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"When the Great Chaos changed the face of the world, out of the ashes came Solis- the shining city, our home. Every year we leave Solis to earn some bread, to spread some joy, to entertain. But this year, things are different and dangerous. We have a job to do, a mission for Solis. One that will take us far from home."
Maddigan's Quest was a fantasy-based television series set in a post-apocalyptic future, based on an original concept by Margaret Mahy and developed for television by Gavin Strawhan and Rachel Lang. The show was aired in the UK, New Zealand, the USA and Australia in early 2006, and in Russia in 2008.
Early in the 22nd century, the world underwent a vast and rapid change. The tectonic plates began to shift and rapidly changed the face of the planet, becoming known as the 'Great Chaos'. As a result of these events, the population of Earth plummeted and the governments of the world collapsed. What is left is largely a Scavenger World, where slavery is not uncommon and bandits roam the roads. Only a few cities are left, and of those, fewer still have managed to maintain any kind of order.
Maddigan’s Quest follows the circus troupe ‘Maddigan’s Fantasia’, who come from the city of Solis. Each year, the Fantasia leave Solis to perform and earn a living, but this year is different: they have been set the task of obtaining a new Solar Converter– the only power source in Solis– to replace the existing one, which is failing. At the centre of this quest is 14-year-old Garland, the final member of the Maddigan family line.
During the Fantasia's journey, two boys and their baby sister appear from the future. They reveal that they were sent to help the Fantasia in their task; in the original timeline, the troupe was wiped out by scavenger attacks and at the Winter Solstice, the solar converter failed and a dictator known as the Nennog took control of the city, over time reducing it to a radioactive hellhole. But while the younger brother, Eden, seems to be a blessing to the performers with his ability to do magic, something's wrong with his older brother Timon- a dark secret which threatens the Fantasia, their mission, and the future of Solis itself.
Sadly the show's fandom was never large, and while there are some isolated fanfics out there, it is now largely unknown.
Maddigan's Quest contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless / Kid Heroes: Generally, all the adult characters do is drive the trucks, take care of baby Jewel and turn up on occasion to provide a last-minute save- even the adult bad guys are generally easily defeated.
- Alternate Universe: At the end, it is revealed that the Silver Girl is in fact Jewel, trapped between possible futures.
- Always Second Best: Poor Boomer...
- Arranged Marriage: Garland agrees to marry the child of the Sultan in the episode "Off The Map" to keep the solar converter away from pirates. Thankfully, it gets subverted in the end.
- Bad Future / Crapsack World: The future Solis.
- Big Bad: The Nennog
- Bio Augmentation: What the Nennog does to himself and Timon.
- Bittersweet Ending: especially given the Unresolved Sexual Tension.
- Butt Monkey: Lilith. Taken to Scrappy levels.
- The Cast Showoff: Olivia Tennet as Lilith, who uses her vocal and dance talents to comedic effect. Considering how annoying Lilith can be when she sings, this could be an example of Stylistic Suck taken to exaggerated levels. (She actually sings pretty well when she's not trying to be annoying.)
- Also Zac Fox, who is a member of the UK Young Magician's Club (though no-one knew that at his audition, and it's rather less obvious than with Olivia).
- Chekhov's Skill:
- Boomer. Both his drum-beating abilities and, after Bird Boys, his ability to fly. See Greentown and every episode following "Bird Boys". His acquired wings count as Chekhov's Gun as well.
- Garland. She practices tightrope walking in the first episode and ends up using the wires at the top of Solis Tower to escape from Ozul and Maska.
- Child Mage: Eden
- Circus Brat: Garland, Boomer and Lilith
- Climbing Climax: The series ends with a confrontation at the top of Solis tower, leading to Disney Villain Deaths for Ozul and Maska.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Timon, Eden and Jewel (although, being a baby, the latter isn't terribly affected by it).
- Conveniently an Orphan
- It's Personal: If you're a dictatorial overlord, whatever you do, don't let Timon and Eden anywhere near your child slaves, else they might just end up toppling your regime...
- Promotion to Parent: Played straight with Timon in episode one, then averted when Goneril steps in to look after Jewel and Eden.
- Troubled Backstory Flashback: Timon's nightmare.
- Darker and Edgier: In comparison to other kids' shows, which don't usually feature mind-altering drugs, child labour, sexual slavery (including a trade in children), various attempts at infanticide, and cannibalism.
- Of course, it's explained that the potency of said mind-altering substances is proportional to the level of imagination one has.
- Dawson Casting: Jordan Metcalfe and Rose McIver were 18 when they played Timon, aged 15, and Garland, 14, respectively.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Played with. Garland idolises Ferdie, sometimes to Maddie's detriment. Eden strongly believes in what his parents fought for, but Timon considers their actions idiotic, and a kind of abandonment.
- Don't Split Us Up: Timon and Eden risk death by plague to stay with Jewel.
- The Dragon: Ozul
- Evil Uncle: The Nennog to Timon, Eden and Jewel.
- Face Monster Turn: Timon; it's later revealed that the Nennog injected him with his DNA before Timon and the others went to the past. The change begins some time in between Tunnellers and Off The Map, where the Nennog activates it fully, making Timon a Mole and giving him superhuman abilities. It's not pretty- although Staking the Loved One is narrowly averted, because Garland's nice like that.
