Queen Sono: Season 1 91% Critics Consensus: Queen Sono 's twisty, taut thrills are matched with epic action sequences and soapy delights, making Netflix's first South African series a … Legendary South African actress, Abigail Kubekha, plays Queen’s grandmother. Queen Sono starring Pearl Thusi premiered on Netflix in February 2020, and it’s easily one of Netflix’s best spy shows. It's hard to tell if Thusi isn't able to execute Queen's physicality, if the flaws are with the South African stunt professional or if the directors are simply less adroit with set pieces, but Queen Sono has an unfortunate tendency to fall flat at exactly the wrong points. Queen — that's her name, not a title — is the daughter of a legendary South African revolutionary figure whose assassination was a pivotal moment in the transitional period after apartheid. Esports Spotlight for 23rd January 2018. Queen — … With gorgeous costuming and a colorful soundtrack, there’s little the show gets wrong. 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 makes sure to grab your attention and never lets go. Entertaining and rich in context, if slightly limited by budget. 4 Comments on Queen Sono: Review. They’re also in the show’s freewheeling, lightly cynical humor — the fictional leader of South Africa is described as “their idiot president” by an outsider and “the most bribable statesman on the planet” by one of his own citizens. For these six episodes, all under 47 minutes for faster binging, it's enough that Queen Sono fits into that familiar-but-distinctive international sweet spot Netflix is carving out. With gorgeous costuming and a colorful soundtrack, there’s little the show gets wrong. But spelling it out makes “Queen Sono” sound a lot more serious than it is. Queen Sono is Netflix’s first script-to-screen series produced in Africa, a testament to the creative chops of show creator Kagiso Lediga. 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. That framework is certainly a serious part of Lediga’s conception of the show, and it serves a similar purpose, in terms of setting a mood, as do the more anonymous conspiracies and injustices of American or French noir. 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. Sarandos is doing so as the streaming giant’s first African original series, the spy-drama “ Queen Sono,” is released worldwide February 28. 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. 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 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. 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. This review of Netflix Series Queen Sono Season 1 contains no spoilers. Pearl Thusi plays an undercover agent for a South African intelligence unit in “Queen Sono,” Netflix’s first wholly produced African series. Her mother, Safiya Sono, was a revolutionary whose efforts to free her country from apartheid made her one of the nation’s most revered heroes. The title character, played by Pearl Thusi — she was the lawyer and C.I.A. 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's loyalties are tested once she finds suspicious information about the assassination of her mother, a late political activist. So, click on my review to see which one will be the show you have to watch. Summary Netflix’s Queen Sono Season 1 is an exciting African original series about a spy desperate to learn the truth regarding her murdered mother 25 years ago. Queen Sono Season 1 Review: Netflix Renews for Season 2. Daniel Fienberg TWITTER Queen Sono is an adult orphan who finds her purpose working for a spy agency dedicated to protecting the entire African continent. 5 due in PE court for rape, murder of EC teen. FACEBOOK Director of HBO's Tiger Woods documentary reveals … Maybe Queen Sono isn't always exciting, but it's sometimes provocative in very real ways, eschewing that frequently used buzzword of "Afrofuturism" for "Afrocontemporism" that's plenty valuable on the small screen. I Am Queen Sono 45m. 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. This is a spoiler free review of Season 1 of Netflix's Queen Sono which begins streaming today, 28th February 2020. In six episodes, the series does more than diversify the spy genre, it expands the very nature of it. 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: Review. 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. Queen Sono sees Thusi play the heroine, a woman who is a field operative of the Special Operations Group (SOG). This spy thriller series follows femme fatale Queen Sono, a beautiful secret agent with a troubled past (is there any other kind?) The series deals with subjects like corrupt politicians, complex family histories, secret missions and foreigners' interests in the continent. Netflix has finally delivered us their first original program filmed completely in Africa, Queen Sono. Queen Sono, … … Review: “Queen Sono ... Queen Sono isn’t just a story to be told; it’s Lediga’s chance to show off modern-day Africa to the world. 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). 1 day, 10 hours. | EU Privacy Preferences. It's simultaneously completely recognizable and easy to classify, genre-wise, but if you actually tune in for the Alias-esque thriller, you'll be exposed to a dozen languages, several of which you probably haven't heard on your TV, and to a cultural and geopolitical backdrop that makes the familiar plot feel distinctive and somewhat new. | Do Not Sell My Personal Information Lediga and fellow director Tebogo Malope travel Africa, shooting from Johannesburg to Soweto to Lagos to Zanzibar, and there's a fresh and colorful look to the entire series that could never be equalled by taking a few days of production in Morocco or even New Mexico and slapping an "AFRICA" chyron across the screen. A spy thriller about a South African secret agent is the streaming monolith’s first fully produced original series from Africa. Queen Sono, a series inspired by modern espionage movies laced with high-tech and swift-cut fist-fights, made its global debut on Netflix on Friday. It’s an action series with a fabulous female heroine played by … 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 … (The initials S.S. aren’t remarked on, but are hard to miss.). Elite spy Queen Sono fulfills an intel mission in Zanzibar and makes a shocking discovery about Hendrikus, the man imprisoned for her mother's murder. Speak With the Devil: A Q&A with Daredevil's Charlie Cox. 1. 