Posted January 12, 2018 by GP Manalo in Movies/TV

TV Review: ‘The Runaways’ Season One


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Over the years, comic books owes its success to telling human stories over its superheroics; stories that would resonate through one’s culture, difficulties, and triumphs of human beings in certain time periods. Writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona in 2003 expanded on soap opera tropes to a more contemporary context with their comic book, The Runaways. Telling stories such as your bullies can be the ones at home,questioning your purpose and identity at a young age, who your true friends are, how that one thing your parents do would literally mean the end of the world. Marvel’s Runaways – as adapted by The O.C. and Gossip Girl creators, Stephanie Savage and John Schwartz finds strength in these kind of stories for a solid angsty teen drama.

Marvel’s Runaways tells the story of six childhood friends in Los Angeles California learning about their parents that they don’t gather every year to celebrate about their charity work but sacrificing teenagers in a basement for their demonic overlord. Now these kids must band together to expose their parents’ evildoings to the public.

FotoJet (8)That may have been the premise that was sold to you by the show or what that one comic book nerd friend you have told you what the Runaways is about, but if you go in with that kind of expectation you may find yourself getting disappointed when you binged through at least the first two to three episodes. The show pacing is really slow – we’re talking a run time of almost 55 minutes per episode. It is cluttered with overlapping storylines and twists tend to stretch out for too long and it did lead to some of the show’s hits and misses.

The show has drama as if it never leaves the door of their homes. The show makes story choices that seemed like it would lead to some good drama and twists but it instead goes on a spiral where they do hit but brush it off or half-ass its resolution as if their actions holds no consequences to the outside world. I do like the idea that we get to see more of the parents since we were kept in the dark of how they operate in the comics a lot, here we get to see their motivations, and take time to sympathize with them but as the episodes go some of them kind of disappear in the background or scratch your head as to what they really do and what they want to do moving forward. I like the idea that the kids don’t run away immediately, and have the parents do things that make it hard for them to move out but then they don’t really have that much of a dynamic as the episodes go on for you to care. I liked the idea that we’re introduced to the baddie they are serving but it kind of takes away the menace these parents have before the big bad was introduced. It’s almost cyclical throughout the viewing experience.

DTJUPxyWAAAG35DHowever, when it gets good, it really does hit. Mostly from the show’s smaller moments with the Runaways themselves whether they’re just in a coffee shop formulating their plan or even seeing them team-up for the first time outside somebody’s porch. For one, most of the kids are perfectly cast and to some despite their differences from their comic book counterparts (Chase went from being a compassionate dumb guy to compassionate Lacrosse Dudebro Whiz Kid; Molly being an orphan and ageing up from 10 to 14? 15?) I still find myself going from “yeah, that’s totally what they would do or say if they were put in that situation”. Stand out had to go to Gert and Nico, the actresses played their parts strongly whether it is dramatic or some everyday dialogue. If there would be the weakest performer it goes to Molly Hayes. Molly was aged up to 15 years old but it feels like her role was really supposed to be for a much younger part, It’s awkward and cringey for the most part. Which leads me to my next point admittedly, most of the time their script is quite shoddy, especially in the latter half of the show like Chase’s sudden feelings for Gert and Karolina change so quickly (it was lazily resolve to one line), or how Nico went from “we have to think of each other” to “yeah fuck this guy, we’d leave you from the kidnappers ‘cause you’re not my homegirl Karolina”. I get it they’re kids, and they make tactless decisions but the way they just brush it off was off putting.

In the end, The Runways is quite ambitious yet problematic. Simplicity was sacrificed with excess of dramatic plotlines recycled from every teen drama soaps to a point where the focus gets chaotic as the show goes on (the transition between the kids and the parents were great in the first couple of episodes but it lost me after the 5th episode). I don’t mind teen drama (you’re talking to the guy who sat through the worst parts of CW’s Arrow after all) it’s just that I feel as if certain story elements were misplaced and should’ve been better handled if it was given a second look. I’d still give credit to the actors especially when the show goes to the smaller and quieter parts since the showrunners and the actors themselves for having a great understanding of what these characters are all about. The finale left off as what it looks to be a promising second season with the kids finally being their own people. 

Rating: 6.5/10


You can now stream The Runaways in Hulu or HOOQ for Filipino fans.


GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.