The supposed golden age of TV has brought us an annoyance of riches, which means you’re just as likely to skip a gem as you are to see 5,000 versions of the same reticent premise. Runaways, which debuted its first 3 episodes on Hulu last week, is one of those dark gems you’ll wish to find. Based on a beloved comic by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga and Y: The Last Man), it’s the story of 6 teens who learn their relatives are partial of a secret supervillain classification called Pride. The series takes this grounds in fascinating new directions and delivers a surprisingly nuanced scrutiny of youth rebellion as a onslaught against adult corruption.
Light spoilers ahead.
In terms of new comic book TV fare, Runaways belongs in the same stay as Legion, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Like these other series, Runaways is character-driven and has already grown a immorality impression that ignores the “good man vs. bad guy” tropes of some-more required (albeit delightful) superhero series like Supergirl and The Flash. Created by Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, The O.C.) and Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl, Chuck), Runaways seems to exist somewhere between the heightened reality of a smart high school play and the tech-meets-magic universe of Tony Stark. The first partial takes its time introducing the characters, making certain we know who they are as people before we figure out what creates them extraordinary.
Memorable, multi-layered characters
Case in point: We meet Molly (Allegra Acosta) when she’s trying awkwardly to do a dance audition while having her first period—and while having the misfortune cramps of her life. What follows is a series of deft, funny/sad scenes in which we comprehend that partial of Molly’s pain comes from blank her mom who died in a automobile collision prolonged ago. But Molly’s also trying to cope with her adoptive hippie mom, who gives her spices for cramps instead of sweet, honeyed ibuprofen. We breeze up with a petrify clarity of who Molly is and because she’s traffic with some-more than just teen angst. Which is right about the time when she gets another cramp, her eyes heat yellow, and she bends a steel bed support with her unclothed hands.
Over the first 3 episodes, we meet any impression in identical ways: person first, superbeing second. Alex (Rhenzy Feliz) is the geeky child who is still recuperating from the death of his crony two years ago (but who is also a healthy leader). Niko (Lyrica Okano) is a grouchy goth Wiccan who, like Alex, is anguish the death of her sister (but she’s also got tangible abnormal powers). Karolina (Virginia Gardner) is the demure “millennial face” of her mother’s cult, the Church of Gibborim (but infrequently her arms dematerialize into rainbow sparkles). Chase (Gregg Sulkin) is the abused jock son of a shining insane scientist (but he’s secretly a means operative himself). And Gert (Ariela Barer) is the purple-haired SJW who can never get anyone to join her feminist bar (but luckily the dinosaur vital in her groundwork obeys her every command). They all used to be best friends, but high school has driven them apart.
Now something has brought them back together. Partly it was waste Alex, promulgation all of them an entice to hang out while their relatives have nonetheless another Pride assembly in the basement. But after they incidentally locate a glimpse of what the Pride meetings really involve, they’re firm by a shared secret. Their relatives are evil, and they have to do something to stop them.
Except, to this show’s credit, that grounds is immediately complicated. Unlike the comic book, which focuses exclusively on the teens, the show also invites us into the personal lives of their parents. We get to know them—each intensely successful in their selected careers—and find out that they aren’t accurately enthusiastic in their evil. In fact, they were all anticipating to get out of Pride, but then something went very wrong. Instead of being supervillians, these relatives are some-more like corrupt sellouts who have traded in their ethics for mansions and imagination biotech labs.
Still, there is a certain volume of supervillainy going on, as good as black magic, insane science, and a heaping sip of not giving a crap about human life. With Alex’s somewhat dorky guidance, the teens forge a new fondness to figure out what accurately Pride has been doing all these years. There’s an coercion to their query that goes over tract twists. Runaways creates us caring about these characters very quickly, interjection to some good behaving and writing. Even if they weren’t traffic with superpowers, they would be interesting, multi-faceted people.
Their struggles would be interesting, too. It’s singular for an journey show to acknowledge the abyss and complexity of teen relationships, but Runaways does it superbly, evoking these characters’ hilly histories and genuine romantic bonds. Like their parents, these teens are struggling with forces bigger than themselves. But they still have a possibility to make better choices.
Of course, the series delivers on the action, too. Alex and his friends may be traffic with pithy questions about grief and responsibility, but they are also trying to cope with having super strength and much weirder talents. Plus, they’re having to distortion to their relatives about something a lot bigger than unctuous alcohol. The best partial is that the show never suggests that the teens’ powers exhibit who they “really” are, à la X-Men. Gert’s dinosaur and Karolina’s stardust arms are just peculiar bends in a much longer road. And it’s a highway that Runaways done me wish to follow, all the way to the end.
New episodes will air on Hulu every week on Tuesday.
Listing picture by Hulu