Review: Hulu’s ‘Runaways’ falls flat on a forced note


Anna Stockton

New netflix original, Runaways, lacks comedy but makes up with plot complexity.

Anna Stockton, Staff Writer

In the midst of a Marvel crazed world, there has been a rise in comic-based TV shows. From “Jessica Jones,” to “The Defenders,” streaming services like Netflix have been capitalising on the public’s love for classic super heroes. New Hulu show “Runaways” follows in suit, but brings in a new twist: what if the superheroes of the story are a bunch of goofy high schoolers trying to stop their parents’ murderous cult?

The idea behind ”Runaways” is compelling, but overall the show is unable to follow through with quality production to match the interesting plot. Where it succeeds in diverse characters and storytelling, it falls flat in almost every other category. There’s a lot of room for improvement after the first season of the Marvel show.

The plot behind “Runaways” feels fresh and new. It centers around a group of six ex-friends who discover their wealthy and influential parents aren’t all as they seem. Reuniting for one night, the children stumble upon their parents taking part in a dark ritual and are forced to look on helplessly as the people who raised them sacrifice an innocent teenager. The plot allows for an interesting dynamic to exist between the parents and the kids. The adults are murderers and criminals, yet at their core, they care for and love their children with all their hearts. In their interactions with the oblivious adults, the children are searching for any redeemable or excusable factor for their parents’ acts. They want to believe that they are good. The enemy isn’t someone the main characters can easily hate and because of that, the story becomes all the more interesting.

One of the reasons the original comic is so highly praised is because of the amount of diversity it displays. The TV show is no different in this respect. Featuring six main characters of varying races, sexualities, and backgrounds, “Runaways” offers representation in a way that doesn’t feel forced or stereotyped. While there are cliche moments, all in all the characters are not made up purely of their designated representation. Instead, they are dynamic, interesting, and inherently lovable.

TV shows have slowly been moving away from weekly releases in lieu of dropping a whole season at one time. “Runaways,” however, is moving back to a more traditional way of release. Each week, at midnight, one episode is dropped on the streaming service Hulu. While this may seem like a small factor, the anticipation and suspense of having to wait a week to get closure on a cliffhanger ending elevates the watching experience. There is no immediate satisfaction, as the audience can’t just move on to the next episode–they have to wait a week and let their anticipation stew. This form of release was a simple yet clever way to enhance the viewing process.

Alongside the enjoyable parts of “Runaways” come some definite negatives. For one, there are two or three blatant moments of product placement so obvious that the audience is taken out of the story. While I understand that production is not cheap, there are better ways to create funds without compromising the fluidity of the story.  

“Runaways,” at its very core, is a story with a fair amount of goofy elements. It’s a ragtag group of rich kids who find themselves on the lam from their neerdowell parents, and with that there has to come comedic relief. However, “Runaways” often pushes that humor a little too hard. Some lines feel forced and out of place, jokes often fall flat, and dialogue can be delivered awkwardly. There are just moments that feel inorganic, and the show is worse off for it.

Marvel’s “Runaways” has the potential to be a great show if they fix the writing and hone in on acting ability. As of now, the show isn’t anything worth writing home about. It’s underwhelming and has a lot of room to grow before it can stand against its other Marvel competitors.

My Rating: C+