Cloak & Dagger (TV series)
|Cloak & Dagger|
|Created by||Joe Pokaski|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||7 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–49 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney–ABC Domestic Television|
|Original release||June 7, 2018– present|
|Related shows||Marvel Cinematic Universe television series|
Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, or simply Cloak & Dagger, is an American cable television series created for Freeform by Joe Pokaski, based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise. The series is produced by ABC Signature Studios, Marvel Television, and Wandering Rocks Productions, with Pokaski serving as showrunner.
The series stars Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as Tandy Bowen / Dagger and Tyrone Johnson / Cloak, two teenagers who acquire superpowers and form a romantic relationship. A television series featuring Cloak and Dagger entered development for ABC Family in July 2011. In April 2016, Cloak & Dagger received a series order for Freeform, the new name of ABC Family, and by that August, Pokaski had joined the series as showrunner and executive producer. Holt and Joseph were cast in January 2017, with Gloria Reuben, Andrea Roth, J. D. Evermore, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, Emma Lahana, and Jaime Zevallos also starring in the series. Filming for the series takes place in New Orleans.
The series, consisting of 10 episodes, premiered on June 7, 2018 and will run through August 2. The series was met with positive reviews, praising the interaction between Holt and Joseph, the use of New Orleans, and the story, but was criticized for the pacing in the early episodes.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Production
- 5 Release
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In New Orleans, teenagers Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson come from different backgrounds and have acquired superpowers after a life-changing event that revolved around the collapse of the Roxxon Gulf Platform. While forming a romantic relationship, they soon realize that their powers work better when they are together, "but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging."
Cast and characters
- Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen / Dagger:
A teenager and street thief who is connected to Tyrone Johnson through a shared childhood tragedy, with the ability to emit light daggers. Showrunner Joe Pokaski felt Bowen in the series was "more cynical" than previous portrayals, and noted that when she touches people she can access "their hopes. There’s something exciting about having a cynical character like Tandy who steals things and doesn’t believe in the good of man, yet sees the best in them when she touches them and sees their deepest hopes and desires." Rachel Ryals portrays a young Tandy.
- Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson / Cloak:
A teenager, who is connected to Tandy Bowen through a shared childhood tragedy, with the ability to engulf others in darkness and transport them through the shadowy Darkforce dimension. Johnson has the ability to witness people's greatest fears, having been "living in a world of fear" since the death of his older brother Billy eight years previously. Pokaski added, "There was something interesting in helping him to understand that everyone is afraid." Maceo Smedley III portrays a young Tyrone.
- Gloria Reuben as Adina Johnson: Tyrone's mother who invests heavily in making sure her son has a good life.
- Andrea Roth as Melissa Bowen: Tandy's drug and alcohol-addicted yet optimistic mother.
- J. D. Evermore as Det. Connors: An intimidating scar-faced detective of the New Orleans Police Department's vice squad with a disturbing secret. He is responsible for shooting Billy to death when the Roxxon Gulf Platform exploded.
- Miles Mussenden as Otis Johnson: Tyrone's working class father who tries to provide for his family and is also an associate of the Wild Red Hawks. The character was originally announced as being named Michael.
- Carl Lundstedt as Liam Walsh: Tandy's partner in crime and ex-boyfriend.
- Emma Lahana as Brigid O'Reilly: A detective from Harlem with hardened New York sensibilities who believes no one is above the law, including other cops.
- Jaime Zevallos as Delgado: A school counselor and priest who is constantly seeking redemption and questions the life he has chosen.
- Noëlle Renée Bercy as Evita Fusilier:
A friend and love interest of Tyrone's. Bercy, who is from New Orleans, was familiar with the voodoo culture of the city, and was able to speak to people regarding it for her part.
- Marqus Clae as Billy Johnson: Tyrone's older brother who is shot and killed by Connors the night when the Roxxon Gulf Platform collapsed. Carsyn Taylor portrays a young Billy.
- Mike Donovan as Rick Cotton: A rich bachelor that Tandy robs. He attempts to rape her, but gets stabbed and ends up in the hospital.
- Wayne Péré as Peter Scarborough: The CEO at Roxxon Gulf who is responsible for ruining Nathan Bowen's name and confiscating his work following his death.
