Astrid & Lilly - the self-consciousness slayers. TEEN TV is a haven for outsiders. For every glossy mean-girl soap there is a cult classic in the Veronica Mars vein. It makes sense : 

Has anyone survived high school without ever feeling like they didn't belong? Which might explain why, when it comes to portraying female freaks and geeks, Hollywood always gets away with casting actors who meets its beauty standards.

By virtue of its charming leads, Syf's supernatural dramedy Astrid & Lilly Save the World breaks that mold.

Samantha Aucoin and Jana Morrison play the eponymous besties - witty teens thrown together by the cruel calculus that so often relegates big girls to the social sidelines.

Timid and self-conscious, Aucoin's Lilly takes refuge in a bed-room plastered with pictures her pop-culture faves. Astrid [ Morrison ] is the bold one, with a hypercritical mom and white-hot crush on  gothy Sparrow [Spencer Macpherson].

The girls prowl their suburban hellscape by car nightly to keep tabs on their peers. When they end up at a house party and jerky jock Tate [Kolton Stewart ] christens them the ''Pudge Patrol,'' they react like any teen weirdo worth her Doc Martens - by virtually burning items associated with him while howling at the moon.

They're just venting, but then Tate doesn't show up to school and a hunky stranger, Brutus [ Olivier Renaud ] materializes to inform them that their spell, such as it was, opened a portal to another dimension. If they don't close it, ''humanity sort of disappears.''

That quest entails vanquishing a series of monsters, with campy special effects and story lines that draw parallels before fighting demons and battling to love yourself in a world that hates you.

If that sounds a lot like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, rest assured that creators Noelle Stehman and Betsy Van Stone are paying self-aware homage. Offbeat running gags and sharp, foul-mouthed dialogue keep the show fresh.

But what makes Astrid & Lilly unique is its lovingly written, endearingly portrayed outsider heroines. [J.B.]


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