Review: Run

With HBO’s new romantic dramedy Run, award-winning producers Vicky Jones (Killing Eve) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) look to wind viewers around an old-fashioned concept of two ex-lovers leaving their boring and unfulfilled lives and seeking love and adventure together on the road, but with a few new twists.

The series stars Merritt Wever (Unbelievable) as Ruby, a married woman from California who in the opening scene is sitting alone in a family SUV parked in a crowded Target lot contemplating whether she’ll get to use her new yoga mat at some point.

She gets a text from someone named Billy saying one word: RUN. Initially Ruby attempts to ignore the text by trying — and ultimately failing — to get out of the car, and soon realizes she is unable to quell the anxiety that builds up within her to answer the text. She eventually texts back “RUN” then drives to the airport, books a flight to New York City and boards a train.

There she meets up with Billy (Domhnall Gleeson), her college exboyfriend who’s now a motivational speaker. Years prior, the two had cooked up this scheme about dropping everything to meet if one of them texts RUN and the other answers the same.

The twists and turns come as the two learn more about each other after their 17-year parting, and revelations are exposed as they look to shed their respectively unfulfilling lives for what they perceive as better outcomes together.

Wever’s and Gleeson’s performances are strong and their chemistry is infectious. The romantic storyline — with often shocking and unnerving moments — should keep viewers on their toes throughout the seven-episode series. Run is by no means a train wreck, but more of a unique and somewhat fantastical ride through the lives of two flawed but alluring characters.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.