- Dalon J. Holland as Duane Porter: A friend of Billy Johnson and sawmill worker who is working with Connors. He is killed by O'Reilly.
- Andy Dylan as Nathan Bowen: Tandy's father and a worker at Roxxon Gulf who was killed in a car accident the night when the Roxxon Gulf Platform collapsed.
- Lane Miller as Fuchs: A New Orleans police officer and O'Reilly's love interest.
- Gary Weeks as Greg Pressfield: Melissa's "boyfriend" who is a lawyer looking into the Roxxon case involving Nathan's work that was confiscated during his posthumous firing. He is later killed by a hitwoman posing as a water jug delivery person.
- Angela Davis as Chantelle: Evita's aunt who is a voodoo priestess.
- Ally Maki as Mina Hess: An environmental engineer at Roxxon Gulf who befriends Tandy. Hannah Hardin portrays a younger Mina.
- Tim Kang as Ivan Hess: Mina's father who worked with Nathan Bowen at Roxxon Gulf. After surviving the collapse of the Roxxon Gulf Platform, Ivan is in the hospital in a catatonic state. Thanks to Tyrone and Tandy, Ivan has been brought out of his catatonic state.
- James Saito as Bernard Sanjo: Tyrone's unusual friend who is an emotional cornerstone in his life.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||"First Light"||Gina Prince-Bythewood||Joe Pokaski||June 7, 2018||0.919|
|A young Tandy Bowen is picked up from ballet by her father, Nathan, while a young Tyrone Johnson is dissuaded from stealing a car radio by his brother, Billy, only for them to be chased by cops. The Roxxon Gulf Platform suddenly explodes distracting Nathan causing him and Tandy to crash into the ocean and “accidentally” causing Detective Connors to shoot Billy who also falls into the ocean. Tyrone jumps in to rescue his brother, but a strange energy force surges from the oil rig giving Tandy and Tyrone the powers of light and dark, respectively. Years later, Tandy robs rich people with her boyfriend Liam and hardly lives at home with her mother Melissa as her lawyer boyfriend Greg works on a case against Roxxon. Tyrone now deals with problems at school that scare his parents Otis and Adina. While at a party, Tyrone and Tandy reunite and discover they have powers. Tandy is later assaulted by a man she previously robbed and accidentally stabs him with a light dagger when he tries to rape her. Meanwhile, Tyrone encounters Connors and briefly fights him before discovering he can teleport. It is revealed that after the accident, Tandy had taken Tyrone's hoodie while Tyrone had taken one of Tandy's ballet slippers.|
|2||"Suicide Sprints"||Alex Garcia Lopez||Joe Pokaski||June 7, 2018||0.750|
|Detective Brigid O'Reilly begins investigating the stabbing of Rick which frightens Tandy. She confides in Liam about the night and he decides to get her a new identity and skip town. Tyrone becomes obsessed with catching Connors, but ends up neglecting basketball practice. He attempts to make up for it at the suggestion of Father Delgado, but his teammates beat him up due to his absences. When Tyrone returns home, he and Adina make up and his powers allow him to see her greatest fear, losing him after his brother Billy. When Tandy discovers that Melissa took her stolen money for drugs, she and Liam decide to rob a wedding. Tandy's powers cause her to see that Liam genuinely cares about her and wants to help which scares her. Their robbery is successful and they steal a car to escape. As Tandy leaves town, Liam gets arrested by O'Reilly. He calls Tandy, but she ignores him. Tyrone takes Adina's gun and confronts Connors. Just as he is about to pull the trigger, Tyrone's anger swells, causing him to unintentionally teleport away. He ends up in the middle of the street where Tandy is driving, and fires a bullet through her windshield causing her to swerve and crash.|
|3||"Stained Glass"||Peter Hoar||Story by : Ariella Blejer & Dawn Kamoche |
Teleplay by : Peter Calloway
|June 14, 2018||0.548|
|O'Reilly confronts Rick in the ICU and while he feigns recollection, she deduces that he was trying to rape Tandy. She nevertheless figures out her part in his stabbing. After recovering from the crash, Tandy returns home to Melissa and Greg. O'Reilly arrives looking for Tandy, but they protect her with Greg stating that O'Reilly needs a warrant to come in. After O'Reilly leaves, Melissa found that Tandy snuck out the window. She gets on a bus and falls asleep. Tyrone meets with his classmate Evita who invites him to her job as a New Orleans tour guide so they can see voodoo priestess Auntie Chantelle for spiritual guidance. He buys various charms and spices and takes a bath with them. Both experience a surreal vision of each other with Tandy attempting to stop Tyrone from engaging in a revenge mission against Connors and Tyrone stopping Tandy from running away from her problems and confront her past. Both awaken with clear consciences and a realization that they need each other. Connors meets with O'Reilly who closes her case about the attack, frustrating her. Tandy meets with her privately to explain her story which she accepts. Tyrone pursues a relationship with Evita before confronting Tandy at her abandoned church home about their connection.|
