Cloak & Dagger hype is everywhere: Vulture called it "the superhero show of the summer;" it's number five on IMDB's Most Popular TV list, and its debut on Freeform was the network's biggest series launch in over two years and its most-watched drama since the series finale of Pretty Little Liars.
We usually get nervous when everyone is getting this carried away, but here are five reasons we think it's safe to have high expectations just this once...
1. The two leads are "the new faces of superhero television"
Aubrey Joseph plays Tyrone Johnson (Cloak) and Olivia Holt plays Tandy Bowen (Dagger), two teenagers from very different backgrounds who discover they have superpowers that are mysteriously linked to one another.
Neither actor is a household name yet. Aubrey made his Broadway debut as Young Simba in Disney's The Lion King and had recurring guest roles in The Night Of and Law and Order: SVU. Olivia moved to Los Angeles at 13 to star in Disney XD's Kickin' It and has grown into an equally talented singer: her song History has over 150m streams on Spotify.
Cloak & Dagger is undeniably their breakthrough. AV Club called them "immensely good." The Verge called their chemistry "electric." And Comic Book said, "They steal every single scene they're in. Theirs are the new faces of superhero television."
2. It's not about their superpowers or the supervillains
Yes, Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone can engulf others in darkness, but three episodes in, these powers have barely been used.
According to USA Today, it's rather a "coming-of-age story of two kids deeply traumatized but trying to heal." Or as The Daily Beast wrote, "The series isn't about saving the world; it's about saving their lives."
The supervillains they're up against aren't aliens from another world, but the everyday - and even scarier - threats of racism, police brutality, amoral corporations, sexual predators, broken families, addiction, and homelessness.
Shadow & Act called the series "gritty, experimental and topical," adding, "It has a worldliness that might not always appear in a Marvel series; Cloak & Dagger is much more grounded than most of the superhero shows we've seen."
3. Freeform is on a roll since its reinvention
As Shadow & Act wrote recently, "Let the track record show that the network, formerly known as ABC Family, is on a winning streak."
Once best known for Pretty Little Liars, the rebranded, less innocent-sounding network has produced three of the most acclaimed series of the year: Grown-ish, a college-set black-ish spinoff; Siren, about mermaids disrupting a small coastal town; and now Cloak & Dagger, which has an 87% critic's rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
As Forbes wrote, with Cloak & Dagger Freeform has created "the darkest and moodiest YA series to ever YA."
4. It's set in New Orleans for a change
The original comics - like most US series - were set in New York, but the TV series relocates the action to post-Katrina New Orleans. It's a smart move, as the city becomes a character who, like Tandy and Tyrone, is in the process of rebuilding itself.
In addition to providing a refreshing change of landscape, New Orleans also lends itself to the mysticism and symbolism of the show, which has already started exploring both voodoo and Christianity in its first three episodes.
5. It's from Marvel
It's only been five years since Marvel got back into TV series in a big way with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Since then, they've kept the hits coming, from Jessica Jones and Agent Carter to Luke Cage, and, most recently, Runaways. With Jessica Jones' producers Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory executive producing and Joe Pokaski (Daredevil) as showrunner, we're in safe hands.
But it's worth adding that the series is even winning over critics who aren't excited by the current glut of superhero shows. As Newsweek wrote, "Whether you're a Marvel fan or not, it's undeniably a must-watch if you want something different." Similarly, Den of Geek said, "Cloak & Dagger is not just one of the best superhero premieres of the year; it is poised to become one of the best TV dramas of 2018."