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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Runaways is a show based on the same-named Marvel comic book series about a group of teens with otherworldly powers and their parents, who are involved in a murky enterprise. Some content gets a bit iffy, particularly a scene in which a teen girl is given a mysterious pill by an odd, older man and then, after she passes out, is taken to a back bedroom by two teen boys who start undoing her clothes. Teens also seem to take drinking casually, drinking from their parents' liquor cabinets and from red Solo cups at a party. Expect flirting, dating, same- and opposite-sex kissing, and scenes like one in which a mom advises her daughter to give herself an orgasm to get menstrual cramp pain relief. Language includes "ass," "s--t," and "hell," as well as insults like "douche," "loser," and "roided-out jockstrap." Most of the characters live in an upscale Los Angeles suburb where kids go to private school and parents have wine cellars, pools, and fancy cars.
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What's the story?
Teens tend to think their parents are lame, annoying, out of touch. But what if your parents were actually evil supervillains? When RUNAWAYS' six Los Angeles teens accidentally stumble onto their parents' terrible secret, they know they can't just stand by and let things happen. But these are no ordinary teens. Gifted with superpowers that let them see, hear, understand, and do things that other people can't, these misfits band together to try to figure out their parents' devastating plan. They may have nothing in common -- but trying to save the world is a pretty good common goal to start with.
Is it any good?
With multiple storylines, more than a dozen main characters, and a mishmash of genres, this superhero soap should be a great big mess -- instead, it's complex and compelling. The last time such an appealing group of teens with nothing in common were pulled together, they were doing detention together in The Breakfast Club. Here, they're working on something a little more serious than sneaking around their high school, but Runaways scores by anchoring its otherworldly elements in high school drama, where a cheerleader audition takes on as much emotional weight as working out why your parents like to gather in a mysterious basement temple in red robes making human sacrifices. And so jock-with-a-heart Chase (Gregg Sulkin), "perfect church girl" (who happens to be gay) Karolina (Virginia Gardner), punky feminist Gert (Ariela Barer), grieving goth Nico (Lyrica Okano), insecure wannabe Molly (Allegra Acosta), and lonely brain Alex (Rhenzy Feliz) have something new in common.
Runaways excels, too, at ferreting out the emotional core of its high-concept plot. Adolescents discovering their powers (and the obvious puberty metaphor) is a superhero trope, but when Molly realizes what she thought were period cramps were instead the onset of her super-strength, she jumps into the air with infectious glee. "Yes! Yes! I did it!" she crows. Now this is a character with agency, and it's thrilling to watch. Try this exciting, escapist drama out for whole-family viewing -- it's got something for everybody.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different genres Runaways fits into. Is it a superhero show? A teen soap opera? A drama about rich people with fancy problems? Does the mix of genres make this show more interesting, or less so?
A common drama plot device is to bring together a group of strangers who don't have a lot in common and build them into a team. A common way to strengthen their bonds is to give them a common enemy. What is the common enemy in Runaways?
Find more TV shows that help kids build character.