The Boys is a hardcore gruesome television series that reimagines our favourite superheroes in a bad light.
This post for The Boys Season 1 is spoiler-free.
Based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys (2019, developed by Eric Kripke) is unlike any television series I’ve ever seen before. The series follows The Seven, a group of corporate-funded and marketed supes managed by Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) of Vought Corporation, who care more about their public image rather than saving the world. From handling their social presence to creating a heroic persona under false pretences, The Boys shows us how the world’s beloved superheroes are in fact anti-heroes.
Set in the year 2020 (scenes from the series suggest that it’s set in this year), The Boys isn’t just entirely about a popularity contest of being a superhero. In fact, it’s also about the corruption of superheroes, and how a group of Boys who come together to seek vengeance on these supes because they had their lives ruined by them. The Boys are comprised of Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) and Frenchie (Tomer Capon).
The Boys is such an overtly meta series, due to its striking references to comic book movies. At one point, the series even refers to itself as a VCU (Vought Cinematic Universe), which is a clear reference to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). As audiences watch The Boys, it will also become evident that The Seven is basically a parody of everyone’s favourite superheroes from the DC Extended Universe. From Superman, to Wonder Woman, to Aquaman, to Flash, and more—The Seven has each aforementioned DC character replicated, except their supe names are called: Homelander (Antony Starr), Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), The Deep (Chace Crawford) and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher). The other supes that form The Seven are Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), Translucent (Alex Hassell) and Starlight (Erin Moriarty).
Some of the standout characters in this first season are Homelander and Billy. I’ve seen Starr in Cinemax’s Banshee before (extremely brilliant show!), so for me to witness his transition into a “f*cking diabolical” character felt incredibly refreshing to watch. Urban starring as Billy was probably one of the most effortlessly charismatic performances I’ve seen in this show. I absolutely loved his thick exaggerated Australian-British-New Zealand accent (I can’t believe he’s from New Zealand, same as Starr), even though people have debated about how awful and inaccurate it actually is.
As a premiere season, the series utilised all eight episodes perfectly through a well-paced and well-developed story. But perhaps, there was a missed opportunity in depicting the full extent of The Seven’s superpowers. I personally felt that the fight scenes involving the supes lacked impact and accuracy in displaying the greatness of these superheroes.
However, I thought the show did a great job in showing, instead of telling. Some of the characters in this first season go through an emotional turmoil, and the series does a great job in illustrating such emotions through cinematography and direction. The actors who play these emotionally layered characters are absolutely fantastic as well.
The Boys is definitely a bingeable piece of streaming content to watch; and with its cliffhanger ending in the final episode, it gives audiences lots to ponder about while waiting for the upcoming Season 2, which will be released in Summer of 2020.