Marvel Announces New TV Series Pilot for Another Streaming Service
Marvel’s gotten good press from its series on Netflix, with Jessica Jones getting lots of great reaction; Daredevil having multiple seasons; and the coming release of Luke Cage on September 30 much anticipated.
This is in contrast to the mixed performance of Marvel’s shows on traditional networks. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC has struggled, although the movie tie-in gave it a boost, and the planned Mockingbird spin-off Marvel’s Most Wanted was not picked up. The best of them all, Agent Carter made it to two seasons, but I think its appeal has been hampered by the first season DVD set being an Amazon exclusive, with no word yet when the fun, set-in-Hollywood second season will be available.
Now Marvel is expanding in another direction. Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage will be writing and producing a Runaways pilot for Hulu (which has recently eliminated its free service in favor of developing more content to build its streaming subscriber base). ABC Signature (“ABC Studios’ boutique division, spearheading development and production in premium and basic cable, emerging platforms and off-cycle, direct to series programming”) will co-produce. They’re also the ones behind Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, currently in production for Freeform (formerly ABC Family).
The premise of the Runaways comic, as originally created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, revolved around a group of six teens discovering that their parents were super-villains. The kids banded together, in spite of their differences and disagreements, to stop them. The original series ran 18 issues from 2003-2004, with several attempts at relaunches since, including some issues written by Joss Whedon.
The concept had a little bit of everything, since of the original group, one was a witch, one an alien, one telepathic (with a dinosaur pal), one a mutant, one a future tech user, and one just super-smart and devious. Later they met a cyborg and a shape-shifter. In its time, the series was unusual for reaching out to a younger, more diverse audience than the typical Marvel superhero comic reader.
Marvel had originally planned for a Runaways movie, but a TV show — although this is just a pilot — seems a better match.