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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marvel's Cloak & Dagger is a series about two teens who discover they have super powers. 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 and he is 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 "prick," "bitch," "damn," "a--hole." The heroes of this show are a young woman and a young black man, both underrepresented as protagonists on TV and at the movies.
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 so?
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?
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