Review: National Geographic’s ‘Queens’ Offers Up-Close Look Into Nature’s Matriarchs


Mother’s Day may be a few months away yet, but National Geographic is celebrating early with the release of their new documentary series, Queens.

Narrated by Angela Bassett (whom some may say is a queen herself), Queens follows matriarchs and female leaders of the animal kingdom. Their stories are of love and loss, friendship and strength, but most of all, they’re about resilience and leadership. They’re about the depths to which these mothers, sisters, and grandmothers will go to protect their families.

Four years in the making, Queens utilizes cutting-edge technology to capture not only the beauty of our world but takes viewers up close and personal with the animals in their natural habitats.

In the first episode, “African Queens,” filmmakers follow a sisterhood of lions as they clash with a clan of hyenas, themselves also ruled by a queen.

In another episode, a young bonobo leaves behind her family to find her place in the world, where she must make new friends and impress the alpha female before she can truly fit in.

Further episodes explore the birth of a baby elephant and a first-time bear mother raising her cubs alone.

The seven-episode series ends with a celebration of the women-led creative team behind the show, in which the stories of the filmmakers, scientists, conservationists, and activists who played crucial roles in every step of the show are highlighted. The series also pledges to work with the local crews in the regions in which they shot to nurture and develop their filmmaking skills.

The show takes great care to show the details of the wonder of our world, using low-light cameras to show all aspects at all times of day, including capturing a lion fight in the middle of the night. Even down to the beat of a bee’s wing, every minute aspect is treated with care and is made possible not only from innovative camera work but also from advanced drone footage.

Another element that sets Queens apart is the use of commercial music, a rarity for nature programming, which makes the series all the more accessible. (Watch a trailer featuring Billie Eilish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown” below.)

The show is clear in its message: highlight the science and showcase these strong females nature often overlooks. The team set out to make a show that’s not your typical nature documentary and has more than succeeded in telling these stories that must be seen to be believed. Their voices are a breath of fresh air to the genre and offer a compelling parallel to the matriarchs featured throughout the show through their bravery, tenacity, and fearlessness.

Queens proves once and for all who runs the world? Girls.

Queens premieres on National Geographic on March 4 and will be available on Hulu and Disney+ the next day.

Haylee Fisher
Haylee Fisher
Haylee has loved writing since she was 8 years old, when she would sit in front of the TV handwriting (see: doodling) recaps of shows such as The Munsters, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie. She started writing for Nerds and Beyond in September 2023. She previously wrote for Nerd HQ for over five years where she had the honor of interviewing celebrities including author Andy Weir, actor Zachary Levi, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and many others. When not writing, you can find her reading or binge-watching her favorite shows. Current fandoms include Roswell, New Mexico, and Our Flag Means Death. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @haylee_fisher

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