A Tale of Two Teen Dramas

I binged two teen-focused series while visiting my brother’s house this Christmas, Riverdale and Runaways. The difference was striking. Runaways is everything Riverdale isn’t. Complex, conflicted, imperfect characters who aren’t stereotypes in dramatic, not melodramatic, situations. It almost completely avoids monologuing. (Frank Dean does monologue his motivations at one point early in Season 2, a scene that is jarring only because it’s so out of place with the subtext and show-don’t-tell that reveals the other characters in the series.)

In many ways this show surpasses the comic book series it’s based on, especially when it comes to the parents, who were a little cardboard in the original. This show alone will get me to sign up for Hulu at least long enough to finish watching Season 2.

The thing that most impressed me was that I could almost never tell where Runways was going. By contrast, Riverdale is almost laughably predictable, like the plot is on rails. It never misses a chance to rehash the same old tropes and stereotypes. Runaways feels like the writers sat down at the end of every scene and made a list of the ten most obvious things that could happen next, then picked number 11.

I also started Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a really well done show too, but far too creepy for me to watch past Episode 1. Your preference may vary.

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