Runaways: Reunion
November 21, 2017 12:30 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

In the series premier of the adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s classic comic series, a group of privileged teenagers discover that their parents are secretly a cabal of supervillains.

GQ: Runaways Is a Giant Leap Forward for Comic Book Shows
Premiering its first three episodes today on Hulu, Runaways is an adaptation of a comic book by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. But it's not just an adaptation of any old comic book. It's a take on one of the most revered and beloved comics in recent memory. Ever since it was first published in 2003, Runaways has been considered one of the very best introductions to comic books because it is blissfully free of superhero bullshit—kind of an incredible feat, considering that Runaways is a Marvel comic, set in the Marvel Universe.
Vulture: Runaways Series-Premiere Recap: Teenage Dream TV
Brian K. Vaughan is credited as an executive consultant to the series, and while it’s not clear how much say he had on the final product, the pilot’s faithfulness to the spirit of his comic suggests that he had a hands-on role. The superhero elements will clearly be used to explore aspects of the adolescent experience from angles that wouldn’t be possible in a more realistic story, and this episode’s commitment to character indicates that Runaways has made it into the right creative hands after years trapped in development hell.
AVClub: In a slow premiere, Marvel’s Runaways feels like Degrassi meets Defenders
Basically, there are a lot of things happening to a bunch of different characters, but the meaning of it all remains so elusive, especially in the first two episodes, that it’s sometimes challenging to invest in the narrative. That seems to be by design: Runaways reveals information in a slow trickle that appears to be engineered to keep viewers so curious they can’t wait to get to the next episode. (The first three land on Hulu on Tuesday, with seven more to follow in the weeks ahead.)
posted by 1970s Antihero (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My take: I've only watched the first episode so far, but while the AVClub is correct that it’s slow, it’s slow because it is focusing on character moments. It’s definitely NOT slow in the boring, plot-churning way the Netflix Marvel shows are.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:33 PM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I really want to watch this.... But I can't because Hulu isn't available in europe :-(
posted by Pendragon at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2017

Well, I'll say this for Marvel TV shows, they're previews are accurate. Runaways is exactly what I expected to see from the preview, I'm just a little surprised reviewers seem to take that as a good thing, when I found it entirely generic.

It's garden variety teen TV that moves significantly enough away from the comics in that regard to show it isn't grasping what made the story compelling from that perspective, substituting its TV tropes instead. The actors look capable enough, but the characters and writing don't. I'm sure there'll be a lot of "page turning" narrative entanglements, twists, and romantic teen angst designed to keep viewers tuning in, I just won't be one of them. I'm abandoning the series for favoring a formula I have no interest in seeing again.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:48 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is possibly the best pilot episode of anything I've seen all year*

*with the exception of the Good Place, but I am biased and view the Good Place at Platonic TV Ideal
posted by Faintdreams at 1:50 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really liked this (disclaimer: I didn't read beyond the first collection of Runaways) and I appreciated the slow pacing -- I liked that it felt very different than a standard broadcast show because it wasn't one. That seemed like a very deliberate choice. Yeah, it helped they released the first three episodes at once so this wasn't all we were left with until next week, but I appreciated it defied my expectations of what it was going to be.

I think the cast is great and the production values are spot-on. I'm not sure how much I like some of the choices they've made but I also understand why they've made them. All the characters seem well-defined and drift outside of being the cliches they're sort of slotted into at first. There is a lot of "drama" but I like the slow-burn quality of this. I like that the "super" stuff feels secondary to a bunch of kids trying to figure out themselves and a mystery.

(I have watched all three and I'll likely watch them again this weekend with my boyfriend. I had reasonable expectations but this was much more engaging than I thought it was going to be.)
posted by darksong at 5:55 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Netflix shows could really take a cue from this, very well done. Also I totally thought Chase's dad was Julian McMahon at first... he and James Marsters are slowly morphing into the same person.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:45 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Shades of The Breakfast Club. If I ever find a coffee spot as nice as Gert's, I'm never leaving.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 10:47 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure how much I like some of the choices they've made but I also understand why they've made them. All the characters seem well-defined and drift outside of being the cliches they're sort of slotted into at first.

