Two unlikely heroines rise to the occasion in the new Syfy series “Astrid & Lilly Save the World.”
Premiering Jan. 26 (10 p.m on Syfy and simulcast on USA), the series follows high school best buds Astrid (Jana Morrison “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) and Lilly (Samantha Aucoin), quirky outcasts often bullied by their classmates for being plus-sized. When they accidentally open a portal to a monster dimension, they have to rise up to save the world while also navigating crushes, homework, irritating siblings, and other mundane horrors of high school.
“When I got the audition, I was really excited about it because one of the things it was saying was the girls are supposed to be a little bit bigger – plus-sized people,” Morrison, told The Post.
“You never see that, really, in any casting call. You don’t really see leading female roles with rolls. And the fact that they were also going to save the world – I was excited to see bigger girls saving the world. That was really cool to me.”
Astrid (Jana Morrison), right, and Lilly (Samantha Aucoin), left, are unlikely monster-hunting BFFS.Alex Stead/Blue Ice Pictures/SYFY
“The show is really about friendship and trust and growing,” said Aucoin, a singer/songwriter and a newcomer to acting (this is her debut onscreen role). “It was an extreme learning curve. I had never been on a set before and didn’t even know what a mark was.”
She found her character, Lilly, to be extremely relatable, she said.
“Just knowing that she was dealing with similar sorts of insecurities that I dealt with growing up was really appealing to me. The character is so vulnerable and I got to kind of live in that mentality for a little while. I went through a lot of those physical and internal insecurities in high school. And it was really comforting, getting to be that girl again. I learned a lot from the character as I was playing her. I learned how to be more confident.”
Lilly (Samantha Aucoin, left) and Astrid (Jana Morrison, right) are plus sized monster hunting BFFS in “Astrid and Lilly Save the World.” Alex Stead/Blue Ice Pictures/SYFY
For Morrison, she also found Astrid to be relatable – particularly because she believes in herself. But she also looked to a few other famous TV heroines.
“Astrid did take a lot of inspiration from Olivia Benson from ‘Law & Order: SVU,’” she said. “Because she wants to be a super badass, and she also really likes to solve crimes and figure out what people are doing and what kind of puzzle is going on. I also drew a lot from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ because she was going through teen stuff but also dealing with monsters.”
Lilly (Samantha Aucoin, left) and Astrid (Jana Morrison, right) are unlikely saviors on “Astrid and Lilly Save the World.” Alex Stead/Blue Ice Pictures/SYFY
However, heroines on other shows had one key difference from Astrid and Lilly, Morrison said.
“I really loved watching shows like ‘Totally Spies’ and ‘Buffy,’ and I loved how badass they were — but nobody was ever my size. Or, I’m Filipino, and I never really saw that kind of representation. So I enjoyed the fact that I could be my whole self and not feel any shame. I’m just really proud to be playing the hero of a show. I’ve never seen that represented in media.”