By Dave B.
In my review of Marvel’s Runaways: Season One, I confidently asserted that the show definitely didn’t completely suck. It’s slightly more difficult for me to make that same assertion with the second season. Marvel’s Runaways: Season Two (Hulu) picks up almost immediately after the conclusion of last season’s finale. Our heroes are homeless, directionless, and still on the run from their diabolical parents. Their otherworldly nemesis is still lurking around and has yet to give up on his plans to return home, a side-effect of which will be the destruction of California. Will the Runaways be able to stop him again, while growing into their newfound powers and adulthood?
Marvel’s Runaways: Season Two is more disappointing than it is actively bad. Instead of taking a big leap forward in quality, it takes giant step sideways. This is evidenced by the continuation of the exact same storyline from the first season, the same interpersonal dynamics among all the characters, and the two seasons existing in the same time frame. Character growth happens entirely onscreen and its slow. The first two episodes of this season are nearly unwatchable because of their glacial pace. Things start to pick up significantly around episode six, but by that point, the tenor of the show is already established: brief bouts of action punctuating drawn out teen relationship drama. Teen angst isn’t interesting in real life and is boring to watch on television.
Increasing the number of episodes from 10 to 13 doesn’t help matters despite the second half of the season being much better than the first. Side plots and characters are thrown in with reckless abandon and with no consideration given to maintaining narrative flow. The effect is that viewers will often find themselves waiting for the show to resolve important plot lines while distractions are given center stage for an episode or two.
Despite my many criticisms of Marvel’s Runaways: Season Two, I didn’t hate it. Most of the characters are at least moderately interesting and usually refrain from too much general foolishness. And the last few episodes are a good example of how strong this show could become with a bit more focus on driving storylines and a lot less attention paid to relationship drama. I’ll tentatively recommend this season of the show because whenever I was ready to give up on it, it gave me enough to keep watching and wanting more. That said, I won’t be too put out if this show is cancelled and if it isn’t, it really needs to step up its execution in Season Three. And for crying out loud, you have a damn dinosaur, so how about using it some of the time!
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.