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Marvel's Cloak & Dagger
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
We are Marvel fans, and our young teenaged kids have been getting increasingly into sci fi and adventure series & streaming shows. We unwittingly said yes to this one for our 12 year old without looking into it first, and, after she was several episodes in, realized our mistake. While the story features interesting current events (energy consumption & climate change, scientific exploration, and the ongoing chaos and social unrest related to police violence, racism, poverty, and drugs), a setting with a fascinating setting/history (New Orleans & it’s multicultural heritage, Catholic & voodoo traditions), is action packed, keeps you on the edge, and has multiple talented teenaged actors, so many of the details portrayed are best for mature audiences who have already considered/weighed such issues. Both protagonists have emotionally heavy background stories involving crime, drugs, police violence, death, sex. Many side characters also have very flawed backgrounds that blur the lines between hero & villain. For example, a high school aged main protagonist initially prides themselves on their life of crime, including theft, snorting pills, and drugging unsuspecting victims in order to steel from them; both good and bad cops, young people and parents use alcohol, pills, and cocaine and act as if such acts are common place; and violence, theft, illegal activity, drug sales, drug use, murders, beatings, shootings, stabbings, tasering , a drunk driving death, corporate fraud, racism, classism, abuse, family dysfunction, mental illness, casual sex between multiple characters, at least one allusion to oral sex, accidents, drownings,
gang violence, a lynching, police brutality/corruption, death by cop, and an attempted rape are portrayed throughout the series. There are also zombies and other super natural characters the protagonists must fight off. In the end, the overall arch of the drama is one of redemption and dealing with internal demons, characters do end up focusing on & eventually choosing moral conduct despite grappling with many difficult life experiences, and mature audiences will likely appreciate the complexity and resolution of the story. But younger teens/preteens will need a lot of debriefing and explanation with this show. As a parent, I didn’t appreciate the 14 rating only to realize that all characters are seniors in high school or adults and that the subject matter was way beyond what we’d normally consider a 13/14 year old appropriateness. It’s more cut out for young adults who’ve had some time & experience to know about the world and understand the weight of what’s portrayed here. I’d say a mature 16 y/o or 17+.
My wife and I were looking forward to season 2, but not once did we see a commercial advertisement on Cloak and Dagger. B.S. to rate a great series when not everyone knows about it. Not even on Google. Freeform needs to advertise and play on demand. I'd be watching it now if it was. Now have to see if it's on HULU now that I have a password for it today from our son's subscription.
Get it together FREEFORM. I'm sick of hearing about great shows being on the bubble of cancellation or being cancelled altogether due to morons at the network that expect way to much. Lucifer for example. 10 stars it deserves. Fox cancelled Enterprise. Why......because fox sucks. Pure stupidity. Don't be like FOX!!!!!
Millennials are not the only fans. Quit thinking about millennials, they are not the only fans. They can't even depend on themselves let alone stick around to commit to 1 tv show, let alone multiple tv series. Aftermath was cool, but got cancelled too. Stop with the too high expectations.
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?