Stop What You're Doing And Watch Astrid & Lilly Save The World

The algorithm gods would like us to believe we're on the up-and-up with everything Good™ currently at our disposal, but the reality is that we're trapped in a bubble of content oversaturation. There's just too much good coming in from all sides and unless someone physically grabs my idiot face and says, "WATCH SEVERANCE," there's a good chance I'm going to show up weeks late and binge eight horrors of a dystopian workplace nightmare in one sitting to prepare for the season finale. As a cord-cutter, this also means that unless there's a giant ad reminder on a streamer's homepage, my goldfish brain will absolutely forget to seek out the shows that haven't been spoon-fed to me. There are plenty who feel this confession is inappropriate for someone who makes their living writing about entertainment, but I fully admit to being /Film's resident consumer of "dumb b**** juice."

All of these factors contribute to my audible gasping of "WAIT, WHAT IS THIS!?" when footage of "Astrid & Lilly Save the World" showed up on TikTok. High school besties Astrid (Jana Morrison) and Lilly (Samantha Aucoin) have been bullied for far too long, and when they finally express how it's been making them feel, they accidentally open a portal to a monster dimension. The show has rightfully been compared to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for Gen Z, but "Astrid and Lilly Save the World" is the natural evolution of shows about young women saving their community from the forces of evil. The show effortlessly tackles the trials and tribulations of high school life, but pays respectful homage to the similar shows that came before it. For my fellow millennials and Gen-Xers who have found that loving "Buffy" has gotten really complicated due to the Joss Whedon of it all, Astrid and Lilly are here to save us all.

Teen girl heroes of the supernatural — they're just like us

Created by Noelle Stehman and Betsy Van Stone, Astrid and Lilly are immediately likable despite the fact their classmates treat them like garbage. There's plenty to be said about stories focusing on "the chosen one" to fulfill a prophecy, but Astrid and Lilly don't know the first thing about monster slaying — they're too busy trying to figure out what it takes to be "cool" so they don't have to spend every day dodging bullies. Upon opening the portal, they meet Brutus (Olivier Renaud) who even describes himself as, "[Their] 'Giles,' in terms you humans might understand." He's a bonafide monster hunk with a horn in the middle of his forehead, but dude loves 1990s pop culture and helping the duo hunt down monster parts to close the portal.

The show functions like your typical monster-of-the-week, but it's the relatable wit and charm of our protagonists that keep you wanting more. They're both so painfully honest, especially Astrid who will describe things with poetic hilarity like, "This song makes me want to get dry humped in the back of a pickup truck at Burger King." It's also important to point out that both Astrid and Lilly are fat girls, and their weight is a huge factor (but not the only!) in why their classmates discount them. As a fellow fat girl, there were so many teen girls I admired growing up like Clarissa Darling, Alex Mack, and Julie "The Cat" Gaffney, but none of them ever had to endure the cruel comments and body policing the way I did. They're given the cruel nickname of "The Pudge Patrol," which initially stings, but the duo later rock the nickname on matching jackets like the Pink Ladies in "Grease." This show is as much about battling otherworldly monsters as it is about having to overcome the ones found in any high-school hallway or lurking inside our own subconscious.

The romance is wonderful

One of the biggest problems I have in revisiting a show like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is how truly bonkers and problematic some of the romance plots are. Obviously, teenagers don't always have the best idea of what to look for in a suitable mate, but knowing the truth of Joss Whedon has unfortunately marred any semblance of grace I could give to the toxic mess known as "Buffy and Spike." While "Astrid and Lilly" is equally unafraid to tackle the complexities of teenage love, it does so in a way that "Buffy" never could. There's so much nuance and understanding brought to the table regarding Lilly and her childhood BFF turned high school Mean Queen Bee turned possible girlfriend, Candace (Julia Doyle), and boldly explores the reality that sometimes teenagers do things because of compulsory parental influence. For Astrid, her confidence is unwavering with the exception of realizing that no one else has ever seen her naked before, but her sorta-boyfriend Sparrow (Spencer MacPherson) quickly alleviates any of those insecurities. It's all just so lovely!

That isn't to say that everything is rainbows and butterflies (this is a show about fighting monsters, after all) but this is one of the few instances of a show where it doesn't feel like a caveat needs to be made to explain "it's a product of its time" when dealing with imperfect relationships. "Astrid and Lilly" get it right, and it makes the show a more enjoyable watch not having to worry about glaring missteps. Oh, and the monsters? They're all kind of hot. Like, they're monsters so they're supposed to be kind of gross and evil, but some of them are also fully and unapologetically hot. It's like someone took those anime monster dating simulator games and turned it live-action. It rules.

Astrid and Lilly is a show worth saving

"Astrid and Lilly Save the World" would have been my ritualistic designated weekly watch had this come out when I was a teenager, because it surely became that show for me as a thirtysomething. Similarly to "Chucky," the episodes of "Astrid and Lilly Save the World" play on Syfy and USA Network, and will hopefully head to Peacock so the fellow cord cutters can see this wonderful show, and boost viewership numbers to justify a second season.

"You have the unique perspective of unfairly being labeled as losers, so you got really good at looking at people from the outside," Brutus describes the duo, but he very well could have been describing the show as a whole. Until the show makes its way to streaming, I urge anyone with access to USA Network, Syfy, or the NBC app to carve out the time to watch "Astrid and Lilly Save the World." Entertainment marketed toward teen girl audiences are unfairly maligned (I literally co-host a podcast about this) and frequently canceled way too soon. "Astrid and Lilly Save the World" is a show worth watching, and due to the fickleness of TV programming, one worth saving from premature cancellation.