Magical Girl Friendship Squad, the series anchoring Syfy’s new late-night animation block, TZGZ, is part manga, part Adult Swim, and part Broad City — and if that sounds odd, get a load of the premise: two best friends and roommates, Alex (Quinta Brunson) and Daisy (Anna Akana), are chosen by the creator of the universe, a red Panda named Nut (Ana Gasteyer), to protect her because she mistakes them for warriors when she overhears them describing the plot of John Wick. Nut relays this information to the dynamic duo in the Brooklyn apartment they’re about to be evicted from by opening up a portal into her butt. Nut Isis, actually, is her full name name, but Alex and Daisy quickly convince her to drop that second part.
Created by Kelsey Stephanides, Magical Girl Friendship Squad is parsed out into half a dozen 10-15-minute episodes. In each one, Alex and Daisy dance around a bunch of millennial stereotypes — spending more on CBD lattes than food, choosing avocado toast over rent, turning their passions into multiple side hustles to stay afloat, and hanging around a coffee shop with a bunch other twenty-somethings propping up the gig economy with their blood and tears — while navigating their new weird relationship with Nut and then ultimately transforming to do some anime-style fighting with the super funky baddies.
The best moments of the series come when Alex and Daisy banter with each other. They know each other’s secrets and vices, and each other’s tender squishy lovely parts. They drive each other a little bit bonkers, but they love each other more than anyone else. Alex is into this guy she’s never even talked to at the coffee shop. He’s studying tax law, but she imagines he’s training to become an artisanal beekeeper. Daisy is queer and she’s slept with every barista at the coffee shop and doesn’t even remember their names. A real Shane if Shane was also a Keanu Reeves action movie stan.
And, listen, I know that sounds weird as heck, but, really, this whole show is super familiar, except for one thing: You’ve never seen a Black Sailor Moon! In fact, Brunson, who you probably know best from her brilliant turn on A Black Lady Sketch Show, told Complex that she didn’t even see the scripts before she signed on to do the project: “Really getting the opportunity to play a Black girl that was going into this super hero role. That was pretty much it.”
Brunson is one of the funniest actors working right now, and it delighted me to no end to see her pop up like this in the middle of a TV drought during this pandemic.
Despite its name, the series is kind of light on magical girl lore, but it definitely delivers on the friendship squad part. And it provides some acerbic and knowing giggles during a time when laughter isn’t that easy to come by.
You can watch the first full episode below. New episodes drop on Syfy on Saturday nights at midnight!