- Five-Man Band: The Fantasia children start out as a Power Trio and end up becoming this when the two Sixth Rangers join the troupe.
- Genius Bruiser: Bannister. Crosses with Badass Bookworm.
- Genre Savvy: Various characters get their moments.
- The Nennog. "It's said the power of the talisman, once matured, will end my reign. Of course the science of prophecy is not well tested, but who wants to take a risk?"
- Also Eden.
"I just don't like the idea of being underground in an enclosed space, surrounded by dead people... radioactive dead people."
- Maska and Ozul are okay with the Nennog destroying the solar converter . . . as long as they're not within the blast radius. (See "Bird Boys".)
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Timon to Garland, then to the Fantasia at large, after only just stopping himself from murdering Jewel. The answer's no, though Boomer seems to approve of the idea...
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The climax of the finale between Garland and Timon, who has now fully changed into his Nennog-like form.
- Idiot Ball: Yves, on occasion.
- Kids From The Future: Whether or not the siblings will survive the changes to the future is something that frequently comes up, particularly in the latter half of the series.
- Leitmotif: Several.
- The opening theme often reappears during an important moment in the show.
- Lilith's "Rainbow" song.
- The Tunnelers also have their own theme song.
- After Boomer gets his wings from the Bird Boys, he gets his own leitmotif.
- The MacGuffin: Eden's talisman. After various people spend most of the series chasing it, it's revealed to be Jewel, not the necklace.
- Meaningful Echo: The city of Newton's slogan is "Knowledge is strength." Timon reveals that Bolek becomes the Nennog's chief geneticist, thus partly responsible for his rise to power. When Timon reluctantly rescues him from the toxic waste dump which was his fort, he tells him to remember that "knowledge isn't always strength".
- Middle Child Syndrome: Inverted- it's Timon who's jealous of Eden.
- Musicalis Interruptus: In the episode "Gramth", Lilith tries singing her "Rainbow" song, but gets interrupted each time. It becomes a kind of Running Gag throughout the episode as she never gets to finish her song.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: When Maddie's authority is challenged, she backs it up on the basis that she's Ferdie's wife and Garland's mother. Garland herself repeatedly insists that she should also have authority based on the fact that she's Ferdie's daughter and 'the last true Maddigan' (Maddie is not impressed).
- Nice Job Bunging It, Hero: Garland goes back in time with Timon and Eden to try to correct the timelines so that Ferdy survives the attack on the caravan by the Road Rats. The outcome has Ferdy sacrificing himself to keep the Road Rats away from the caravan, thus dying anyway. She still does not suspect that Timon is under the Nennog's control and burns the map, thus causing significant delays in the Fantasia's journey- they go from reaching Laketown six weeks away from Solstice to five days. Nice job making it worse for the Fantasia, Garland.
- The Nicknamer: Maska (though he's not exactly creative with it, referring to Boomer, Lilith and Garland as Annoying Boy, Singing Girl and Fighting Girl respectively). Boomer calls him Metal Man.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Part of the 'Fantasia Way', invoked by a horrified Garland when Yves and Maddie suggest abandoning the sick in Plague, and again on Timon's behalf in Laketown, although he eventually convinces the others to leave him behind.
- Oh Crap / Oh, No, Not Again: The Fantasia's reaction to whenever Lilith offers to sing. (See "Tunnellers".)
- Parent with New Paramour: Garland does not like Yves getting closer to her mother. Timon exploits this like woah.
- Posthumous Character: Ferdie
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Timon's copy of the diary doesn't change when events begin to alter, and it's heavily implied that he and his siblings remember both timelines when they return to their own time at the end.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: After being found loitering outside of a candy shop by Gramth child catchers, Lilith, being the Daddy's Girl that she is, tries to get out of capture for not having an "exemption card" by invoking the fact that her father Yves is one of the troupe's leaders. The results are quite predictable.
- Secret Diary: Garland's original diary was found by rebels from the future Solis, who gave it to Timon as a way of knowing how to prevent the Nennog's takeover.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The reason why Eden and Timon came back.
- Static Character: Lilith. Even after Garland causes a change in the timelines again.
Lilith: I want real food. And lollies.
Timon: Lilith's still Lilith.
- Sweet Tooth: Lilith, again. Her love for sweets even gets her into trouble (see STRIHC above).
- Supernatural Aid: The Silver Girl, to Garland. Unfortunately, her invisibility to everyone else makes her something of a Cassandra.
- Terminally Dependent Society: Played with Solis, as the city is dependent on solar energy--more specifically, the solar converter.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Newton
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Timon and Garland. When there was still talk of a second series, one of the fans' primary concerns was whether or not they would actually get together this time round.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Goneril and Tane.
- Unwitting Pawn: Timon (see Face Monster Turn above), although just how unwitting he is is up for debate...
- Viewers Are Goldfish: After Newton, the flashback section at the start included the fact that the Fantasia had managed to get the solar converter for several episodes. Apparently the fact that various people were fighting over it wasn't enough to let us remember it on our own.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Played with. Lilith, after getting hit with a tomato, gets upset at Garland for laughing at her. Later on, Garland saves Bolek after Timon tries to kill him, reminding Timon that he's risking Eden and Jewel's lives as well as his own.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Eden is claustrophobic and causes him great discomfort in Tunnellers where he is completely underground for most of the episode. His claustrophobia also turns up in Gramth and Witch Finder.