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TV Review: Runaways S2E1 Gimmie Shelter

*Warning: This review contains spoilers*

Runaways Season 2 Episode 1 Gimmie Shelter

Runaways is back, and after an incredibly cheesy cold open where the members of Pride are directed by the LAPD to cosplay knockoff versions of their children, there’s some actual running away in the season 2 premiere “Gimmie Shelter”, which is written by the show’s creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and directed by veteran TV helmer Allison Liddi-Brown (Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night LightsParenthood). The episode explores the new normal of the Runaways’ kids, and how they’ve become a family while struggling to survive away from their privileged Brentwood/rich part of LA existences. Like in Season 1, a big portion of the episode is dedicated to their parents and their varying degrees of evil and scheming. Aka Tina Minoru is one scary woman.

The building of community and awareness of privilege is a throughline that gives “Gimmie Shelter” depth and empathy that the prep school sequences in Runaways Season 1 didn’t have. In the beginning of the episode, Chase loses his Fistigons and the group’s money to a low level bike thief named Mike, and they have to humble themselves and get food at an outdoor soup kitchen because they have no money. Ariela Barer, whose performance as Gert, was the standout of Season 1 gets to showcase her character’s softer edges as she realizes that in her call for social justice that she had never really experienced injustice up close.

This sense of community continues in the Wiccan funeral of Graciela Aguirre, who is Molly’s last living relative and gave her a VHS tape with a warning from her parents about Pride and the mysterious Jonah, who still isn’t as great a bad guy as Tina Minoru or the Wilders. Her death is the big plot beat of “Gimmie Shelter”, but Schwartz and Savage take time to dwell on the emotional impact of her passing, especially Gert and Molly. Viewers didn’t get a lot of time to know Graciela as a character beyond her fierce protection of Molly and opposition towards the Pride (Her shooting a gun at the Yorkeses is this episode’s finest moment.), and Molly talks about this in her eulogy. She feels alone in the world until she slowly finds family in the Runaways with a loving shot of her snuggled up with Old Lace after the team finally discovers their underground mansion hideout from the original comics.

Like in Season 1, the extended scenes with the Pride aren’t effective as the ones with the Runaways that crackle with chemistry, raw feelings, and even a little humor. For example, Alex gets a solo plot line where he helps Darius, his father’s old business associate, paint his newborn daughter’s room instead of doing stereotypical “gangster” things. On the other hand, the Pride’s scenes are just a round table of scheming, and Schwartz and Savage’s writing for them is stiffer like they’re trying to get each actor a line in the scene instead of letting the natural charisma of Ryan Sands’ Geoffrey Wilder or Brittany Ishibashi’s Tina Minoru take over. This is because the Yorkeses continue to be grating, and Janet Stein and Leslie Dean sadly have no character apart from their husband/cult respectively.

A continued over focus on the parents aside, “Gimmie Shelter” is an excellent reminder of how talented the young cast of Runaways is, especially as they have to negotiate their identities, powers, and relationships while also being wanted fugitives. There’s also a pretty major surprise wedged in this episode somewhere that gives the series both a plot and character hook.

Overall Rating: 8.0

Giannis Milonogiannis and BOOM! Studios’ Old City Blues is in Development at Hulu as an Original Series

Hulu has announced that Old City Blues, based on the hit graphic novel series created by Giannis Milonogiannis for BOOM! Studios Archaia imprint, is in development as a Hulu Original Series in partnership with Brad Weston’s Makeready TV Studio. Kerry Washington is attached to star and executive produce the series, and Gore Verbinski is attached to direct and executive produce the series. Arash Amel (The Titan, creator of the Archaia graphic novel Butterfly) wrote the pilot and is attached to EP the series. Brad Weston and Scott Nemes are attached to EP for Makeready. Ross Richie (Founder & CEO) and Stephen Christy (President, Development) will serve as executive producers on the series for BOOM! Studios.

