Netflix's first script-to-screen African original series, Queen Sono, follows in the footsteps of many of the streamer's better international efforts. Queen Sono Season 1 - Review. The show isn't as effective capturing or justifying the cover-story side of Queen's life, and that leaves the characterizations really thin for Ramabulana and for Enhle Maphumulo, who plays Will's girlfriend, Nova. The show’s embodiment of that outlook, and the motor of the season’s plot, is an alliance (perhaps plausible, but presented in awfully broad strokes) between a squad of black-nationalist revolutionaries and a Russian security outfit called Superior Solutions. On the other hand, if you do have some experience with African TV — the glossy, unapologetic melodramas of Nollywood or the viscerally brutal action thrillers of South Africa — you may find “Queen Sono” unsatisfyingly in-between, a halfhearted and problematic attempt to dress up a soft Western-style drama. © 2021 The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Thusi is still more consistently solid than not, and Dabula, Liquorish and Kubeka are good as well. by Queen Sono makes sure to grab your attention and never lets go. Netflix has finally delivered us their first original program filmed completely in Africa, Queen Sono. Subtitles on Queen Sono also identify the wide variety of languages spoken onscreen (in addition to English), which range from Russian, French and Afrikaans to languages like isiXhosa, isiZulu, Xitsonga and several others that weren't granted this sort of exposure when, for example, Jack Bauer spent several hours dealing with child soldiers in "Sangala." (The initials S.S. aren’t remarked on, but are hard to miss.). When it’s time for a fight, there’s a fight. That means he makes a lot of deliberate and even bold decisions. March 11, 2020 Jean Henegan Comment(0) If you’ve ever felt nostalgic for Alias, the early 2000s ABC spy drama that launched Jennifer Garner’s career, Queen Sono is definitely a show for you. So I mean, yes, you could just watch Queen Sono as a standard piece of spy TV and there's fun to be had in that experience, but that's the sort of surface viewership that leads to facile, "Oh, it's Homeland in Africa!" Causing drama in the early episodes is the uncomfortable intersection between the corrupt South African political regime, a private military contractor headed by Russian oligarch Ekaterina Gromova (Kate Liquorish) and a nationalist paramilitary faction called Watu Wema, headed by Shandu (Vuyo Dabula), a fiery man with ties to Queen's past. Cast: Pearl Thusi, Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele, Chi Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, Rob Van Vuuren, Kate Liquorish, Khathu Ramabulana, Enhle Maphumulo, Abigail Kubeka. With gorgeous costuming and a colorful soundtrack, there’s little the show gets wrong. More Like This. Thusi nails Queen's badass attitude and when she's prowling the streets with a defiant afro that makes her far more spottable and memorable than most undercover operatives would find ideal, her swagger is impeccable. The title character, played by Pearl Thusi — she was the lawyer and C.I.A. 1 day, 10 hours. Netflix’s QUEEN SONO, Africa’s first Netflix Original, has gained popularity with the viewers, not only from Africa but most other continents. Director of HBO's Tiger Woods documentary reveals … The Office Was Reportedly 2020's … This spy thriller series follows femme fatale Queen Sono, a beautiful secret agent with a troubled past (is there any other kind?) From costumes to soundtrack choices to the cast, Queen Sono has confidence in its voice and identity. SOG, which itself has pre-apartheid roots and probably isn't exactly what it appears to be, sends agents throughout Africa on missions overseen by Miri (Chi Mhende), who I think is Queen's cousin, and Dr. Sid (Sechaba Morojele), but the organization is mysterious enough that Queen can't even tell her nearest and dearest what she does for a living. + by Zaid Kriel Updated March 3, 2020, 9:49 a.m. Posted Feb. 28, 2020, 5 a.m. Queen is unpredictable, headstrong, street-savvy, and doesn’t like to play by the rules. 