You can’t choose family.
I’ve been watching the development of the Runaways TV show for a while now and my interest was set at a medium to a tentative high. I’ve read all the comics and I’m now currently reviewing the new continuation of the older series and its pretty great, and any more Runaways seemed like a good time to me. So, when Jamie asked if I wanted to review it, I jumped at the chance (I mean hey, with my prior knowledge, I’m practically qualified). Does the show separate itself from the comic and make a great independent show or the more important question; Can I shake my love for the source material and not compare every single thing to the comic?
The first thing I noticed as the show started was that it seems to have a pretty large budget, and that the production value and quality of the show didn’t seem to drop. That being said, I am only three episodes in and knowing Marvel, I highly doubt it will dip at all. When I say production quality I don’t mean just the sets and CGI, I also mean the skilled people who are hired to make it. The way it’s shot was the most obvious thing I noticed as It began and just as the sets, make up and CGI stayed on point, as did the cinematography. This is evident in episode three, as there is a scene at a funeral (I wont say who’s) and we get a tour of the post funeral proceedings. Were given an interesting and well performed tracking one shot through the event. It wasn’t Daredevil or The Raid insane quality of filming, but it almost seemed classy and I approved. The last bit of production that I was happily surprised about, was the CGI on a character named Old Lace. I almost don’t want to say who she is or what she’s about in fear of spoilers but just know when you see it, it will be surprisingly good.
As I said in my intro, the hardest part when watching this show was leaving my history with these characters and their source material behind, as I knew that there would be changes to the overall story (after all, it was written years ago and trends change!). Overall the modernisation of the characters was done well, and I enjoyed nearly every character as much as I used to. The plot itself has been changed with the introduction of Karolina’s church and it’s a welcome change as I don’t think the original plot would allow for a very engaging TV show and certainly wouldn’t last a season, let alone a few. Every actor/actress does well, especially for kids and I feel there’s only one weak performance and that’s from Nico’s mum. I understand she’s meant to be stoic and wooden, but it comes off as a little too wooden and I feel her performance is a little too close to real life. Aside from that, the writing is engaging, and I was left wanting to know more with the mystery they’re weaving and that goes to show how good it is, as I already sort of know the plot. Which brings me to my main point; even though I know a lot about the characters I enjoyed it, and IF I didn’t know, I can imagine people would be intensely curious about what’s going on and I personally would be dying for the next episode. That’s not to say I’m not but I would be more so, if I was new to comics.
All the episodes seem to flow well together and think that’s why they released all three at the same time. That and I feel it would be detrimental to put all your faith in a “pilot”, especially when this could be considered very different. They hedged their bets and the simultaneous release worked for me and I think it’ll work for everyone else. Each episode’s cliffhanger left me wanting more and even though I’m being asked to watch this, I would be choosing to do so of my own volition, if I wasn’t.
That’s not to say its perfect. There are tropes as far as the eye can see and even though I’m happy to ignore the fact that tropes HAVE to be used to make it relatable, some are just a little too much to bare. Although, one character mentioning her period and not being ridiculed for it was a refreshing take on high schools and I have to commend the writers as it could be easy, but as they didn’t, the choice mirrors the sensibilities of the original comics. Another issue I have is semi-spoiler territory and I’ll keep it vague but; LIKE ALEX’S FAMILY NEVER NEEDED THOSE COASTERS BEFORE?! Look, I understand their rich but damn, who owns multiple sets of coasters? (You’ll know what I mean when you get to it!).
But for everything the show does wrong, it seems to equal the amount of things right. The relationship and Dad Stuff™ that appears for Chase is handled well, the party scene and unfortunate events that follow are uncomfortable but are a sad fact and I’m glad it was addressed but also not taken too far. That scene also didn’t shy away from Karolina’s… “powers” and it looks exactly how I would liked it to. One of the main things this show does right but most likely passively is that it has a lot of creatives, show runners, writers and directors that aren’t just middle aged white men. The crew itself seems to be younger people and I feel that maybe this could be a welcome change to the development of the show.
After finishing the last episode, I wanted more. That’s usually a good sign and even though I will always be comparing it to the comics (I can’t help it!), I still think that readers and non-readers can enjoy this show. This is due to it having a great balance of what would work on screen in the year 2017 and what should stay from the comics. It may not be HBO quality television, but its binge worthy and a good type of trashy. I’ll be watching every week, and I think you should too. No point in running away.