The DVD cover - Garland, Lilith, Yves, Maddie and Boomer.
"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. However, the show received a small boost in popularity after several cast members were reunited in Power Rangers RPM.
Maddigan's Quest contains examples of:
Adults Are Useless: Averted in most cases. The adults are good fighters and generally make sensible decisions (not to mention being the only ones able to drive the trucks). However, because of the Kid Heroes premise, they also have to be side-lined quite often so the kids can take centre-stage — but again, the show is quite good at finding reasons to justify this. (For example, in one episode the Fantasia has to cross a lake; the adults go in the first raft with the Solar Converter, trying to draw attention to themselves; only for Ozul and Maska to target the kids instead).
Alternate Universe: At the end, it is revealed that the Silver Girl is in fact Jewel, trapped between possible futures.
The Cast Show Off: 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).
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.
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 notpretty- although Staking the Loved One is narrowly averted, because Garland's nice like that.
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".
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 M Ade 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.
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.
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.
Timey-Wimey Ball: And how. The third-to-last episode has Garland meddling with the time-streams in the attempt to save her father's life, catapulting everyone into a much darker (though not entirely hopeless) future. It also means that most of the show never actually happened, at least not in the way that we saw it unfold on-screen.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Garland and Lilith. One of the villains refers to them as "singing girl and fighting girl". Though in saying that, Garland wears dresses and can be quite feminine, but is still a tomboy in comparison to the totally girly Lilith.
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.