|4||"Call/Response"||Ami Canaan Mann||Christine Boylan & Marcus J. Guillory||June 21, 2018||0.606|
|Tyrone and Tandy talk about their personal lives and issues with themselves and each other while scenes taking place afterwards are intercut. Ultimately, the two leave bitter about each other. Tyrone decides to falsify a stolen bike, but cannot stand being in a police station for too long. Otis discovers that Tyrone stole his bolt cutter and fearful that he will become a criminal takes him to see Big Chief Roland Duplantier of the Wild Red Hawks, a Mardi Gras tribe. Tyrone learns that Billy was designing a cloak for the next march and with Otis' approval, decides to finish making it. Tandy is unsure of Melissa's relationship with the married Greg, but discovers that he genuinely cares for her and Tandy and decides to help him research Roxxon for the case. Melissa breaks up with Greg and when Tandy goes to check on him, sees him getting assassinated and his office is burned down. Melissa tries to call Greg unaware of his fate. Tandy tries to commit suicide by drowning, but uses her powers to escape the ropes and chains she tied. Tyrone returns to the police station determined and asks for O'Reilly while Tandy returns to the burnt remains of Greg's office and pulls out some hidden Roxxon files in the back.|
|5||"Princeton Offense"||Ry Russo-Young||Niceole R. Levy & Joe Pokaski||June 28, 2018||0.509|
|Tyrone asks O'Reilly for help in implicating Connors. She agrees, but tells him to keep away for his safety. Tandy later informs Tyrone that she can control her powers. While at home, Tyrone teleports to Billy's friend Duane Porter who now runs a home building enterprise and the two catch up. Tandy applies as an intern at Roxxon Gulf under the alias of Liz to get close to the higher-ups and uses her powers to see that many of them wish to overthrow their CEO. Tyrone plays the basketball tournament, but during halftime, he accidentally teleports to a Roxxon party Tandy is attending and both discover that the CEO of Roxxon Gulf is Peter Scarborough who was responsible for defaming Nathan. Tandy gets Tyrone to teleport back just in time for the game to resume. As Tyrone plays, he picks up on the opposing team players' fears and ends up throwing the game for them. Tandy meets Scarborough and uses her powers to see that he is a greedy man. O'Reilly tries to get close with Connors by pretending to be a corrupted addict. After a night with Evita, Tyrone discovers that Duane is working with Connors and that he knows the truth about Billy's death. Tandy meets Mina Hess the daughter of Ivan who worked with Nathan for Roxxon Gulf.|
|6||"Funhouse Mirrors"||Jennifer Phang||J. Holtham & Jenny Klein||July 5, 2018||0.499|
|Evita and Auntie Chantelle begin studying Tyrone and discover that he is part of the "Divine Pairing" and that either he or Tandy will have to die. Tyrone attempts to get a job with Duane and learns that one of his associates Kev runs drugs for him on the side. Tandy decides to become an intern for Mina to get close to her and they visit a local swamp to study the surrounding nature. At Tandy's suggestion, Tyrone decides to steal Kev's bag. O'Reilly pairs up with Connors to do a drug bust with the latter attempting to stall. Tandy learns a lot about Ivan and Nathan from Mina, but after helping her repair some pipes, Mina realizes who Tandy is and leaves. She follows her to meet Ivan and discovers that he is in a catatonic state in the hospital and that her hope touch cannot see his mind. Mina forgives Tandy afterwards. When O'Reilly and Connors chase Kev and his friends, Kev drops his bag and Tyrone returns it to Duane who reveals that he witnessed Billy's death, angering Tyrone. Connors enters Duane's building and Tyrone hides to hear Connors plan to kill O'Reilly. However, when O'Reilly enters, she shoots and kills Duane and Connors chases Tyrone who manages to teleport away to the church. Tandy reunites with him and Tyrone cries over his dead friend.|
|7||"Lotus Eaters"||Paul Edwards||Joe Pokaski & Peter Calloway||July 12, 2018||0.538|
