TV Review: Marvel’s Runaways S1E1 Reunion

Adapting the classic Marvel comic series Runaways, we finally have a chance to see these characters on the small screen in a new live action series Marvel’s Runaways airing on Hulu. It’s the latest example of original programming only being available through a subscription service another. In this case you’ll be shelling out $6 or $12 at a minimum a month for the series which will see a new episode air each Tuesday. I myself abhor this new business model and already feel like I’m paying too much between cable, my underused Amazon Prime, and Netflix, so I was hesitant to pay for the privilege to watch just this series since I already have much of what Hulu offers elsewhere. And after finishing the first episode, I can say, I’m actually happy with the investment.

A group of six Los Angeles teens, fractured by a tragic loss, reunite only to discover that their parents may be hiding a terrible secret that turns their world upside down.

That’s the basic idea of the series and to give more would ruin the surprise and secret so I’ll do my best to focus on just this first episode and what’s presented, not what I know of what’s to come. Runaways is about extraordinary kids placed in a difficult situation along with everything that comes with being a kid. For the first 40ish minutes of the first episode, that’s the series focus. Who are these kids, their personalities, and their relationships and lack there of. Something happened in the past to fracture what was once a close group. Alex, Nico, Karolina, Molly, Chase, and Gertrude are the six individuals we’re introduced to and the episode portrays them in a way that’s believable. These are kids, partying, being snarky, and dealing with real issues like the loss of a friend, drugs, rape, and more. The show’s first episode is straight up drama hinting at the fantastical to come. And what it does so well is give us emotion.

It’s that emotion that makes the series stand out from every other series Marvel has released so far. More CW drama than Netflix, the series’ focus is the characters and their relationships first. Everything else comes second. The show first and foremost is about friendship and heart and it nails that almost perfectly and somehow enhances tropes while not sinking in them.

The direction and production value of the episode is fantastic. While some of the shots are typical, there’s a fantastic balance between lingering close ups that are slightly off center and emphasizing each character. The fantastical is kept to a minimum instead keeping things grounded. And the episode builds to those last few minutes where things begin to spiral out of control.

The series is definitely mature with no issues dropping swear words, flipping a finger, or tackling topics we’ve seen in Afterschool Specials. It’s a breath of fresh air in so many ways with a natural story and actors who feel like the right ages of the people they’re portraying. One episode in and surprisingly the upstart show on the upstart video service is one of the best live action comic adaptations of 2017.

Overall Rating: 9.0

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