The cast of "The Runaways" lined up
Photo courtesy of Hulu/IMDB

Soapy Superhero Teen Drama Works

Hulu’s “Runaways” delivers a promising debut

By Taylor Caceres Contributor

The supervillain parents of the show gathered around a table, as if in a meeting.
Photo courtesy of Hulu/IMDB

Hulu’s new show, “Runaways,” is the latest television entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Helmed by former “Gossip Girl” creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, the show is like CW’s “Riverdale,” but with superheroes.

Based on the comic by Brian K. Vaughan,“Runaways” tells the story of a group of kids who discover that their parents are supervillains.

The original “Runaways” comics are a mostly lighthearted romp that features the kids battling their parents, bonding, cracking jokes together and meeting other Marvel characters like Cloak and Dagger. The “Runaways” show shakes things up; it has a gritty, soapy teen drama tone, throwing in a Scientology-like cult and a dead sister.

The alterations that the show has made are interesting. It’s neat to see the parents’ perspectives. In the comics, the parents are largely interchangeable. In the show, there is an attempt to differentiate between them, highlighting their affairs and doubts.

For instance, Geoffrey Wilder is one of the more evil parents in the comics, stabbing the victim of a supernatural ritual. In the show, he is a former gangster who has become wealthy and prestigious, and the ritual killing parallels his past.

And, of course, there are the kids. Some characters benefit from the adaptational changes, while others don’t quite fulfill their potential. Molly Hayes is now Molly Hernandez. Her parents died in an apparent fire and she lives as the adopted sister of Gert Yorkes, another one of the teens. This cuts out a set of parents, making the large cast manageable and setting up a mystery. Unfortunately, they also age up. She is only ten years old in the comics, and it’s kind of disappointing that she is a teenager. The charm of her original character—a super strong little girl who calls herself Princess Powerful and can suckerpunch the Punisher in the gut—is lost.

So far, “Runaways” hasn’t been anything particularly exceptional, but it’s an enjoyable drama with a superhero twist. It’s worth watching to see how it develops. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Karolina Dean, a girl in the process of figuring out her abilities, her sexuality and her rainbow light powers.

The first three “Runaways” episodes are now available on Hulu, with subsequent episodes airing on Tuesdays.