|As Tyrone recovers, Tandy asks that he help her in entering Ivan's subconscious. They do so and discover Ivan has been reliving the final moments of the Roxxon Oil Rig explosion for the past eight years. He is also optimistically passive as he cannot remember how much time has passed, nor can he remember his name or Mina. The rig is also crawling with Roxxon employees who have been affected by the same energy source that had given them their powers and have turned into psychopathic killers. Ivan informs them that they need to turn off all the valves and press an emergency button. Tyrone does so, but nothing happens. Tandy discovers that her father Nathan has been calling and overcome with longing picks up the phone every loop to call him. Tyrone briefly leaves for a couple of seconds, but returns to discover that time is much longer in Ivan's mind. Tyrone convinces Tandy that she is not talking to her father when she notices an inconsistency. Tandy snaps Ivan out of his passiveness when she brings up Mina's cookies and they work together to escape Ivan's loop. In the real world, Ivan is reunited with Mina and Tandy and Tyrone talk over the phone with the latter playing a recording of his late older brother years ago.|
|8||"Ghost Stories"||TBA||TBA||July 19, 2018||TBD|
|9||"Back Breaker"||TBA||TBA||July 26, 2018||TBD|
|10||"Colony Collapse"||TBA||TBA||August 2, 2018||TBD|
Wayne Yip directed an episode in the series.
At San Diego Comic-Con International 2011, head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb announced the series Cloak & Dagger was in development at ABC Family. The series, which would be set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, would follow Cloak and Dagger as the two "find each other and realize that their powers both complement and complicate their lives." In April 2016, the series received a straight-to-series order for Freeform, the new name of ABC Family, from ABC Signature Studios and Marvel Television, with the search for a showrunner underway. The order consisted of 10 episodes. By August 2016, Joe Pokaski had signed on to the series as showrunner and executive producer, with Loeb and Jim Chory also serving as executive producers. Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, and Karim Zreik also serve as executive producers, while Jenny Klein produces the series.
Writing for Cloak & Dagger began by the end of August 2016, with Pokaski re-writing his initial script that November. When announcing the series, Freeform called it their "first venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe", and described it as a "superhero love story", a premise that Variety called "a seamless fit for Freeform" given the channel's target audience of "Becomers" (the 14–34 age demographic). Addressing this, Loeb said, "It's a love story that happens to have characters that have always traditionally been in that age group. It's not like we took something and made it into a [young adult fiction (YA)]. It speaks to a YA audience and is a YA property. Would I do Punisher on Freeform? I don't think that's going to connect the same way." Olivia Holt felt the series explored "the story of what a white female is going through in 2018 and what a black young male is going through in 2018. We see these characters unfold into themselves in the most complex ways". Pokaski created an 80-page "bible" for the first season, feeling he followed a good portion of it, while still allowing himself and the writers the ability to deviate from it if better story points arose. Pokaski was pleased with the diversity of the writers for the series, as they could "represent things that I don’t understand". With a majority of black writers, they could "really talk about issues" such as "the story of two young men, driving through New Orleans and talking about their reality and how justice is for other people", while the women writers "really keep [Pokaski] honest as to how to push the envelope and tell the story of a young woman who’s a superhero".
Pokaski spoke about the differences in Cloak and Dagger's origin story from the comics, saying, "I think the original [comic] stories were fantastic, but for the time, while they were a little progressive, they were a little bit sexist and racist once you got into it, for now. What we tried to do was deconstruct it and make it about Tandy and Tyrone, understand who they were." He also felt Loeb's idea of having the duo live in New Orleans, opposed to New York City as in the comics, was a "great idea". Pokaski did not want to rush the romantic relationship between the duo, insisting that the season is "more about finding your best friend... this show is about ‘There’s exactly one person who understands me.'” He also hoped the series would last long enough to allow for “an interesting path to their relationship.” Structurally for the series, Pokaski felt the first four episodes was the series first act, where viewers get to understand Tandy and Tyrone individually, the next three "are about them coming together comprehensively, not only as a team, but as best friends", before concluding with the last three episodes.
