Alba Baptista is Ava the Warrior Nun.

Warrior Nun, Season 1

Dept. of Vestal Venatrices


Warrior Nun opens with a bang. A group of nuns, who look more like ninjas than novices, rush their wounded leader, Shannon, into a church. Her injuries appear fatal. We hear gunshots in the distance getting closer. The nuns call upon the clergy for help, and after a tense back and forth about “protocols,” they instruct their fellow sister to do what needs to be done. The sister then takes something that looks like an ornate medieval torture device, sticks it into the wounded nun’s back, and removes a blistering metal halo, draining the last remnants of life from Shannon’s broken body.

Suddenly, a group of gunmen crash through the roof of the building. They’re after the halo. The sister who removed the religious relic rushes to the church morgue, sees the body of a dead young woman, asks for God’s forgiveness, and proceeds to insert it into the corpse’s back.

The dead woman begins to convulse. She opens her eyes and screams. Dazed and confused she staggers to life and tries to make her escape. But not before using the aforementioned medieval torture device to reduce one of the gunmen to a glowing pile of dust and ash.

The opening credits roll.

Alba Baptista is the Warrior Nun.

There is so much fantastic world building that takes place within those first 10 minutes that I was giddy for more. In my head, I was expecting something along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Supernatural meets John Wick, but you know, with kickass warrior nuns instead.

Alas, as soon as the opening credits to that first episode fade, there is such a stark tonal shift to the show that it feels like the writers had no idea what they wanted this to be. All of that potential was very quickly squandered away. And in it’s place was some drearily familiar YA fare. At least until the last episode. But I’ll come back to that.


First, a brief explainer on what this is. The show is based on a series of comic books that were created by Ben Dunn back in the mid-1990s. Warrior Nun Areala centred around Sister Shannon Masters and her military order of fighting nuns and magic priests who worked in service of the Vatican and God. Its genre can best be described as nunsploitation. But despite the overflowing cleavage and perpetually erect nipples of the warrior nuns, this was a series that took itself and it subject matter very seriously. It treated religion with respect and genuinely considered the Catholic Church to be a force for good. Its characters were men and women of unshakeable faith. And its stories unapologetically addressed many of the controversies that dogged the religion.

Meet the Warrior Nun squad!

This adaptation introduces us to an all new protagonist. Ava (played by the utterly captivating and infinitely watchable Alba Baptista), once quadriplegic, once dead, has been given a “second chance.” The unwilling recipient of that halo in her back, she isn’t just born again, she is also able to walk for the first time in 12 years. She may not be worthy (we are constantly being reminded that God works in mysterious ways), but she is nevertheless being called upon to save humanity from the ultimate evil.

If that sounds typical and tropey, it’s because it is. In fact, there is nothing about Warrior Nun that feels dangerous. Or new. Or remotely risqué. Which is unfortunate, because it is a concept so rife with potential that it should command your attention.

While this Netflix adaptation is wise to do away with some of the more problematic elements of the comic book – you probably couldn’t get away with a nun fighting demons while wearing an ultra low cut habit and a loin cloth – they may have gone too far in sanitising the source material for a mass audience.

Alba Baptista and Tristán Ulloa star in Netflix's Warrior Nun.

Seesawing between wanting to be a fantasy adventure and a YA romance, but not quite nailing either, Warrior Nun will likely end up annoying fans with its infidelity to the source material and flummox newcomers with its lack of direction.

Almost all of this is a failure of writing. The show falls back on so many genre tropes and crutches that it would make for a great game of “Chosen One Bingo.” So much so that I spent most of my time trying to reedit Warrior Nun it in my head.


“This narrative voiceover is completely unnecessary. Alba Baptista already shows us what she’s thinking with her eyes. Why spell it out again? And again. The vast majority of the first episode feels like a To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before style YA romance. Is that what this is? That training montage needed to come one episode sooner. We’re five episodes into a 10 episode season and she still hasn’t accepted her destiny? Weaksauce! Is this more unnecessary ‘Netflix Bloat?’ Why doesn’t anyone have a problem with teenage nuns running around with glowing blue swords in broad daylight? Their digressions into religious philosophy really feel forced. And safe. God, this voiceover isn’t just annoying, it’s completely distracting.”

You get the idea.

A Dungeons & Dragons inspired demon from Netflix's Warrior Nun.

It is only in the last episode when things finally start moving, when threads start coming together, and these characters begin to settle into themselves. But all I’m thinking by that point is that it shouldn’t take this long and that it shouldn’t be this much of a slog. It’s called Warrior Nun for Chrissakes. It should be a lot more fun.

Instead, Warrior Nun doesn’t really hit any mark. It isn’t kitschy enough. It isn’t vulgar enough. It isn’t violent enough. It is a series that’s trying so hard to appeal to the widest possible audience, that it ends up not appealing at all.

Warrior Nun
Netflix, Season 1, 10 episodes
Showrunner: Simon Barry
Directors: Jet Wilkinson, Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Sarah Walker, Mathias Herndl, and Simon Barry
Writers: Terri Hughes Burton, Amy Berg, David Hayter, Sheila Wilson, Suzanne Keilly, Matt Bosack, and Simon Barry
Cast: Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Thekla Reuten, Lorena Andrea, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Tristan Ulloa, Olivia Delcán, Joaquim de Almeida, and Peter de Jersey.

Warrior Nun is now streaming on Netflix.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

Previous Story

Doom Patrol Diary: Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2

Episode 29
Next Story

The Goggler Podcast #29: Young, Scrappy, and Hungry

Latest from TV Reviews

Elite, Season 4

Can the students of Las Encinas maintain the high grades of previous