It seems like Marvel’s Runaways has been in the works for quite a while now—heck, it’s been it was initially put in development back in 2008 when Marvel asked Brian K. Vaughan to write the initial screenplay based on his comic. So, years (and plenty of rumors) later, Runaways has finally hit our screens this week, coming to Hulu.
Runaways' biggest strength is definitely its ability to introduce us to a large cast fairly quickly. Within the first two episodes, not only are we introduced to six fairly well-rounded teenagers and their relationships with one another, we’re also introduced to their parents. While there were definitely moments where characters drifted into stereotype territory, it always felt like there was the promise of more to come, and that’s definitely going to keep me coming back for when the plot starts to really kick in.
While the first two episodes of Runaways weren’t slow, the actual plot doesn’t advance beyond the teens discovering that their parents are up to something. This is because the second episode takes place in the exact same time frame as the first, but from the parents’ point of view. Again, it’s definitely a testament to how interesting the characters are. They keep you coming back.
It also helps that the teen drama aspect of the show is kept relatively believable. While there’s plenty of angst, it’s all relatable and not at all grating. Runaways tackles loss and mourning, rebellion, and even aspects of puberty in a way that isn’t preachy or overly melodramatic.
I’d list stand out performances, but that would be quite the long list. All the Runaways themselves are really fun to watch—after the death of their friend Amy before the beginning of the show, they all take on different lifestyles to cope, whether it’s the loner, the jock, the goth, and so on. Of course, these facades don’t hold up perfectly, and we get a good look at what’s going on underneath—grief, the need to rebel, to reconnect to the world, and to be your own person.
The parents are also really entertaining to watch, but special mention would have to go to nerd favorite James Marsters as the abusive and extremely sinister father of jock Chase, and Ryan Sands—father of Alex—who is starting to question his role in the actions of the Pride, the villainous group the parents are a part of that’s masking as a charitable organization.
All in all, Runaways is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. The first two episodes are a strong start, not only for a Marvel property but for an ensemble TV show in general. You can catch the series on Hulu in the United States, and on Showcase in Canada.