This one was built up for quite a while with first word of Queen Sono, Netflix’s first African original production, officially coming in June last year. We then got another line that it would officially hit our small screens this month on the 28th. Starring the gorgeous Pearl Thusi, the action-packed 6 part series follows Queen Sono (Thusi), the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life.
Netflix granted us the opportunity to see it earlier which allowed us to properly get a taste of what it’s all about and to potentially see what a production like this (a first of its kind) for Netflix would look like not only from a story line point of view but also aesthetically. We’ve said many times that this is a big win for local film production and even more so for original African content as a whole.
Queen Sono is Kagiso Lediga’s baby in every sense, the man literally created, wrote and directed the entire thing. Having that local original content live on a massive global platform like Netflix is a massive coup for all involved. This again illustrates the powerhouse subscription service’s dedication towards supporting original content.
Generally, we’ve always had a bit of an issue with local content, specifically movies and miniseries, which is probably a bit unfair as we are basically using international content as the standard and putting local content in a direct comparison to that (the superior content) which we are all largely and mostly exposed to. But if a higher standard (in this case international content) is the aspiration then shouldn’t comparisons be made? As much as we tried not to, we couldn’t stop ourselves from looking at this through that glass especially since Netflix are behind it. That’s not to say though that we were expecting perfection, far from it, we were at the very least expecting to see a great production with great original content.
It really pains us to say this but what we got with Queen Sono is, well, disappointing. What starts off on a promising note turns into a series that feels diluted complete with a thin story line, gimmicks and not so great accents from some of the characters. Its underwhelming nature is something we weren’t expecting especially considering the great imagery, the trailers and other material that was produced in the lead up to it. At the very least what is a plus is how beautifully shot it is with the locations chosen further adding to that.
Differing opinions will come to light and it will equally be interesting to see how others receive it. And despite our views, we do hope it does well and perhaps gets a couple more seasons especially since that success could potentially play a big role in more African content produced under the Netflix banner. Being the first of its kind bearing the Netflix flag was always going to be very ambitious and difficult, at the very least it deserves full points for effort and most of all, for having a completed package. Queen Sono will be available to stream publicly this month on the 28th.
We’ve always advocated for you to make up your own mind instead of just taking our word for it, this applies here perfectly and is perhaps according to personal taste.
As always, a huge thank you to the Netflix team for affording us the opportunity to be one of the few to see this one first.