TV Review: Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger

When it comes to Marvel Television, they have taken a multi-pronged approach. Animation is on Disney XD. Big tent productions such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. air on ABC. Hulu has Runaways while Netflix has the dark and mature-themed series featuring “street-level” heroes. Now Marvel has a new partner that is airing a series that fits their young adult audience with Cloak & Dagger.

Since the series features the “slow burn” of many mythology based series, it is hard to talk about the show without giving away something that could be considered a spoiler, however I will try. The series features Tandy Bowen (Disney XD’s Kickin’ It’s Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Broadway’s The Lion King’s Aubrey Joseph). who despite the different backgrounds, find themselves tied together after an accident that gave both of them superpowers. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness.

The performances of the young actors is the true strength of the series. They are some of the best I have seen in all of Marvel Television and Freeform. Despite the black-and-white nature of their powers, this is not a series that deals with black-and-white issues. The nuanced performances allow the characters to convey that complexity without having to say a word. Make no mistake, Holt and Joseph are phenomenal.

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger

The ability to deliver story in silence allows for some fun musical moments that help move the series along without getting wordy. It also gives the audience a chance to breathe and mentally digest, what are surprisingly emotionally complicated situations. This is not a great series to watch while doing other things, you need to give the show your full attention to see every detail.

Another fun component of the series is its setting in New Orleans. The show doesn’t push the city out there in the spotlight, but the unique settings provide some great visual diversity that helps the show stick out amongst other Freeform series and others of a similar ilk. And while the show takes place within the Marvel Universe, the nods to this are slight and probably will not be noticed by most of the audience. This is a good call as the intimate story would feel out of place with constant references to the Avengers and the Battle of New York.

Marvel comics has much more diversity in terms of tone, genre, and settings than they get credit for. Freeform and Marvel picked a property that was able to fit with the Freeform aesthetic without having to violate the core principles of what makes Cloak & Dagger popular. Both fans of Freeform’s content and Marvel fans will find things to love in Cloak & Dagger. Hopefully it will allow both to be exposed to a different type of storytelling that will feel unique to both camps. It is hard to see where this series is going, but I look forward to being along for the ride.
I give Cloak & Dagger 4 out of 5 stars.