2 years, 11 months. by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is a registered trademark of The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. 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. Terms of Use | Queen Sono is a thought-provoking show that embodies the juxtaposition between the beautiful South African culture and a rough political and social reality. comparisons, or even my own Alias comparison, I guess. Netflix has encouraged audiences to understand that if you, for example, like CW-style teen soap operas, you aren't beholden exclusively to The CW to produce them when you might find equally entertaining genre entries from Spain or Denmark, just like you'll rapidly discover that the rhythms of the Dick Wolf-style procedural have spread across the globe. Overall, Queen Sono is a colorful, exciting romp of a spy thriller that deserves a second season. The series stars Pearl Thusi, Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele, Chi Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, Rob Van Vuuren, Kate Liquorish, Khathu Ramabulana, Enhle Maphumulo, Abigail Kubeka, Connie Chiume, Otto Nobela and James … | California Privacy Rights Though there may be a remaining audience that attaches a stigma to reading TV shows or movies, there's something wonderfully progressive to the way Netflix has blurred international and linguistic boundaries such that "Hey, that looks good!" By Marvs 27 Jun 2020 29 Jun 2020. Rave reviews for Queen Sono Mbalenhle. The network’s first South African original might not feel as speedy as the trailer promises but manages to hold strong grounds on several visual and cinematic elements. Queen Sono, the much anticipated first African Netflix original, dropped on the streaming service today. Between the speeches about colonial legacies and about historical atonement, there are plenty of throwdowns and chases and shootouts, staged with competence if not much flair. Queen Sono (Spoiler-Free) Review. Netflix’s QUEEN SONO, Africa’s first Netflix Original, has gained popularity with the viewers, not only from Africa but most other continents. 2 years, 2 months. “Queen Sono” is Netflix’s first script-to-screen commission from Africa, another small step in the streaming giant’s takeover of international television and a significant leap in the visibility of African-made stories in America and elsewhere. Queen Sono review: Season one, episode one “Elite spy Queen Sono fulfills an intel mission in Zanzibar and makes a shocking discovery about Hendrikus, the man imprisoned for her mother’s murder” Episode summary by Netflix. When I came across Queen Sono I originally thought it was a James Bond kind of film but with an African female lead? And at only six episodes, there isn't nearly enough time for the myriad less successful elements to become serious impediments. That means pretending to be an art dealer in interactions with her grandmother, Mazet (Abigail Kubeka), and platonic best friend, Will (Khathu Ramabulana), and yes, the in-the-dark chum named Will is just one of many places fans will notice narrative overlap with Alias. (Credit: Chris Duys / Netflix) Accompanying the former Quantico star on her characters slightly-destructive assignments are a few notable African actors. 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. Production stills from the set of Netflix Queen Sono with Pearl Thusi, directed by Kagiso Lediga. Even if you ignore the transgeographical flow of the series, Lediga made a concerted effort capture a linguistic collage of Northern and Southern tongues in the continent. © 2021 The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. 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. Queen Sono makes sure to grab your attention and never lets go. Queen Sono will gain attention for being Netflix’s first African original series. Queen Sono is the first African original Netflix series, and its story is compelling from minute zero. Queen Sono is thrilling and fun to watch, and while there are plenty of classic spy tropes to keep it firmly planted in the genre, it’s absolutely unique in its focus. When it’s time for a fight, there’s a fight. The pleasures of “Queen Sono” come outside of the action and the highly basic presentations of espionage and police work. All rights reserved. Queen Sono tells a spy story from a South African point of view; the country’s history and its relationship with other countries are at the core of … Cast: Pearl Thusi, Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele, Chi Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, Rob Van Vuuren, Kate Liquorish, Khathu Ramabulana, Enhle Maphumulo, Abigail Kubeka. Queen Sono is a great exploration of the African landscape, both literally and figuratively. And for the unfamiliar viewer, they’re also in the locations — not just Johannesburg but also Zimbabwe, Kenya and, in a Bond-style opening, Zanzibar. has become a more important inducement for viewership than, "Hey, that show is in a language I speak and populated by actors I recognize!" Queen is unpredictable, headstrong, street-savvy, and doesn’t like to play by the rules. Or, like The Black Panther but make it make sense? as she leads missions for her agency and looks for answers about her mother. Review: With ‘Queen Sono,’ Netflix Enters New Territory A spy thriller about a South African secret agent is the streaming monolith’s first … Season 1 Review: Queen Sono is thrilling and fun to watch, and while there are plenty of classic spy tropes to keep it firmly planted in the genre, it’s absolutely unique in its focus. Unlike most spy thrillers in which statuesque, expensively dressed women show an unexpected talent for kicking the bejeezus out of armed men, the South African series “Queen Sono” also devotes a lot of time to historical and geopolitical debate, or at least sloganeering. Her anger and guilt over her mother’s death tie into the show’s overall mood, a simmering anguish in which the ecstatic promise of South Africa’s liberation under Nelson Mandela has ebbed into stasis and corruption, with former heroes now busily pocketing bribes. 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