I was supposed to watch and review Extinct, but the pilot was so difficult to get through that I’m not inclined to watch a second episode, so… Runaways.
Runaways is about a group of teenagers who discover their parents are participating in a secret, possibly evil cult. As they work to uncover the truth, they each manifest special talents or abilities.
We mean it.
Well, okay, since you’re still here:
This show enjoys subverting your expectations. They’ll place a stereotypical character in front of you, then, somewhere down the line, you’ll realize that no one is who they seem. I appreciate this, applaud it even, but it takes a damn. long. time.
The first book of Mavel’s Runways comic (actually a thick hardback book) finished up everything that’s still going on in the show – and we’re seven episodes in. Apparently, I have no patience whatsoever. For perspective: I have put down many shows I ended up loving later on. The only reason I picked them up again was at the urging of my friends. I’m your worst nightmare as a viewer. I’m that person who’s done with you within ten minutes.
Anyway, if you’ve never read the comics: know that everything is being done purposefully.
If you were a fan of the comics, then there’s a lot to love, as it it’s a fairly faithful adaptation that explores everything and everyone in more depth.
This is a show whose cast is quite diverse (as the source material dictates), and on that note, the casting is spot on. Between the acting and the writing, the actors embody teenagers perfectly. I am less interested in their parents, who they go into in more depth than in the comics, but they are starting to grow on me. Plus, one of them is James Marsters from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I didn’t even recognize him until I saw his name in the credits.
I appreciate that we are encouraged to misjudge people, and the slow burn is probably actually a good thing, despite my impatience.
The one character that gets on my nerves is Gert. Firstly, she’s not overweight in the show when she clearly was in the comics. Yes, yes, I know, what’s the big deal, but if you’re going to be authentic with the rest of your cast, why not with Gert too? The actress does a great job with the character, but it’s a risky choice to have such a thin actress playing her. Mainly because it reinforces ‘this person is overweight’ when she’s really not.
But the reason that Gert truly annoys the hell out of me is that she’s too realistic. She’s a ‘social justice warrior’ in the worst sense of the phrase, brandishing her knowledge base as a weapon in inappropriate situations. Using her education to soothe her insecurities. Lashing out at others who don’t fundamentally disagree with her.
Gert starts a group to ‘take down the patriarchy’, then spends her time tearing into her ‘friend’ Karolina’s ‘perfect pretty blonde’ persona because of her jealousy. Gert knows what feminists look like, and they look like her, dammit. Gert uses important social justice issues as a shield for her own feelings, and in doing so, cheapens the causes she claims to care about. God, I hate it. I know too many people who have done this.
But, I do trust this show. So there should be a point where she gets called out on this behavior. If you watch the show, and that happens, imagine me cheering. Hopefully, after that, Gert will turn into a character I can actually like (because I did in the comics).
Do I recommend Runaways? I do, actually. I think there’s a lot of potential here. The main characters are very much teenagers, so you’ll either have to like or appreciate that to like this show, but, all in all, I think it’s worth continuing.
Side note: Runaways also goes to show that the teacher who reviewed my script (not LB) was wrong when he said: “Audiences will accept witches or aliens, but not both.” Nope. Wrong. Bite me, teach.
NOTE FROM LB: Damn right that wasn’t me spouting traditionally spurious TV-exec-thought. You heard Kate, whoever you are. Start, um, biting!
Kate G AKA Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE