Just when you thought you couldn’t handle another superhero TV show, “Marvel’s Runaways” is back for a second season.
Hulu released a new trailer for the show on Thursday and things are ramping up. The teens are getting stronger and their super villain parents are aggressively hunting them down. It is not all drama either. Nico and Karolina share another onscreen kiss that is sure to melt fans’ hearts.
Dominican actor Jan Luis Castellanos is set to join the “Runaways” cast as the comic book character Topher. This 13-episode second season, based on the comics of the same name, is a refreshing take on the genre.
“Runaways” focuses on a group of six Los Angeles teenagers who discover that their parents aren’t what they seem, but instead super-villains in disguise, and they run away from home together in order to take them down. It sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot of complexity under the surface.
First of all, the teens (being teens) don’t always get along and each of them has their own individual problems — the typical pubescent concerns of good grades and popularity — and more serious issues like coming to terms with the death of one of their own, drug use and rape.
Normally, teenagers facing stuff like this would have their parents to turn to. Since they don’t have that option, they turn to one another, and after they regroup and leave home, each of them goes on an inner journey and finds out they have far more power than they’d ever realized.
Here’s what you can expect from “Runaways”.
Rejoice, for this is not just a sea of white faces. To its credit, Hulu and Marvel have done their best to cast people of colour in the main roles. Even though the characters had pre-dictated backgrounds from the comics, it’s still nice to see a primetime show break from the same repetitive mould.
Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) make up the core six, and their powers are as varied as their backgrounds.
Loathe to spoil it here, you can find out each of the teens’ powers elsewhere (unless you want to wait and watch), but suffice it to say one of them is an alien, another a powerful witch and yet another a super-strong mutant. There’s a lot going on.
If you take a look at the above list of names, notice anything? That’s right, four out of the main sextet are women. This is progress.
Unexplained mysteries waiting to be solved
Aside from the main mystery of their parents — they’re all members of the Pride, a supervillain organization meant to control the area and keep all other villains out of Los Angeles — there are mysteries of what’s going on inside their own bodies.
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This bodes well for the series, which leaves you hanging just when you want more. What was that mysterious body in the basement? Was that dried skin flaking off the body, or what was that? Did I just see a dinosaur locked up in a room? Who is this Destiny girl and what is her role in everything? What, exactly, were the parents doing during their “meeting”?
Oh, and “Buffy” fans, did you notice that James Marsters (a.k.a. Spike) plays Chase’s father in season one?
Good music and a beautiful aesthetic
“Runaways” looks, sounds and feels like a high-level production. Instead of a grating, far-too-serious operatic score, or swelling strings telling us when to feel sad, the show features modern music that works wonderfully. Turns out legendary music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas (among the shows she’s scored: “The O.C.”, “Riverdale”, “Grey’s Anatomy“) is part of the production team, and that’s good news for our ears.
The show also has a saturated look, filled with colour. It helps that each of the main cast members (parents and kids) are easy on the eyes as well. All of this would be meaningless if the show didn’t have an element of fun, but not to worry, it does. Zingers and one-liners, oft heard from the mouths of teens, are abundant.
“Runaways” season one was reminiscent of the first season of “Heroes” when we’d watch the teens discovering their powers and see how they’d learn to deal with them. That addictive story form is a smart one, but a dangerous one. The viewer’s attention hinges on making those characters interesting, and as we saw with “Heroes”, it fizzled fast in Season 2 once things got too complicated or one-note. If “Runaways” can hold on to its initial feeling, it may be a runaway hit. (Sorry.)
A note to fans of the comics: yes, some of the stories differ from the source material. After all, this is being adapted for TV. Two examples include the Chase character, who’s not much more than a “jock with potential” in the comics, and Nico, whose comic-book character engages in self-harm. Both have been altered for the show, with Chase being more multi-layered and Nico’s self-harm “tweaked.”
Marvel’s “Inhumans”, which started up at the end of September 2017, hasn’t been getting the best reviews. Rest assured that “Runaways” will not suffer the same fate. We already can’t wait for season two.
‘Marvel’s Runaways returns with a two hour season two premiere Jan. 2 on Showcase and in its entirety on Hulu on Dec. 21.