Any time a new Marvels show comes to the small screen, there tends to be an increased sense of anticipation that isnt always there with other shows. It could be thanks to the Marvels name, a name that is synonymous to thrilling story lines, captivating characters and enthusiastic fan bases. Maybe it is the fact that graphic novels to screen brings with it an existing understanding of the story and those already in love with it.
Whatever it may be, Wednesday November 22 was another one of these nights where a popular Marvel world met a whole new audience. Marvel Runaways hit the screen thanks to Showcase, and Fangirlish was at their exclusive Toronto screening event to take in all the fun and anticipation.
Held at the Rec Room in Toronto’s entertainment district, you knew its going to be a good time the moment you walked in the door. An adults arcade, with food, drink and games galore, it is sensory overload in all the best ways. The choice of venue brought out the kid, or teenager, in all of us. We’ve all spent some time at arcades in our youth, and many of those times were probably precipitated by the need to escape our parents. Probably not for the same reasons as the Runaways, but the connection between the show and well chosen venue wasn’t missed on us.
Taking in the small room reserved for Showcase’s event, it is a close, comfortable and connected environment from the moment you walk in the door. You are welcomed by staff, and the buzz of anticipation for this new show is almost tangible in the air. Attendees chatted about their Marvel favs, discussed predictions of the show, and dug in to the wonderful treats provided by the staff which included a poutine bar and a donut station. They were speaking directly to Canadian foodies with these options, and it increased the atmosphere of the event.
The lights turned down, and we were immersed into the world of the Runaways. The show has a superhero O.C. feel, which makes sense as it is directed by OC alum Josh Schwartz. You are introduced to 6 seemingly very different teens, all of which facing very different struggles. Chase has to deal with a less than supportive but uber nasty father that you just love to hate from his very first scene. Niko struggles to come to terms with her sisters death as her mom refuses to move on. Karolina hides her pain behind a smile and her faith. Gert wants to change the world for the better, while also being there for little sister Molly who discovers she isnt exactly a normal teenage girl. And at the helm from the start is Alex, a quiet teen who misses his friends. The once close pack seemed to fall apart after the death of Amy, Nikos sister, and since then each have learned to deal in their own ways.
But they all have one very relatable commonality. Discord with their parents. So very typically teenage, but not for long in their cases. By the end of the first episode, you are captivated by their individual story lines, but also the hidden motives of their parents. This isnt a ‘kids out to save the world from an evil force’ type of story. This is all about kids saving the world from their parents.
Episode 2 fleshed out more of the parents motives and backstories, while also bringing the teens a little closer together as they try to decide how to deal with what they have discovered about their parentals. We promise, no spoilers for those who haven’t had the chance to see the episodes, but trust me…secret lairs, creepy rituals, and an epically unusual pet are just some of the things you might just find on this show!
With Marvels, you have an expectation before you even seen the first episode or few minutes of film on the screen. Personally, I have little experience with this world, but my companion for this event is a Marvels aficionado, and is very well versed in the transition from novel to screen. Most comic based shows or movies have the expectation of the immediate impact, the BOOM from the start that sets everything in motion. But this momentum is hard to maintain over long term, as expected with a TV series. One attendee last night was overheard asking ‘when do they run away?’, as by the end of episode 2, they were all still at home. But this isn’t a bad thing in our minds. This slow build of tension and backstory gives you a deeper meaning of the motivations of the characters and the plot, before the dramatics that will drive the story on. The slow burn build of Runaways is a perfect start for longevity, but still keeps your attention and leaves you wanting to know more week to week. So while some may have the typical Marvel expectation of BOOM starts and BANG events, Runaways gives you real story with fun and relatable dialogue and characters.
If you love the comic, don’t fret…it is a show made for comic fans. There will be expansion on the themes from the book, giving you what you know, with a little bit more. If you love teen angst reminiscent of the OC. Yup, it has that too. But one of the best parts is that there is no real obvious villain. Yes, the parents aren’t exactly on the straight and narrow. But they have their reasons, and we have a feeling that they aren’t necessarily all bad. Granted we will have to wait and see.
Following the screening, attendees were set loose on the Rec Room, taking in the fun and games provided to relive our own youth. Again, the setting was perfect for the theme of the night, youthful abandon. Overall, the event was a raving success, with great food, wonderful people and an epic start to what we are certain will be a Marvels TV hit. A million thank you’s to Showcase for having us, and we can’t wait for Runaways to become our newest addiction!