This is a major part of my problem with the show so far, I'd watched the first three episodes when I posted. The show is leaning really heavily on some tropes that are not very agreeable to start its story. The controlling Asian mom, the black father who's turned his back on the "'hood", the feckless liberals used for comic relief, two potential sexual assaults used to drive the storyline for little reason, two of the main female characters arcs being defined by the how Chase relates to them, Gert, despite her feminist proclamations, used as comic underscoring, is primarily interested in the handsome rich boy and clueless Karolina is shown almost being raped at a party almost purely to give Chase the chance to save her, that triangle shows Gert's "feminism" having little hold when a man gets between her and her alleged ideals considering how harsh she is with Karolina.

The following two episodes broaden the perspective a bit, but don't really seem to alter the trajectory all that much. I won't discuss them in this thread to avoid spoilers, but they too give me some concern for favoring convention over ideals. Nonetheless, I have decided to give the show a few more episodes since there are a number of interesting writers and directors involved that may bring a different perspective to the series. Considering the show is making a point of being diverse in its cast and crew, I feel I owe it some additional consideration for that effort since its something I support. Hopefully the series will find ways to twist conventions more than they've done so far and break further away from normative expectations, but given the business of Hollywood its tough to break conventions and make money, so the money usually wins.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:20 AM on November 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is from the two behind The O.C.? I may be able to get my wife to watch something Marvel.

Premieres tonight on Showcase in Canada.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:19 AM on November 22, 2017

Yeah it is, and they have Rodney Barnes, from Boondocks writing some of the episodes as well. It really isn't very superhero-ey so I don't think that would be a problem since it's much more interested in the interpersonal drama stuff.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:33 AM on November 22, 2017

In case other people wonder where they've seen actors before, I might save you some head scratching and a trip to IMDB:
* the crunchy dad is Kevin Weisman, Marshall from Alias.
* the asshole scientist dad is James Marsters, Spike from Buffy and Angel.
* the scientist dad's wife is Ever Carradine, Ruby's biological mom on Major Crimes.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:15 PM on November 22, 2017

Bit of a slow pilot, but I'm with the folks who think it's to the show's advantage. A lot of characterisation is typical shorthand stuff, but somehow giving those shorthand character beats time to breathe makes it work for me. It's the difference between a stereotype and a character that happens to fit a stereotype, if that makes sense.

There are definitely some problems that are kind of inherent in sticking closely to the plot of a comic book written by a white guy in the mid-2000s. That this still feels like a breath of fresh air, especially when it comes to diverse casting, is a testament to just how stale the media landscape is, especially for superhero stuff. The only other superhero show I can think of with a cast this diverse is Agents of SHIELD, and even that's awfully damned hetero. (I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Runaways turns out to be less hetero than it seems at first glance, given there's a pretty obvious hint in this episode, but the mods should feel free to edit this part of the comment out if they disagree.)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:49 AM on November 23, 2017

I didn't read the comic so I have no expectations there.

I'm okay with teen shows and the slow pace, as long as it's in favor of character building.

I'm pretty excited to see characters of colors, including (I think) three Japanese-American actors playing the Japanese-American family. Also a few characters who speak Spanish in what appears to be LA so duh they should.

A LOT less happy with the seeming Chase-Gert-Karolina triangle, and the other sexual assault/feminism problems gusottertrout points out.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:46 AM on December 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

The oddest question possible: Is there a soundtrack listing for it anywhere, or am I going to have to repeatedly Shazam every track in the show? By the time I personally recognized the Austra track (when they were crossing from the pool house to the den), I was already up to something like 6 tracks I sort of wanted to hear more of.

Pretty decent trick for the whatever the production end of A&R is.
posted by Kyol at 5:22 PM on December 4, 2017

So yeah, but then the second and later episodes were far less new music heavy, so...

Anyway, in case you were wondering, too.
posted by Kyol at 6:19 AM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

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