Regarding a second season, Pokaski noted "Colony Collapse" would leave "some stuff open, intentionally" though its post-credit scene is "tremendously definitive... that will help define some of the" direction for a potential second season. Pokaski has an intent to create 100 episodes for the series, with "a definitive plan for five season" created.
In January 2017, it was announced that Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph had been cast as Tandy Bowen / Dagger and Tyrone Johnson / Cloak, respectively. Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director of the first episode, called the casting process "really, really tough… it was three days before we were supposed to leave [to begin filming] and we didn't find [actors for Tandy and Tyrone]. People started getting willing to settle and the people that were on the table were 27, 28. They felt grown and it didn't feel right for the show. Then Aubrey and Olivia walked in the door, and they had such great chops individually".
The following month, Andrea Roth was cast as Melissa Bowen, Tandy's mother; Gloria Reuben and Miles Mussenden were cast as Tyrone's parents, Adina and Otis Johnson; and Carl Lundstedt and J. D. Evermore were cast as Liam Walsh and Connors, respectively. Emma Lahana and Jaime Zevallos also star as Brigid O'Reilly and Delgado.
Filming for the series had begun by February 8, 2017, in New Orleans, under the working title Shadows. In December 2016, Disney planned to spend $11.2 million, of a total $42 million budget for the first season of the show, in Louisiana, over an 86-day filming period. Filming on the pilot episode wrapped on February 24, 2017. Photography on the remainder of the first season resumed in New Orleans on July 24. Filming locations included the Le Pavillon Hotel. Filming officially wrapped on November 2. The season features many hand-held camera shots that established the "look and feel" of the series, in part because Pokaski "didn’t want to wait for a dolly track to be laid".
Mark Isham announced in May 2017 that he would compose the music for the series, having previously collaborated with the show's premiere director Gina Prince-Bythewood on the films The Secret Life of Bees and Beyond the Lights. Isham described the series as "extremely character driven" and focused on the difficult childhoods of the title characters, so his score is "dark, but also young enough to keep up with the teenage cast." The score was expected to have "a jazzy New Orleans flair." Additionally, multiple songs are featured throughout the series. Some of these were collected and released on a digital soundtrack album on June 8, 2018, by Marvel Music and Hollywood Records. The release includes series' star Olivia Holt's cover of the song "Come Sail Away".
|Cloak & Dagger (Original Television Series Soundtrack)|
|1.||"Come Sail Away"||Olivia Holt||5:38|
|3.||"Leave the Light On"||Overcoats||3:18|
|6.||"Get What I Came For"||The Phantoms||2:50|
|7.||"Run Wild"||Thutmose & NoMBe||2:41|
|8.||"To The Grave"||Bea Miller & Mike Stud||3:56|
|10.||"It’s a Crying Shame"||The Roues Brothers||2:23|
Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins
Freeform executive Karey Burke said in April 2017 that the series is "not particularly connected" to New Warriors, which was slated to air on Freeform at the time, given "their tones are so wildly different", adding, "There are many degrees of separation with where they fall in the Marvel universe. But anything is possible with Marvel." In July, Loeb said there were no plans to crossover, nor to crossover across networks with the similarly themed Marvel's Runaways on Hulu. He added that Marvel wanted the series to find its footing before further connecting with other elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, saying "You'll see things that comment on each other; we try to touch base wherever we can... things that are happening in L.A. [where Runaways is set] are not exactly going to be affecting what's happening in New Orleans... It's being aware of it and trying to find a way for it to be able to discuss in a way that makes sense." Ahead of the series premiere, considering the larger events of the MCU at that point, Pokaski said he was "not allowed to talk about" how the series would connect to the events of Avengers: Infinity War but stated "We’ve had some exciting conversations about how we could artfully cross Tandy and Tyrone over [to other Marvel properties]. The beauty of these two is that they can show up anywhere [and it makes sense].”
Roxxon Gulf, a division of the Roxxon Corporation company that has been featured throughout the MCU, is seen in the series. The Darkforce dimension which fuels Cloak's powers was previously established in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter. Pokaski stated that "There are at least a dozen Easter eggs in the first season that Marvel approved, and a few more that I snuck in there." O'Reilly discusses formerly working in Harlem in the series, while her move to New Orleans is mentioned by her former New York colleagues in the second season of Luke Cage.
