Your weekly Streaming Pick has arrived! I had a hard time finding something I could get into after finishing Season 3 of Stranger Things. Then, The Boys came out on Amazon Prime. The Boys is a comic book project (what isn’t these days?) written by Garth Ennis. It’s distributed by Dynamite Entertainment.
In the world of The Boys superheroes are real. They’re run by a mega corporation, Vought International. The company uses their powers for celebrity and profits. Though the ideals of Superman are what Vought likes to portray to the public.
Along with superpowers comes super egos. To put things simply, the superheroes in this world are jerks… scumbags even. Most of the world doesn’t know their true nature. A select few, who do, decide to do something about it. Enter The Boys.
What grabbed me so quickly about the show is that it feels so real. The seamless way that the world building comes into focus feels natural. We step into a lived in world where superheroes (supes) are commonplace. We get ideas on how things work and complete the picture as the story unfolds. The lack of a black and white explanation makes the journey so much more fun.
It’s typical for a superhero product to focus solely on the heroes. This show isn’t about the non-heroic heroes. Not exclusively. The way the show gives us the world’s perception, The Boy’s perception, and the reality of it all, is masterfully handled.
The Boys is an Amazon Original Series
I thought it would get tiresome that every single person with powers was also a piece of crap. Except Annie January aka Starlight (the adorable Erin Moriarty). Starlight is our window into the real gritty world of supes. As we spend more time with the supes we realize who is inherently good (Starlight), inherently bad (Homelander (Anthony Starr)), and who has lost their way (Queen Maeve (Dominque McElligott)). The handling of the supes as characters and as something larger, is fair and balanced. This is especially impressive given what the show is about.
For a show that isn’t focused 100% on the superheroics of it all, the budget doesn’t skimp on the action. We see all the usual powers, not much in the way of exploration. This won’t leave you feeling shorted since the show is here to be a satire on the super hero genre. The view of the superhero is what breaks new ground.
The Boys are led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban). Urban is perfect in the role. Butcher is a reminder that this actor we don’t hear nearly enough about, can do anything. He recruits Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid). The team is rounded out by Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and The Female (Karen Fukuhara).
The Boys all have their reasons for hating the supes. We aren’t given too much of that upfront, except for Hughie. If Starlight is the audience stepping into the world of the supe, Hughie is the audience joining The Boys.
The incredibly supporting players make the world and situations feel complete. Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) may be the most dangerous person on the show. That says a lot since Homelander is Superman and Captain America combined in one evil body. Colby Minifie, Jennifer Esposito, and Simon Pegg all make an impression despite limited screen time.
I had not read the source material and always hate to hear the constant ‘in the books…’ However, with only an eight episode run the story unfolds on the slow side. I hope the production knew if they had a second season or not when they started. If they don’t, we still have a complete story, but with the slightly slow pacing some viewers who are already familiar may be turned off. I was all in on the complete world and the quality of the production so taking my time wading in wasn’t a big deal.