Hulu’s Runaways faced a rare challenge for a superhero show. While fans might have favorite stories and characters they wanted to see in any onscreen story about Daredevil, Flash, or the Teen Titans, there are so many versions of those heroes that there isn’t a clear agreed-upon storyline writers would be expected to follow. That isn’t true for Runaways. While Marvel rebooted the comics series this year, for most readers, it was defined by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s original run, which introduced the characters in 2003. When Hulu began adapting the series, showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage faced the question of how to make the most of the existing material, but their attempts to weave together established content and new plots stripped the focus from the characters who made the comics great.

In season 1, a group of Los Angeles teens learn that their parents have spent years regularly sacrificing runaway kids to their mysterious alien benefactor Jonah (Julian McMahon), in exchange for wealth and power. The teens also discover that most of them have some form of super power. Eventually, after far too many episodes, they finally run away, vowing to take down their parents. The decision to leave home happens much faster in the comics, but in season 1 of the show, it’s delayed by seemingly endless scenes between the parents, some of whom the writers are desperately trying to make sympathetic, in spite of all that murder for profit.

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