Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Magonolia is a story centred around the life of a 16-year-old girl, Rachel Quintino, who discovers there’s more to her than she thought. Ever since her mom died her life has been a bit dysfunctional, especially with a drunk for a father. Dealing with this, she learns that she possesses the power of telekinesis, which makes the world more interesting from her point of view. The show stars Aaliyah Ragoonath-Maharaj, Arianna Thomas, Emmanuel Alexis, Khaliyah Jaggernath and Charli Griffith.
Review: Growing up in the Trinidad (and the Caribbean as a whole) most of us were exposed to superheroes. We imagined ourselves as Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and a slew of others, imagining what it would be like to have powers of our own. What writer/director Ancil Shaf Harris and his team does with Magonolia is not only tap into that imagination, but by setting these heroes squarely in the Caribbean, they’ve given the next generation of youngsters someone they can easily identify with and admire.
While watching the first episode of this series, my mind kept drifting back to the TV series Smallville, as actress and lead Aaliyah Ragoonath-Maharaj’s portrayal of Rachel, a young woman who discovers she not only has telekinesis-based superpowers, but an alien origin as well, reminded me of actor Tom Welling, when he was finding his footing portraying Clark Kent, a young man who grows up to be the iconic superhero, Superman. She has a quiet intelligence behind her eyes and a sense of humour that shines through in her expressions. And with time and experience, I can see her seamlessly embodying her persona, Magonolia, in the same way Welling made Clark Kent his own.
There’s a lot happening in this first episode as the origin of her powers, her superhero costume, the reveal of her powers to her best friend and a hacker named Riko, all take place right away. I would’ve like to see a bit more build up to this, so we could get a better sense of who these characters are outside of their connection to Magonolia, but I’m sure more of their background will be revealed along the way. The special effects were very well done with the alien planet Capernum and Magonolia’s powers both being visually appealing. As someone who grew up wishing they could also be telekinetic (who wouldn’t want to be right?) I loved the idea of this power being represented as a form of energy that you could see and manipulate. Smart choices all around here. The score was also solid, with the music fitting well, not just in the Caribbean setting, but in the world of a teenager.
Magonolia is the kind of television show I wish I had access to growing up. There were no actors that looked like me on the big or small screen, so while it may have been possible to immerse yourself in your favourite world, it wasn’t always easy to see yourself as that person. Kudos to Ville Ventures Universe for giving youngsters a hero that they can not only root for, but also aspire to be like. I can’t wait to watch the rest of their universe unfold.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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