Runaways

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Runaways TV Poster Image
Underage drinking, sci-fi violence in superhero soap opera.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's teen characters are on the side of humanity and peace, the older characters (most, anyway) are on the side of power, money, and evil, though some clearly care about their kids and notice how and what they're doing. Characters frequently mock each other: Gert is called a "loser" and an "insufferable social justice warrior," Chase a "roided-out jockstrap" and a "dumb jock."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are complicated and have soap opera-ish problems: things from their past, things they are ashamed of, failings they suffer from. There are so many characters it's hard to focus on just one, but Alex emerges as an emotionally intelligent character who isn't afraid to show his friends that he cares about them. 

Violence

It's set in a superhero fantasy world, so expect sci-fi-type violence: beams of light that knock people unconscious; super-strong characters who throw others against the wall; a comatose figure with eerie flaking skin wearing a creepy breathing apparatus in a hospital room. Some violence also has a sexual edge: a teen girl passes out at a party; two teen boys take her upstairs and start unbuckling her clothing before she is rescued by another boy. A woman walking down a dark street is set upon by men who grab her shoulders; she punches their hands away. Two women taser someone. 

 

Sex

Expect flirting, dating, same- and opposite-sex kissing and the occasional salty reference, as when a mom advises her teen daughter to ease menstrual cramps by going into the bathroom and giving herself an orgasm because the "oxytocins are natural pain relief." 

Language

Language includes "ass," "s--t," "hell," "douche" (used as an insult). A girl putting on makeup in a mirror shoots herself a two-handed bird. A girl is called "loser" repeatedly. 

Consumerism

The evil parents live in a fancy section of Los Angeles; the kids go to an upscale private school. Houses are huge and elegant, with expensive furnishings and appointments. Brands of computers, phones, and other products are concealed. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink from red Solo cups at a party with "no IDs needed." A girl is given a pill by a strange (and older looking) man who asks "Wanna party?" "What does it do?" the girl asks. "Set you free," says the man. Later, when the girl passes out, two teen boys try to rape her in a bedroom. We see later that she didn't take the pill. A group of teens sneak into a home office to drink their parents' liquor; they pour drinks from a decanter of brown liquid but don't end up drinking them. 

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytesuji November 26, 2017

Not for teens

Too much bad content. I wouldn't want my teens to watch this. The first episode has kidnapping, attempted sexual assault, teen swearing, teen drugs, teen d... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 and 17 year old Written byAndi G. January 4, 2018

Hulu’s reviewer needs to add more to some details.

Hmmm ... let me start off by saying What was Hulu’s reviewer thinking??? This show has mature themes. Not common enough, to hold back. They should be more fort... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 22, 2017

A fun sci fi adventure for comic fans

Honestly this show has like no violence but there's drinking, sexual stuff, kidnapping, and of course swearing. It's better for mature viewers.
Teen, 14 years old Written byarnyboy December 18, 2017

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? 

  • How do the teens in Runaways demonstrate courage and teamwork in opposing their parents and the Church of Gibborim? Why are these important character strengths?

  • 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

TV details

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