‘Runaways’, the acclaimed TV show created for Hulu, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show depicts the story of six teenagers who realize that their parents are not who they seem to be. Alex Wilder, Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean, Gert Yorkes, Chase Stein, and Molly Hernandez figure out that their parents are members of an evil organization called the Pride. To know what exactly their parents are up to, the kids start an investigation of their own. Just like their parents, these children are also endowed with special powers.
Interestingly, Marvel had earlier planned to make a movie on the ‘Runaways’, but after the massive success of ‘Avengers‘ (2012), they shifted their focus to the latter. If we have to describe the genre this series belongs to, we’d have to call it a teenage superhero story, and naturally, this is not the first time a series belonging to this genre is being seen on television. However, this is the first time Hulu has directly released a series which is a part of the MCU. With that said, here’s the list of best shows similar to ‘Runaways’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these series like ‘Runaways’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Young Justice (2010 – Present)
‘Young Justice’ is based on DC characters, but interestingly, the storylines of this series do not belong to the actual DC Universe. Instead, this show can be called an adaptation of the entire DC Universe where the main superheroes are all teenagers. Thus, instead of Superman, Batman, Flash, or Aquaman, our lead characters are mainly their sidekicks — Kid Flash, Speedy, Robin, and Aqualad. Miss Martian, the Martian Manhunter’s niece, and Superboy, portrayed in the series as Superman’s clone, also join Young Justice in the first season. The group initially does not have a name, but they manage to work so well together that Batman helps them form Young Justice and allows them to fight crime on their own. The show was canceled after the second season, which was aired way back in 2013. It was only in 2016 that Warner Bros. Animation announced that the third season was being planned. The first two seasons aired on Cartoon Network and the third season aired on the DC Universe channel.
9. Cloak & Dagger (2018 – Present)
Another teenage Marvel superhero series, ‘Cloak & Dagger’ tells the story of two teenagers, Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen. Their superhero names are Cloak and Dagger respectively. Their fates collide due to a tragedy because of which both of their lives were affected as children. It is only when they grow up and meet, Cloak and Dagger realize their powers are more effective when they work together. Dagger can throw light daggers from her hands, and when she touches people, she can feel their inner hopes and desires. On the other hand, Cloak can understand what someone is afraid of, and he can also send people to a place called the ‘Darkforce Dimension’. Some critics have been critical of the sloppy narrative in certain parts of the show.
8. The Defenders (2017)
This crossover miniseries sees all the Marvel characters (except Punisher) who have their TV shows on Netflix join forces to defeat a common enemy — the evil international criminal organization known as the Hand. That the Hand would be the factor to bring these superheroes together was clear when the organization was mentioned in both ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Iron Fist’, respectively. In this show, Daredevil and Iron Fist are joined by Luke Cage and Jessica Jones in trying to keep New York safe from the biggest threat it has ever faced. All the Marvel shows on Netflix that came out before ‘The Defenders’ paid tribute to different movie genres in their own ways, but in this series, we can say that the nod was to the superhero genre itself.
7. The Gifted (2017 – Present)
Created by Matt Nix, ‘The Gifted’ is a series which is connected to the X-Men films franchise. However, in the timeline where events of ‘The Gifted’ take place, the X-Men have somehow vanished from the picture. The story focuses on a family in which two children, a son, and a daughter, have been born as mutants. While the son Andy has the power of telekinesis, the daughter Lauren can create force fields. However, they live in a time when mutants are looked upon as huge threats to society. Thus, the parents decide to join a community of mutants who are all on the run from the authorities but can protect each other. Some of the mutant characters that we see here are created just for the show and they do not have their comic book counterparts.
6. Legion (2017 – Present)
Similar to ‘The Gifted’, ‘Legion’ is also a story about a mutant who has special powers. Legion is the superhero name of David Haller, who is considered a mentally disabled person since childhood. Later, he comes in contact with other mutants and realizes that his mind has been under the influence of a parasitic mutant called Night King all along. Haller also finds out that he possesses special powers like telekinesis and telepathy. When freed of the notions of his madness, Haller joins forces with other mutants to bring down Night King. ‘Legion’ has been a major critical success, but there was a huge drop in viewership in the second season. This series also exists in the same universe as the X-Men franchise.
5. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992 – 1997)
Marvel’s second attempt at launching a television series attained fruition with this show, after a pilot called ‘X-Men: Pryde of The X-Men’ failed in finding any takers. However, this series, soon after its launch on the Fox Kids network, became very popular with its audience base. Here, each episode deals with an adventure of the X-Men in trying to protect their kind and the world at the same time. Some stories even go on for more than one episode. Interestingly, the series always managed to deal with important social issues like the Holocaust, divorce, AIDS awareness, and others. X-Men itself has always been a metaphorical story, in my opinion. It is the reflection of a society which quickly wants to dissociate from people who are not like them. They think such people are only there to cause harm, thus reflecting the racism that is prevalent throughout the world.
4. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013 – Present)
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is the story of a group of agents who work for an extremely secret organization called S.H.I.E.L.D. as they try to keep the Earth safe from threats. Their biggest enemy is the rogue organization, Hydra. The leading character of this series is Agent Phil Coulson, who we have also seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Clark Gregg plays the character of Coulson, who is the leader of the agents, and he creates a secret team which takes on the toughest of cases. The series is in pertinence with the events of the MCU, and we even see that S.H.I.E.L.D. also has to sign the Sokovia Accords, which became an important issue in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016).
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3. Umbrella Academy (2019 – Present)
Released in February 2019, ‘The Umbrella Academy‘ has quickly become one of the most popular Netflix superhero series. It is a story about six adopted siblings who were born under very special circumstances. They all meet at their father’s funeral after a long time. Each of the six individuals has special powers and all of them, except one, were trained by their father, Sir Hargreeves to grow up to be superheroes. When the siblings gather together, one of them, simply known as ‘The Boy’, tells them that there is an impending apocalypse which might destroy life as we know it and they have to work together to prevent it from happening. The Boy’s special ability is that he can jump through space and time and that is how he was able to know about this impending doom. The series has met with mixed reactions, with some publications being critical of its slow pace.
2. Avengers Assemble (2013 – 2019)
‘Avengers: Assemble’ was created after the 2012 ‘Avengers’ movie’s thunderous box office success. In this series, the protagonist is Falcon, who is the newest member of the superheroes’ ensemble, and it is through his point of view that we see the events of this show. Here, the Avengers comprise of Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, and of course, Falcon himself. Some events which we have seen in the movies also find their way in this series. In the first season, we see how the Avengers stop Red Skull and Hydra from carrying on their experiments of creating a super soldier. Marvel characters like Dracula, Hyperion, and Attuma also join Hydra in trying to defeat the Avengers. Later, we see the Avengers fight Thanos and save the world from Ultron.
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1. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010 – 2013)
‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ is the fifth animated series by Marvel Animation. It revolves around the famous Avengers characters, but there are some dissimilarities from the MCU canon. Here, the initial members of Avengers are Iron Man, Hank Pym, Wasp, Thor, and Hulk. It is only later in the first season that Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Panther join their ranks. In this series, the story arcs were influenced directly from the comics originally written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In the first season, we find the Avengers fighting the Enchantress and the Executioner, while in the second season, the Avengers track down an evil conglomerate called Masters of Evil. Nick Fury is introduced in the series for the first time in season 2, apart from Vision, Miss Marvel, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Scott Lang, and others.
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