Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger: Is the new superhero show worth a watch?


Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger is stepping into a crowded space when it premieres next week, but the premiere alone shows that it has a lot of potential.

Although DC Comics shows are more obvious in the world of TV right now (mostly because they’re concentrated almost entirely on one network), Marvel isn’t far behind between Netflix, ABC, Hulu, and now Freeform with the upcoming Cloak & Dagger. Yours truly attended an advance screening of the first episode, and I’ll admit: I was a little worried I wouldn’t want to sit through next week’s premiere.

Suffice it to say that I need to see more of this show immediately. The pilot definitely has some weak points, but all in all, it feels like this show could go places.

Although both Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph seem well-cast as Tandy Bowen (Dagger) and Tyrone Johnson (Cloak), it’s Joseph that makes the stronger overall impression in the premiere episode. His Ty delivers lines calling Tandy a “crazy white girl” and to his mother about what might happen if he misses a day of school with equally convincing emotions both times. Admittedly, Holt evens things up towards the end of the premiere, but for the most part, Cloak is a little more fun than Dagger right now — even in his younger incarnation.

Yes, there are younger versions of Tandy and Ty. However, they actually appear in more than one flashback (!) and are really well-cast, too.

The show also takes nods from some of its Marvel kin (or, one wonders, Black Lightning over on the DC side of things) in choosing to depict police shooting an unarmed young black man (who happens to be Ty’s older brother) as well as an attempted rape just within the first episode. But those elements don’t feel forced in. It’s still uncomfortable to watch them, but kudos to the show for stepping right in there and establishing from the word go that Ty and Tandy exist in a world that’s really not dissimilar from our world right now.

If there’s a weakness to Cloak & Dagger, at least at the start, it’s in the dialogue. Some of it is pitch-perfect. I’m still giggling at Ty’s bewildered “crazy white girl” line. But that only sharpens when the dialogue feels a little off or flat — Tandy’s storyline suffers a bit here too. The show is also taking things slow in terms of powers; these two don’t quite know what they’re doing yet, and hopefully, it avoids a training montage in the future.

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But if you’re worried that Freeform’s generally-teen image means that Cloak & Dagger doesn’t have anything new to offer, worry not. With Gina Prince-Bythewood both directing this first episode and executive producing, as well as a strong cast, a willingness to take its time, and some legitimate mysteries already, Cloak & Dagger looks like it’s just in time to keep this summer super alongside Luke Cage on Netflix.