate her needs with her friends better, but she still has that total big, dumb, yet kind energy down.
Hot gay mechanic love interest
Speaking of Amae, you learn very quickly on that she is gay, considering the first time you see her is with another woman—and the way Elida reacted to this information is very not-straight. It was clear to see this show was going to become very sapphic very fast, and I am completely okay with it. While Amae was the last one to join the trio, she quickly proved invaluable with her wits and technological know-how, which ended up saving their lives more often than I can count—one time, in particular, she programmed a robot they found to fly them out of danger, and just in the nick of time. I will just keep wishing there had been another season to enjoy these cuties longer, but alas, I will comfort myself by rewatching season 1.
The sassy best friend is a robot helper
The amount of sass that is contained in the little robot helper, nicknamed “Winnie-Bot” by Amae, is unparalleled. Winnie-Bot gets the gang out of trouble numerous times—literally saving their life on more than one occasion, including zapping someone who was about to kill one of the trio when they weren’t looking—but probably only so she can deliver clever one-liners at them at the same time. One such example was when the team crash landed and their ship lost several pieces, and when Amae asked Winnie-Bot if they needed them all, she replied, “if by need, you mean essential or very important, rather than just very desirable, then yes, we need them all.” Honestly, if they cancelled Vagrant Queen to give Winnie-Bot its own show, I might not be mad.
Every Black character has protective Black hairstyles
There were several secondary and background Black characters, such as the one pictured above, with protective hairstyles, which felt so touching. Even though all the characters are aliens (aside from Isaac), the hairstylists and/or directors didn’t use that as an excuse to relax the characters hair, therefore demonstrating that they are still Black. Even Elida’s hairstyle throughout the show (and time jumps) remained natural.
There’s a mannequin challenge in every episode
Literally every episode, there would be a brief moment where everybody and everything on screen would freeze—usually during a big fight scene—and the camera would quickly pan around to show what everyone is doing, usually for comedic effect. There’s this particularly nasty action scene that this happened, in which the main villain, Lazaro, forced a group of politicians to fight to the death in order to determine who would be his right hand person, but he only gave them crude weapons to use, such as a kitchen knife or a pair of scissors—and I had to look away because I am so squeamish. Which brings me to my next point!
Even though it’s campy sci-fi, there’s quite a bit of gruesome murder
While this show is definitely campy, funny sci-fi, with a romance B-plot, there also is this commentary on the radicalization of white boys/men into violent murderers, particularly in the character of Lazaro. Lazaro’s entire childhood was very pampered, since he was the son of two high ranking politicians, but as his father was abusive, he was harboring a lot of hate, which another politician used against him in order to use him as a pawn to take down the whole monarchy. This descension from privilege to “revolutionary” manifests itself into some death scenes I could handle, but others that I, as a scaredy-cat, simply couldn’t and had to look away. So low-key, this TV show is also a horror show—truly, this show breaks genre boundaries.
There’s an entire episode that recreates Clue
If you haven’t seen the movie Clue, starring Tim Curry… first of all, hop off this and go watch it right now. Second of all, to see the movie is to love it, and what better way to show you love it then recreate it in space, amiright? The episode, titled, “No Clue,” is clearly a love letter to the movie, with some of the most iconic scenes recreated cleverly on board a spaceship instead of inside a mansion, including the one where there’s a couple of characters banging on a door, screaming “let me in! Let me in!” and the ones inside the room are screaming “let me out! Let me out!” Or another scene where the video speeds up and shows the different characters scrambling around, running in and out of rooms, and trying to avoid the murderer. All in all, it’s the funniest and strongest episode of the show, in my opinion.
The main character in a sci-fi TV show is a queer Black woman
Like I mentioned earlier, there are so few shows with a Black woman, let alone a queer Black woman, and this queer Black female character gets to fall in love and kiss another woman on screen, all while getting into intergalactic hijinks. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it totally is, and it’s both the number one reason I give the Syfy channel the stink eye for cancelling this show and also believe that everyone should watch.
Born and raised in Indiana, Lizzy Hosty is currently in undergrad studying Communication at Marian University in Indianapolis. She has written for the Tor/Forge and Tor Teen blog, along with her college’s newspaper, The Phoenix, and their literary journal, The Fioretti. You can find her on Twitter at @lizzyhosty.