The Other Kingdom Is the Best Fairy Princess Sitcom You've Never Seen!

The Other Kingdom was a 2016 Nickelodeon sitcom that I learned about far too late . The final seconds of the show introduce a massive plot twist that promise a more compelling and story-rich second season that was sadly never mad. It's rare for such a strong fantasy world to exist in a sitcom and even rarer for a story about a faery princess to live on Nickelodeon instead of Disney Channel. The series gives off strong Sabrina the Teenage Witch vibes, except that instead of an ordinary girl learning that she's magical, it's about a magical girl pretending to be ordinary. It builds upon faerie lore that is heavily inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream  right down to the main character being the daughter of King Oberon and Queen Titania. There are many other easter eggs to the play peppered throughout the show as well for observant viewers.

The Other Kingdom starts out similarly to "The Little Mermaid." Princess Astral is a faery princess of Athenia who likes to turn into a ball of light and spy on the humans in the "Other Kingdom," where she develops a crush on a high school boy named Tristan. Her feelings inspire her to convince her reluctant parents to administer her right to an "Other Walk," a fae tradition in which she can live as one of the humans for 90 days and then must choose which realm she wants to belong to. She is not entirely without her powers as a human. Astral is able to blow fairy dust at people to make them fall in love with each other and lights up and levitates whenever she gets excited, something that her friends must help her hide from the public. During her time as a high school student, she manages to get close to Tristan despite the efforts of Hailey, the classic teen sitcom rival. Astal stays with a human boy named Devon under the guise of a foreign exchange student hosted by his father and becomes fast friends with Devon's bestie, Morgan, an adorakably relatable girl who is obsessed with fairies.

The Other Kingdom has some fantastic worldbuilding for a sitcom. Unlike the Australian fantasy series, The Bureau of Magical Things, which also has fairies and elves but never introduces us to their world, the kingdom of Athenia is a recurring setting. We regularly see Astral's parents in their regal fae costumes, their elven advisor, Versitude, and Astral's annoying cousin, Brendoni, in both troll and human forms. Since Astral spends most of the series on Earth, the scenes in Athenia follow the antics of Winston, the exchange student that was supposed to stay with Devon but ended up in Athenia instead, and PeaseBlossom, the fairy he befriends there. I'm pretty sure Winston comes off as an offensive British stereotype, but I would probably have to ask an actual Brit to confirm that. Much of the show's humor takes place in Athenia despite the more serious genocidal conflict that occurs in the later half of the season. It can't be sunshine and rainbows all the time.

Due to the faery princess themes, The Other Kingdom has a softer and gentler humor than most Nickelodeon sitcoms. Astral is the type of girl anyone would love to be friends with in real life. She is a classic fish out of water who gets excited over every little aspect of the human world and rocks the butterfly clip trend from the '90s that I was all about as a little girl. They still have the gross annoying sidekick, but the show justifies this by making Brendoni a literal troll. I think if The Other Kingdom had aired on Disney Channel instead of Nickelodeon, it would have found its princess audience and gotten picked up for a well-deserved second season. I'm shocked that Disney Channel has never done anything like this in sitcom form, though it bears some similarity to the animated Disney Channel series, Star vs. The Forces of Evil. Both shows feature a magical princess from another world living with a nerdy guy and awkwardly pretending to fit in at a normal high school. Since Star lasted for four seasons and was given a proper ending, it isn't a stretch to say that The Other Kingdom got picked up by the wrong network.

As it stands, The Other Kingdom is a frustrating failure that ended before its time. The final seconds of the show prove that the creators intended it to be so much more than just another high school sitcom. Because it aired on the wrong network and never found its audience, we will never learn what was supposed to happen next. I'd love to recommend this delightful series to princess fans and lovers of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but the ending left me so frustrated that I don't know if it would be worth watching as it is now. The series is currently streaming on Paramount Plus, so watch at your own risk. Were you one of the few people who knew about The Other Kingdom when it was airing? Let me know in the comments!


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