Runaways from Marvel has managed to fulfill all the parameters so far alongside managing to make some major alterations to the source material to meet its 10 episode requirement. The comic book from writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Adrian Alphona came out in 2003, and it was earlier rumored to be set for a big screen adaptation. However, the roaring success of Marvel’s Avengers based universe redirected it to television.
The series would ultimately land on Hulu, and Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television called it an “easy decision” to make. “We were very excited about the possibility of joining a network that was young and growing in the same way that when we went to Netflix when it was young and growing on the original side. It really feels like we’re in the right place at the right time with the right show,” Loeb added once again affirming that Marvel wanted to widen its horizon beyond Netflix and its vigilante shows on the platform.
But, Netflix and Amazon Prime are the top two streaming services as of now, and one wonders if choosing Hulu was the right thing to do. Considering that the show is doing very well in telling a comic-book based coming of age story, it is obvious that Runaways is a major player in a smaller arena and certainly deserved a better deal.
Such a fantastic adaptation ought to be given as massive attention as possible. However, it has not been the situation here. We agree that the kids are not the typical superheroes we are used to seeing, but, they have been a part of some vital stories from Marvel Comics, and the list includes game-changing stories such as Civil War and Secret Invasion. Therefore, it is undeniable that they do have an impactful presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hulu is not the right place. Although it lets the series shine, there is no spotlight or major emphasis that is needed for the series to be a standout one.
However, Netflix has a much larger audience and also one that is familiar to comic book based shows and is also linked with the MCU through Daredevil and The Punisher. To be honest, Runaways on Hulu seems to be an opportunity wasted, to capture not just this segment of the viewers, but, also the option to debut the show on a much-renowned platform. The truth is, no matter what, when you think of comic book based shows, Hulu isn’t the name that will come to your mind. Therefore, even if the show becomes a success there, it won’t have the same impact.
Runaways is based on teenagers who find out that their parents are the bad guys and they come together to rectify their mistakes. The series features RhenzyFeliz as Alex Wilder, a nerd; Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru, a Wiccan; Virginia Gardner as Karolina Dean, a mysterious and probably alien being; Ariela Barer as GertYorkes, a rude social justice fighter; Gregg Sulkinas Chase Stein, a genius jock; and Allegra Acosta as Molly Hernandez, the youngest member of the group with unbelievable strength. To be precise, it is a teen drama and not for grown-ups like Hulu’s other show The Handmaid’s Tale. Therefore, it must be showcased where it can make the loudest noise, not just as a brand, but, because of its story.
Taking into account its teen frustrations, Runaways is a great choice for those who loved 13 Reasons Why (a teen drama based around a suicide) or say Atypical (a show focusing on an autistic outcast surviving his way through high school). Hulu doesn’t convince you about being able to jump into bullying, sex, violence, self-harm, cults, and substance abuse, or other darker and grittier themes such as human trafficking, human sacrifice, gangs and well, murder. Therefore, the show becomes confined, accepting the limitations of network television, but, never expanding beyond them, which in turn leaves the viewers high and dry.
The show’s executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage have been the brains behind Fox’s The O.C. and CW’s Gossip Girl, which turned out to be huge hits among the youth, however, Hulu has a creatively limited feel. Their expertise must have convinced Marvel to consider the show as something bigger than a trial show on television, which is the corner where Hulu leads this project to. That’s a corner of limited creative expressions contrary to the mega television opulence.
It seems that placing Runaways on Hulu is Marvel’s way of checking where else can the show expand. In our opinion, something as good as Runaways must have been the top prize, not an experimental rat.
Considering everything, Runaways overall television crux is a reflection of its life as a comic book; something that can at best generate a cult following. At the moment, this restrictive cloud overhanging gives an impression that Marvel is not taking any risks and in turn creating something that is on the brink of glory, but, not destined to claim its top pedestal.
Runaways is currently streaming on Hulu, and it stars RhenzyFeliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Ryan Sands, Angel Parker, Brittany Ishibashi, James Yaegashi, Kevin Weisman, Brigid Brannagh, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, James Marsters and Ever Carradine.