Set in the near future, the graphic novel series follows the men and women of the New Athens police force. Built in the aftermath of a disastrous flood on the ruins of the country once known as Greece, New Athens is a new independent city created and wholly owned by technology giant Hayashi Corporation. When the cybernetically augmented founder of Hayashi is found murdered, it seems to be just another case of cyborg persecution. But Hayashi Corporation’s strange response to the incident raises the suspicions of lead detective and the Special Police. The mystery they unravel will leads them straight into the wasteland of the Old City.

Old City Blues joins BOOM! Studios’ diverse array of projects in development for film, including Mouse Guard at Fox with Wes Ball (The Maze Runner trilogy) set to direct with Matt Reeves (The Batman) producing; Goldie Vance at Fox with Rashida Jones (Angie Tribeca) to adapt and direct with Kerry Washington (Scandal) producing; Imagine Agents at Fox with Richie Keen directing and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) producing; Irredeemable at Fox with Adam McKay (The Big Short) producing and directing, the 2018 Eisner Award-nominated Bolivar at Fox with Shawn Levy producing; and groundbreaking worldwide YA phenomenon Lumberjanes at Fox. For television, BOOM! Studios has multiple series in development including the GLAAD Media Award-winning The Woods at Syfy with Brad Peyton (San Andreas) set to direct and executive produce the pilot.

TV Review: Marvel’s Runaways S1E5 Kingdom

After their not-so-fearless leader is taken, the kids spring into action. Alex discovers long-buried secrets about his dad, as the kids uncover new truths about themselves.

Marvel’s Runaways continues the mystery and the action as various plotlines come together. Alex was kidnapped in the last episode by Darius and we find out what the deal is between Darius and Geoffrey. Who’s going to save Alex? Will it be his father or will it be his friends?

It’s a solid episode in that it moves plotlines forward and at the same time reveals a lot about the various characters. And it allows the characters to discover more about each other too. In that sense, we see them finally come together as a team and the reaction is what you might expect from teenagers as they discover one can do magic and another can lift cars. Up to this point the series felt like acquaintances coming back together but this is the moment we see them as a team.

With all of that comes a lot of character growth and changes. Alex has realized how bad his father is and is forced to perform an action he didn’t expect stealing his innocence away in a quick moment. But, that loss of innocence is realized and accepted by everyone.

Molly – “Why would our parents do horrible things?”
Gert – “I guess, because they’re horrible people.”

While the above might seem a bit silly to say, it’s a moment of realization that puts it out there as to where all of the kids are. Their parents have a lot they’re hiding and aren’t the good people they thought they were. It’s that moment of the movie where someone states they need to “rescue their friend” or “stop the evil plan.” We know that’s what’s coming and what they’re thinking but it needs to still be stated in some ways.

The acting and production value still is great and the fact this is airing on Hulu bows my mind. It’s all the equal of Marvel’s Netflix releases and is at times better than the movies. Each episode looks fantastic and what should come off as goofy at times has worked in every instance and exceeded expectations. The cast too has gelled in a way that others haven’t. They really do feel like long time friends who drifted apart and have come together. Their parents balance both approachable and scheming. It just all comes together in a fantastic package.

This episode is the one that really gets things going especially with an ending reveal that’s fascinating, mysterious, puzzling, and exciting. The series continues to impress and is the one live action comic adaptation I’m excited for each and every week.

Overall Rating: 8.95

TV Review: Marvel’s Runaways S1E4 Fifteen

The parents try to find a solution to Pride’s problem, and the kids grapple with a new discovery that yields more questions than answers.

Marvel’s Runaways continues to impress as things come together and fall apart in so many ways. The Pride is scrambling after discovering their sacrifice didn’t do what they wanted. This leaves them trying to find a replacement. While things still aren’t quite explained, it’s all very mysterious and it’s nice to see the villains’ plan not going well unlike so many other series that are out there. It raises the threat in some ways and shows the villains as fallible.

What’s also solid is the cracks in the group. The Yorkes want to get the hell out of dodge and to safety, which we learn isn’t really safe. The Yorkes are part of the Pride that you get a sense that they’re forced into this situation and aren’t completely on board. It’s an interesting aspect and shows how sinister other members are.

