Marvel's Cloak & Dagger
By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sex, drugs, police violence in gritty teen superhero tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
As in most superhero shows, the focus is on preventing violence and opposing crime. Scenes of police violence and corruption send a message that authority figures can't always be trusted.
Positive Role Models
A young black man and teen girl are the heroes of this series, both underrepresented on TV. Tandy in particular is flawed as the series begins -- she's a thief and sometimes a runaway -- but both she and Ty as well as other characters grow emotionally as the series progresses.
Violence & Scariness
Gore is not explicit but violence may be particularly disturbing: A young girl and her father plunge into the water during a car accident and he's killed; we see her shaking her father's shoulder crying "Daddy? Daddy?" piteously. A teenage boy is shot twice in the chest by police officers; we see blood before he falls into the water, and later his parents weep and grieve. A man attempts to sexually assault a teen girl, kissing her roughly and backing her up against a wall while she cries and screams.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content is a bit more intense than parents might expect. For example, in one scene, a teen girl moves rhythmically atop a teen boy before climbing off; the two then talk obliquely about how they just had sex. In another, a girl flirts with an older man as a prelude to drugging and robbing him; while waiting for him to pass out he kisses her roughly, strokes her thighs, and asks if it's going to "happen" for them.
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Language and cursing includes "pr--k," "bitch," "damn," "a--hole."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Images of drug use and drinking: A teen crushing a stolen prescription pill with a key and snorting it before passing out, teens routinely drinking beer and other drinks at bars and parties, with no one questioning the consumption. A girl slips "something" into a man's drink so he will pass out and she can rob him. A parent drinks brown liquor at breakfast and is called an alcoholic and asked if she's drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Marvel's Cloak & Dagger is a series about two teens who discover they have superpowers. Sex, violence, and other mature content may be more intense than parents may expect from a show about teens. Relevant examples: Teens are shown in the midst of sex (no nudity), a man tries to rape a teen girl, a father and small child fall into the water in a car after an auto accident (he's killed), a girl drugs a man in order to steal from him and snorts a stolen prescription pill before passing out. Teens drink routinely at parties and social events, and at least one parent is an alcoholic who drinks straight brown liquor at breakfast. A teen boy is shot by corrupt police officers. Sci-fi violence includes people being trapped in unearthly dimensions and stabbed or thrown through the air by beams of light. Language and cursing includes "pr--k," "bitch," "damn," and "a--hole." The heroes of this show are a young woman and a young black man, both underrepresented as protagonists on TV and in movies.
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Marvel's Cloak & Dagger
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What's the Story?
As MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER opens, Tyrone "Ty" Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) are just a couple of ordinary teenagers on the mean streets of a big city -- albeit teens with a tragic past and uncertain futures. But when Ty and Tandy have a chance meeting, they realize three things: They've met before, there's a powerful attraction between them, and each has strange abilities that suddenly reveal themselves. With the powers of light and darkness at their command, Ty (alias "Cloak") and Tandy (alias "Dagger") set out to right the wrongs that society, authority, and a villainous corporation have done to them.
Is It Any Good?
Grittier and more realistic than similar teen-superhero show Runaways, this series focuses on a couple of misfit outsiders who suddenly discover they can do things other people can't. What misfit doesn't nurture a secret fantasy of being special? Together, Tandy and Ty can do big things, even if it takes them a while, awkward Peter Parker-style, to figure out exactly what. Unlike other superheroes who we meet in the full flower of their superheroics, the ones in Marvel's Cloak & Dagger are fledgling superhumans still in the learning process.
While they work it out, viewers will quickly warm to the struggles both face. Tandy is a sneaky thief and a dropout, practically abandoned by her single-parent mom. Ty's a great big neurotic mess, struggling with his grieving parents' expectations at home and his painful shyness at school. Both of them are misused and abused by the authority figures in their lives, to say nothing of the big bad corporation that quickly emerges as an environmental and political villain. Sure, these teens have unearthly powers on their side. But with so many forces gathering against them, they'll need every bit of power they can unleash just to make it out alive.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the different genres Marvel's Cloak & Dagger fits into. Is it a superhero show? A teen soap opera? A drama about an evil corporation? Does the mix of genres make this show more interesting, or less?
Superhero dramas are experiencing a moment on TV and at the movies. Why? Why do average people want to watch people who have extraordinary abilities? What about these stories are appealing to viewers? What kind of viewer is most likely to watch this particular superhero story?
How do Ty and Tandy demonstrate courage and teamwork in opposing evildoers? Why are these important character strengths?
- Premiere date: May 31, 2018
- Cast: Andrea Roth, Emma Lahana, Aubrey Joseph, Olivia Holt
- Network: Freeform
- Genre: Drama
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: May 27, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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