Cloak & Dagger premiered on Freeform on June 7, 2018, with the series consisting of 10 episodes and running through August 2. It was originally intended to premiere in 2017 when it was first ordered to series. ABC Spark airs the series in Canada, also starting on June 7, with Amazon Video airing the series in the United Kingdom and select additional European countries, starting on June 8, 2018.
The first trailer for the series was released on April 19, 2017, ahead of Freeform's 2017 upfront presentation. The A.V. Club's William Hughes described the trailer as dark and moody, "the grimmest entry we've seen from Marvel TV to date." He felt that Joseph and Holt "look like they're game to capture the necessary 'You're the only person on Earth who gets me' vibe" that is central to the comic characters. Ben Pearson at /Film said the trailer looked "dangerously cheesy", and as "over the top" as other Freeform shows. He added, "It also doesn't look very much like other Marvel shows. So if all else fails, at least this will be an experiment to see how well Marvel's products can transition within genres and play to different audiences." Rob Cave for Comic Book Resources felt setting the series in New Orleans "gives audiences a glimpse of part of the Marvel Universe, and of America, that is seen on screen far less often than the mythical realms of Asgard or the sci-fi cities of Xandar Prime, let alone the over-exposed metropolises of New York and LA. The move also gives Cloak and Dagger's story its own space, far from the clutter and the clamor of the multitudes of superheroes already established across" the MCU. In August 2017, exclusive clips from the series were shown at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. The series was part of Freeform's "activation zone" at New York Comic Con 2017. Holt, Joseph, Pokaski, and Prince-Bythewood appeared at South by Southwest 2018 on March 11 at the Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, as well as at WonderCon 2018 on March 23, to discuss the series and screen the first episode. A trailer was released on March 20, 2018.
Holt, Joseph, Lahana, Maki, Pokaski, and Loeb will appear at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con to promote the series and present an exclusive look. The series will also have two different interactive activations at "The Experience" at Petco Park, including a bungee experience that propels participants backwards, replicating the force of Tyrone and Tandy's power when they interact, and a station centered on Roxxon, where participants can create a badge giving them access to prizes from PlayStation Vue and Freeform.
|1||"First Light"||June 7, 2018||0.3||0.919||0.3||0.831||0.6||1.751|
|2||"Suicide Sprints"||June 7, 2018||0.3||0.750||0.3||0.727||0.6||1.478|
|3||"Stained Glass"||June 14, 2018||0.2||0.548||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|4||"Call/Response"||June 21, 2018||0.2||0.606||0.3||0.729||0.5||1.335|
|5||"Princeton Offense"||June 28, 2018||0.2||0.509||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|6||"Funhouse Mirrors"||July 5, 2018||0.2||0.499||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|7||"Lotus Eaters"||July 12, 2018||0.2||0.538||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
After three days, "First Light" had 1.64 million total viewers, which was a 78% increase from its initial viewers, the largest three-day lift for any Freeform debut. It was also the best series launch on Freeform in two years and Freeform’s most-watched drama since "Till Death Do Us Part", the series finale of Pretty Little Liars in June 2017. "First Light" also had the biggest digital debut ever for the network, with 716,000 starts. The premiere drew 7.3 million views across linear and digital platforms and was Thursday’s most-social scripted series with 112,000 engagements across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 89% approval rating with an average rating of 7.78/10 based on 31 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cloak & Dagger blends soapy drama with superhero grit to create an exciting, surprisingly thoughtful addition to the genre — even if it falls prey to a certain amount of narrative bloat." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100 based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Early reactions to the first episode from its screening at South by Southwest 2018 were largely positive, with praise going to Joseph and Holt's performances. Alex McLevy of The A.V. Club noted the screening debuted "to raucous applause", and felt "The show definitely looks good. It has some real issues in other areas, but the charismatic leads are the true find, and if the show succeeds, it will largely be on the back of the work they do." He added that there were major changes from the comics, including the relocation of the character from New York to New Orleans and the addition of "parents, home lives, and all manner of other backstories rejiggered to serve the long-form TV storytelling framework." Meredith Borders of /Film gave the first episode a 9 out of 10, calling it "among the upper echelon of Marvel television.... [doing] so with style and powerful storytelling" and felt it was "new in every particular way". Borders felt the leads "have tremendous chemistry onscreen" that she became "deeply invested" in. She also called the look of the series "much richer and more textured" than many other superhero and Freeform series, felt the protagonists' powers were shown "in a really visually organic way", and praised Isham's music. Borders also noted the strong divergence from the comics source material, but felt "the spirit of the characters absolutely remains the same."