While the adults have a lot of the episode dedicated to their machinations, it’s their kids that continue to be the draw as they figure out what’s going on. The general decision is made that they should assume their parents are killers and protect themselves, which seems smart. But, what’s really nice is the episode focuses on the “non-mystery” aspect of them all.

Chase gets confronted by the fight over the attempted rape of Karolina in the first episode. While there’s aspects of this plot that aren’t good, using Karolina to further Chase’s story, there’s good too in that this is a very real aspect of teenage life that’s explored. The fact Karolina is confronted by another girl and blamed for the friction in the lacrosse team as opposed to the would be rapists also is interesting and a bit more realistic. It’s no longer just about putting Chase over, it’s also about teen dynamics and issues that they face. I totally understand why some don’t like this aspect of the show and now that it’s revisited in this way, it feels a bit less like a mechanism to push Chase’s story.

There’s also humor on top of the drama. Gert’s club is revisited, Molly has solid lines, and the Yorkes are cute in their craziness.

Another solid episode and out of all of the comic turned television shows this one had me nervous but four episodes in I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and can’t wait to see where it all goes.

Overall Rating: 8.75

TV Review: Marvel’s Runaways S1E3 Destiny

The kids are reeling following last night’s events. As an investigation begins, they discover their parents may have more to hide than they could have imagined.

While the first two episodes were the set up, the third of Marvel’s Runaways is an interesting one as the main story expands and the team begins to figure out if their parents are murderers.

While the episode has a bit of Scooby-Doo to it, there’s a lot of solid here mostly revolving around the interactions of the characters and the high production quality of it all. The various teens split up to explore their own little corners of the world to figure out what’s going on and the results feel like even more of a mystery. For those that have read the comics, it’s not, but for those that are new this all might seem a bit… weird.

Snow falling from the ceiling, a dinosaur in a basement, x-ray specs, Runaways has its foot in a lot of genres and plays it all off well as the television show focuses on the tween aspects that made the comic series a success.

But, what’s really interesting is how it treats its adults who gain lots of depth in this episode as more is explored. Though the Pride has the makings of a well knit group, it’s clear they’re not as some members aren’t completely sold on what’s going on and others are… have affairs!? Yes, the drama isn’t relegated to the teenagers, it’s also present with the adults too.

At its core, despite the powers to come and the cool gizmos, the show is about the relationships and interactions between all of the characters and each episode so far has remembered that key point. It’s just all done really well at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Marvel’s Runaways S1E2 Rewind

The second episode of Marvel’s Runaways is a retelling of the first episode, as seen from the parents’ perspective. Everyone’s on edge, but after tonight, should all go as planned, they won’t have to worry about their obligations again.


With the weirdness and ending of the first episode on our mind, the second episode gives us a review of the first with a twist telling the story from the parent’s perspective. Going this route gives us a deeper understanding of the world, though so many questions are still left on the table.

The parents have a solid amount of depth added to each as every one gets a decent amount of time on screen. Though things aren’t completely laid out, enough is there that we get a sense of who they are and more importantly the varied amounts of friction that exists. Though they’re clearly part of a secret society, not all are on board in the same way. There’s cracks in the armor. Beyond that we get a sense of each parent’s personality and a bit about their history. It’s a solid way to add to the first episode’s introduction and let us know about the large cast of the show in a different way. The episode succeeds on multiple fronts.

But, it’s not all a catch up, it also takes us to the moments after the events of the first with the kids freaking out over what they’ve seen and the parents attempting to figure out what the flash was. It’s all set up in a Scooby-Doo(ish) sort of way as the kids scramble to not get caught.

Like the first episode, the second is a solid mix of interactions and personalities. The series is based on a comic book and that “capes” aspect of it all is secondary to the mystery and characters. Two episodes in we’ve got a good base as to where things stand, what’s happened, and some of the “why” of it all. This is a show that’s about two groups of friends and as one comes together the other is fracturing in a way.

Marvel’s Runaways in two episodes continues to make the case that it’s the best live action comic show in 2017 and on the air right now.

Overall Rating: 8.5

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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