The complete eight-episode first season of The Boys is currently available on Amazon Prime Video. While I did have fun watching it, the latest series doesn’t have anything new to add to the superhero genre.
This review of ‘The Boys’ includes certain spoilers. You have been warned.
What will the world turn into if superpowered beings (especially heroes) weren’t good people? That’s a concept which was certainly a bit more unique when The Boys comic book came out back in 2006. However, these days it really isn’t. That’s why, as I was watching the latest streaming series, I didn’t feel I was seeing a new take on the subject. Even though the writers did change certain things from the comics, they didn’t go all the way. I was expecting more.
Anyway, having said that, I did enjoy The Boys live-action series because of the production quality, pacing, and certain characters. It’s a good thing it has already been renewed by Amazon because the season one finale was just wow!
The main premise deals with a world where being a superhero has been commercialized. These superpowered beings end up doing more harm than good. Heroes are depicted as human and thus have similar weaknesses such as pride, selfishness, etc. Basically, superheroes are jerks.
The two groups are The Seven and The Boys. The Seven are the premiere superhero team while The Boys are a group of humans wanting revenge by taking down The Seven and the company these heroes work for (called Vought International).
We get to know about these two groups through Hughie Campbell and Annie January. Hughie gets recruited into The Boys while Annie is The Seven’s latest member. I liked Annie as a character. The scene between her and The Deep was something I could’ve done without. But then again, considering what happened in the comics, at least, the show changed it up a bit. The good thing was that Annie refused to be pushed into a corner and continued to fight for what she believed in.
Talking about women on The Boys, I also liked Queen Maeve as a character. She kind of showed what Annie could turn into. Maeve also started out as someone who wanted to help the world, but her profession forced her to do things differently. I think Maeve is supposed to be a lesbian, or at least not straight. She has layers and I hope to see more of her in the second season. Maeve is a mess, but her heart still seems to be in the right place.
Where The Boys does give its women some strong moments, that’s not to say it isn’t without issues. Almost every woman, who has a considerable role in the story, has experience with sexual assault or something similar, and it made me go “Meh!”
Can we move away from these narrative arcs already?
As for the men, I liked Hughie. The young actor, Jack Quaid, did an impressive job in the role. And while Homelander (Antony Starr) is a downright villainous character, I have to praise the actor for doing well in such a role. Also, Homelander isn’t entirely straight in the comics. I wonder if the show will go down that route, too.
The writers gave certain men moments of tenderness which I appreciated because we don’t get to see a lot of that in similar superhero content.
Furthermore, this series doesn’t shy away from male nudity, and there’s quite a lot of it. Compared to the male skin we see, the fictional women are kept more covered. I wasn’t expecting that at all in a show called The Boys. So, it was surprising to me.
With the main theme being about how power corrupts, you can already tell the leader of The Boys (played by Karl Urban) isn’t much of a good guy either. It will be interesting to see how Urban’s character Billy Butcher develops as the series progress.
Anyway, to those who don’t consume a lot of superhero content, The Boys will come across as a show that plays around with tropes. However, for those familiar with such offerings, The Boys doesn’t have anything different to say. Maybe the series will do more with trope-exploration and deconstruction in the second season now that viewers have been eased into the premise? Let’s see.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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