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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Marvel Reviews: MCU Teen Shows

In addition to ABC and Netflix, Marvel did a couple other MCU series aimed at a younger audience: one on Hulu, one on the Freeform cable network. I think hardly anyone has seen this, since there’s been nowhere near as much promotion as for the Netflix shows.

I don’t think my reviews are going to change that.

(There’s also a second series on Hulu that was just released last month, Helstrom, but as far as I know, that’s not related in theme or target audience to these two. I haven’t seen it yet, but will be reviewing it later.)

Full explanation of my ranking system is here. Summary: C is average, A/B is recommended, D is badly made, F is something to avoid.


Rating: C+

Marvel’s Runaways is a streaming service show, only available on Hulu, which explains why no one has seen it. It’s about a group of teens, some with powers, some with gadgets, who run away when they discover their parents are up to some horrible crap and are, basically, crime bosses. This is mostly intended to appeal to people who like YA rebel stories, like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Mazerunner, or Mortal Engines.

My main thought during the entire first season was “When do these kids actually run away?” Because SPOILERS, they don’t run away until the very last scene of the very last episode of the first season. And they really should have run away earlier, not just because it’s part of the title, or even because what’s actually going on around them is so terrible. You basically only need one episode to set up the conflict between the parents and one or two episodes where some of the kids still need convincing. Everything else could be handled after the kids run away. It would have been far more tense and the pace would have been much faster if the show had been done that way.

It’s not a bad show, just average, but there are a couple good scenes in there. And, unlike the Netflix shows, there’s more superpowers and superscience. There’s even less tie-in to the rest of the MCU, though, except for some cross-over episodes in Season Three with Cloak & Dagger. It’s mostly just a couple corporate names, like Roxxon. If you watched this without knowing every tiny bit of MCU trivia, you wouldn’t even know it’s a Marvel story. There is a possible tiny hint of a connection to Doctor Strange in the third season, just based on some Strange-style magic being cast.

Cloak & Dagger

Rating: C

Unlike the Runaways, I had actually heard of Cloak & Dagger because they shared Strange Tales vol. 2 with Doctor Strange. The only stories I remember, though, were “Cloak meets Dazzler” and “Dagger meets Black Cat”. It’s basically another teen-oriented show, although less about rebellion or even love, more about growing up.

Cloak & Dagger suffers from the same disease as Runaways and the Netflix shows: very slow plot development, very slow mastery of their powers. I didn’t really feel anything stood out as higher quality in the series, although I did like the second season a little more than the first. Again, the only tie-ins to the rest of the MCU are miscellaneous names like Roxxon. There isn’t even a tie-in to Runaways; I think one was planned, but the series was cancelled before they got to that point.

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  1. The comic Runaways is based on is _masterful_, really, but yeah: ugh, we couldn't get through the show.

    1. I imagine it must be worse for people who loved the comic, again not because it's bad, but because there's nothing all that great about it. It would be a huge disappointment.