SyFy’s Vagrant Queen Showrunner Jem Garrard Draws Inspiration from Guardians of the Galaxy, The Fifth Element, Mass Effect, Firefly and Thor to Tell the Story of Galaxy Hopping Elida, the Intergalactic Vagrant Queen

Written by: James Maple – April 13th, 2020 9:25pm pst


SYFY’s new action space odyssey Vagrant Queen is making cosmic waves across the galaxy! With showrunner Jem Garrard (@jemga) at the helm, this spaceship is easily on its way to the top. Jem joined Afterbuzz TV hosts James Maple (@terrelljamesmaple) and Kari Lane (@karidlane) to talk about the many hats, or space helmets, she wears as showrunner of SyFy’s Vagrant Queen. She also offered insight into how visual elements and flashbacks help shape the most important aspect of her role as showrunner — the story. 

Many audience members, myself included, did not quite grasp the complexity of being a showrunner. Overall, this role is reserved for one point person to oversee a project in all aspects. They are essentially the final word on a production, as the director is on a film. Jem gave our hosts an even greater understanding beyond that, she says:

“They run the show. They keep the show running. That involves everything. Most importantly your job is story. Story first. So you’re in charge of all the scripts. All the scripts going out. Editing all of those scripts. Making sure if there are any changes or any tweaks that happen along the way, that it’s all working for that larger arc.” 

Now this idea of “story first” is quite evident in Vagrant Queen’s writing. Though we are only three episodes in, our main characters have had a lot thrown at them.  With many cosmic oddities and distractions in each episode, Isaac, Elida, and Amae remain laser focused on their collective goal. 

Jem continued on the importance of “story first” by saying “You know you’re following through with every character’s journey. It’s a thousand decisions a day. From customs, to effects, to locations. But mostly you’ve got to focus on story. Every decision that’s made comes down to that.”

While Jem did note the importance of “story first,” she also thinks the visual elements of Vagrant Queen are a huge credit to its narrative. With vibrant hues of purple and beaming neons, a serious yet relaxed atmosphere is cultivated as our flight crew traverses the galaxy. Drawing inspiration from movies and video games like The Fifth Element and Mass Effect, it is easy to see why Jem stresses the importance of color choice in storytelling, she says:

“From the beginning we wanted a very fun, bright, colorful world. I think, naturally, references like Guardians (of the Galaxy), (Thor) Ragnarok, came up. Fifth Element, Firefly. A lot of those references we would throw out in the room because we wanted a colorful show. So those are certainly influences and also picked up well on that kind of fun and irreverent tone that we wanted to go for. The show is irreverent in that way but also has a lot of heart. Wanted to make sure we got that balance.”

As a show based on visual media, the 2019 Vault comic of the same name, Vagrant Queen is rooted in visual stimulation as a means of storytelling. This is also where Jem shines as showrunner. She brings the original comic book pages to life in a story driven format that is visually pleasing.

One can only imagine how difficult it is to keep a story dramatically on track,  coupled with maintaining the coherence of its visual aesthetic. To add even more complexity to the role of showrunner, Vagrant Queen also relies on flashbacks to give its audience insight into the motives of those aboard the Winnipeg. 

These flashbacks are another crucial element that helps unpack the evolving story of Vagrant Queen. In each episode, the flight crew inches closer and closer toward their goal of getting to planet Wix. As they move forward to the future, the individual pasts of our rag tag team become incredibly helpful in understanding their present day motives. We, as an audience, start to understand the personalities, intentions and even dynamics between characters in a fascinating way. 

Jem goes on to talk about the importance of flashbacks, specifically as it relates to Elida and Xevelyn’s past relationship, by saying, “I’d be so excited to talk to you guys again later on. Near the sort of second half of the series where you see some more flashbacks of Xevelyn and young Elida. I am very excited for you guys to watch those.” 

The tease for that follow up interview is real, Jem! It’s VERY real!

To watch the whole interview/after show, follow the link below.

Tune in every Sunday at 3:10pm (PST) to catch the latest after show for SyFy’s Vagrant Queen here on Afterbuzz TV.

If you’re a fan of Vagrant Queen and the Afterbuzz TV Vagrant Queen Aftershow, make sure to share this article with a friend!  Keep tuning into AfterbuzzTV News and our aftershows for the most up to date news and information.  

About The Author:

James Maple is a LA based TV Host with a passion for music, interviews and outer space. A comedian at heart, James believes laughter, communication and a good 90s jam is a remedy for anything. You can follow him @terrelljamesmaple.

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