I know I’ve said it before, I am a huge Marvel fan, and the Runaways is a favorite comic series of mine. So when I heard that they were adapting it for television is was thrilled. Well, cautiously optimistic. They had shopped the series around for quite a few years before Hulu picked it up. And I think all those years in development helped it out.
When they announced the cast, I was a little anxious, because some of them didn’t quite seem right, but I was willing to give it shot and see if they could inhabit the characters even if the appearance wasn’t spot on. And all except one won me over. The comic and characters were created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. It was a part of Marvel’s Tsunami imprint of comics that were designed to attract a younger audience.
The premise of the Runaways book and the series as well revolves around a group of teenagers in Los Angeles whose parents are a part of a charity group called The Pride. The goal of the Pride is to help those in need. But their real goal is nefarious much more sinister.
The first few episodes fleshes out the characters and mixes all the problems of being a teen in the modern world of social media and parental angst and cranks it up. One of the highlights for me is seeing some of the panels come to life. It’s a small thing, but for fans of the comic it makes a big difference.
When the kids find out exactly what their parents are involved in the ramifications of knowledge propels the rest of the episodes towards them actually running away. After that revelation, each of the teens discover what makes them different and special. For Karolina, it’s discovering that she is a sparkling, flying alien whose bracelet is the only thing keeping her identity secret. For Gert it’s finding out she has a telepathic connection to a dinosaur her parents created. For Nico, she discovers that she is a witch and can cast spells with her staff. For Molly, it’s discovering that she has superhuman strength. For Chase, it’s the creation of various tech weapons. And for Alex, it’s bringing his friends together again to stop their parent’s evil plan.
It was a smart move to not adapt the entirety of the first volume of the comic and allow for the various dramatic scenarios to play out leading to the season finale when they actually run away from their parents.
While the show has a lot of positives to it, there are a few negatives that I must point out. The actress cast as Molly is the weakest of the bunch, and while she was probably my favorite going into the show, she just didn’t sell me on the unique mix of charm, enthusiasm and spunk that the character possesses. Yes, they are dealing with a limited television budget, but I do think that they skimped on a few of the special effects.
In the comics we don’t really get a lot of focus on the parents, but the show allows them to develop a bit more and it’s a great benefit as it allows us to get a better understanding of the characters and their motivation. Overall, I really enjoyed the season and can’t wait for more. Let’s catch up soon with those Runaways!