10:18 AM PST 2/28/2020 2020-03-02. The real colonizer, of course, is the one behind the screen: Netflix, where the six episodes of this sprawling, earnest, likable show debut on Friday. Queen Sono will gain attention for being Netflix’s first African original series. The Gist: Queen Sono (Pearl Thusi) is a spy for a South African organization called the Special Operations Group; their mission is to improve the lives of … Directed by Kagiso Lediga, Queen Sono is an engaging crime series that grabs your attention from the very first minutes with its many twists. ... Queen Sono may be Netflix’s first drama out of Africa, but it certainly won’t be the last. Hailing from creator Kagiso Lediga, Queen Sono stars Pearl Thusi as a field agent in South Africa's secretive Special Operations Group. An armed band that might be terrorists or might be freedom fighters declares its intent to liberate Africa from “the clutches of colonization.” A hapless do-gooder calls out the primary villain for being a neocolonialist, and is quickly abducted with extreme prejudice. Read the recap of the first episode. has become a more important inducement for viewership than, "Hey, that show is in a language I speak and populated by actors I recognize!" But “Queen Sono,” created by the South African writer and performer Kagiso Lediga, doesn’t compromise when it comes to rooting its story close to home. Privacy Policy | Queen's loyalties are tested once she finds suspicious information about the assassination of her mother, a late political activist. Hailing from creator Kagiso Lediga, Queen Sono stars Pearl Thusi as a field agent in South Africa's secretive Special Operations Group. (Credit: Chris Duys / Netflix) Accompanying the former Quantico star on her characters slightly-destructive assignments are a few notable African actors. Queen Sono is a thought-provoking show that embodies the juxtaposition between the beautiful South African culture and a rough political and social reality. Overall, Queen Sono is a colorful, exciting romp of a spy thriller that deserves a second season. That “Queen Sono” is unremarkable as an action and crime drama doesn’t cancel the excitement of seeing something new (if it’s indeed new to you). AdChoices TOP CRITIC This first season of Queen Sono gifted us with an open-ended dialogue grounded in Black and African liberation. A spy thriller about a South African secret agent is the streaming monolith’s first fully produced original series from Africa. The narrative is fueled by the optimism that greeted the post-apartheid revolution in the mid-'90s, subsequent disappointments and the multi-century history of European colonialism and corporate control of the entire continent and its often ruinous effects. (Its size — five core members — makes you wonder whether the budget for “Queen Sono” wasn’t as generous as it was for other Netflix series. The pleasures of “Queen Sono” come outside of the action and the highly basic presentations of espionage and police work. Queen Sono, the much anticipated first African Netflix original, dropped on the streaming service today. All rights reserved. Queen — … Queen Sono has a lot of room to grow in its second season, to actually flesh out some of these characters as people and maybe, if the show is successful enough, to get enough money to add extras to crowd scenes and raise the stakes on some of the action. The past is very important to Queen Sono and not just in the mid-season episode that's told entirely as a flashback. Esports Spotlight for 23rd January 2018. In six episodes, the series does more than diversify the spy genre, it expands the very nature of it. As with other test cases for narrative globalization, like the South Korean “Kingdom” or the Scandinavian “Ragnarok,” you can sense the bending of local traditions toward Netflix norms: the six-episode season; the emphasis on action and mystery; the clockwork interjections of a Westernized, universally intelligible wry humor. TWITTER Netflix may not have been a big winner on Oscar night, but part of me wonders if the streamer deserves at least a modicum of credit for the relative ease with which audiences were able to embrace Bong Joon Ho's Parasite. The series deals with subjects like corrupt politicians, complex family histories, secret missions and foreigners' interests in the continent. Production stills from the set of Netflix Queen Sono with Pearl Thusi, directed by Kagiso Lediga. Speak With the Devil: A Q&A with Daredevil's Charlie Cox. There's a top gear the show keeps not being able to reach, whether it's a limitation of editing and fight choreography or a failure to find scale at what couldn't have been a towering budget. Rough political and social reality, both literally and figuratively the cast Queen. S.S. aren ’ t like to play high emotion, she 's far less compelling and her capacity with is. In Africa, a testament to the creative chops of show creator Kagiso that... 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