In his review of the first four episodes, Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter felt while there were "no superheroes, no mission and no clear bad guy" in these early episodes, he "found [him]self enjoying quite a bit thanks to the solid introductions to the human side of its characters, an often innovative structure, fine use of its New Orleans backdrop and a few moments of real cleverness. If, on some levels, Cloak & Dagger is oddly sluggish, there's a lot happening in these early episodes, some of it fun." Reviewing the first two episodes, IGN's Joi Childs awarded the episodes an 8.5 out of 10, noting, "Tackling a variety of relatable subjects while embracing the thrill of discovering new powers, Cloak & Dagger delivers an emotionally honest and surprisingly resonant premiere. The pacing can feel a bit slower than one might expect or want from a superhero TV show, but thanks to the drama, effects, mystery and chemistry between the main protagonists, the premiere builds a solid foundation for Marvel's newest series." Merrill Barr at Forbes wrote, "Without question, it can be said Cloak & Dagger plays right into the hand of the audience it's gaming for. This is one of the darkest and moodiest YA series to ever YA... Unfortunately, the series suffers from the problem many shows of its type do: it takes far longer than it should to dive deep into the meat of its story." In comparison to the other Marvel Television series, Barr felt Cloak & Dagger "exists somewhere between the light-hearted, broad stroke nature of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and very mature dramatic overtones of any of the Netflix series". Abraham Riesman of Vulture felt "there's a lot going on in Cloak & Dagger, and if it can keep up its pace of invention and revelation, it promises to be your essential superhero watch of the summer." He also praised "Marvel Television's willingness to boil a superhero concept down to the elements that work best and, beyond that, be purely inventive," enjoying the change of location to New Orleans over the New York setting from the comics.
For io9, Charles Pulliam-Moore said, "Cloak & Dagger isn't exactly a show for die-hard comic book purists looking for a live-action translation of the superheroes they love, but that ultimately works out in its favor because that's not what it's trying to be. Cloak & Dagger wants you to see the power in and importance of being able to see across differences—a bit of a cheesy message, perhaps, but one that we could all stand to remind ourselves of more often." He was critical of the pacing, a common issue across many of the Marvel Television series, but conceded, while the "forward momentum from scene to scene is lacking... all of the performances are stellar." Giving the series a "B", Entertainment Weekly's Darren Franich was "pessimistic and optimistic about Cloak & Dagger, and hope the show's openhearted thoughtfulness can energize its rather bargain-bin super-mythology." He felt the series took the "rough outline" of the comics "and cleverly modernizes it in unexpected directions" and throughout the early episodes the New Orleans location "finds unexpected ways to root Tyrone and Tandy in the local culture." Franich was also critical of the pacing. Giving the first four episodes 2 out of 4 stars, Allison Keene of Collider was more critical of the series. She was also critical of the pacing, called the writing "shaky", wished more was done with the New Orleans setting, and felt that attempting to split the early episodes between both Johnson and Bowen, resulted in "jarring edits, half-baked plots, and quickly-forgotten side characters."
Upon announcement, Riesman felt one of the show's potential strengths was the fact that Marvel had a unique opportunity to tell a story "without needing to appeal to any kind of rabid fanbase or honor any iconic stories," because the characters have neither "any famous archnemeses," nor "a widely read graphic novel" that fans would be expecting to see. He concluded saying, "Cloak & Dagger could be something unique and potentially lovely: an attempt to build a new bit of filmed superhero iconography (mostly) from the ground up. There’s so much to mine in this genre. It deals metaphorically with the burdens, risks, and liberations of power — and it has the storytelling freedoms offered by high-concept science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism."
|2018||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer TV Show||Cloak & Dagger||Pending|||
|Choice Summer TV Star||Aubrey Joseph||Pending|
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