Were you expecting something else? Maybe a review of the wildly and negatively talked about 4th season of Veronica Mars? I’m in a mood to review decent things today, so my scathing review of that time wasting trash will have to await a different mood for a different day. Let’s talk about something that was just released last week and I watched all 8 tightly woven narrative episodes within a three day time span, THE BOYS, where you can catch it on Amazon Prime Video. The Boys is the refreshingly different comic book television show based on a comic book that has a drastically different take on superheroes and how they would be perceived in our modern day. I want to underline the word drastically a billion times. It is up there with Bosch and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as one of the streaming platforms best shows.
The different concept? The Boys is about superheroes and the real nitty-gritty behind the scenes of their ‘heroic’ endeavors. In this world, super people are downright negligent, daft, create a shit ton of collateral damage and sometimes, are really evil sons of bitches. How evil? Murdering and rape evil. Yeah, scary right? Anyway, one day a young adult named Hugh Campbell (played by Jack Quaid, son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid no less!) is walking down the sidewalk with his girlfriend Robin when she suddenly disappears in a cloud of blood and guts with Hughie still holding her hands. A fast travel superhero named A-Train just ran through her in a hurry, stops for a second to just say he can’t stop, and keeps going. Hughie wants payback, but the huge company named Vought, that sponsors a bunch of superheroes including The Seven (imagine a corporate owned Justice League), wants to just give Hughie a $48,000 check in damages as long as he signs a non-disclosure agreement. Distraught, Hughie runs into Billy Butcher (played by the great Karl Urban), a guys who claims he is FBI tasked in bringing down these negligent super people once and for all by making them actually responsible and atone for their giant mistakes.
Hughie joins him but little does he know that Billy is more of an unconventional tactic freelancer with an unconventional team (hence the title, The Boys) doing whatever it fucking takes to bring down these inept super people. Hughie actually starts to befriend one of The Seven, the newly initiated Starlight (who isn’t like the others) and Billy has his own reasons why he wants to take the supes down, but the lesser said about those two story lines, the better. In fact, I’m really not going to talk about plot anymore, as the pot boiling story is a great journey and is better left unspoiled. Other than Billy and Hughie. The Boys also include Frenchie, a French mercentary; Mother’s Milk, a dangerous yet polite and well spoken man that doesn’t really want to rejoin the gang after past exploits; and there is a female member of the boys, but the less about Kimiko, played superbly by Karen Fukuhara, with more to do her than her role in DC’s Suicide Squad, the better.
I want to go off track here for a second and say how much I love these new television series that are only 8 to 10 episodes. Almost literally no filler to get it to 13 to 16 episodes, it really is refreshing. You can get a very tight story and a bunch of fully developed character arcs without having to add inane filler D, E, or F subplots or any repetitive narrative dialogue. You either pay attention to the show or have to rewind, there is no recap. Now while 8 episodes can seem rushed like Stranger Things Season 3, with The Boys, it’s absolutely perfect. It was fun, fresh, didn’t feel bloated yet had me craving more in a more conventional healthy way unlike say infuriating cliffhangers such as Veronica Mars Season 4 or even aspects of Stranger Things Season 3.
When watching The Boys, you might get the feeling that this depiction of real superheroes in our modern day world hits a little too close to home. All the capitalism, corporate sponsorship, red tape, lies, manipulations, secrets, and political agendas, feel very similar with what we are going through now. And that’s the great part about it, that feeling of realism this television series brings even though you have more than 200 superheroes flying about. It certainly depicts things better than Hancock with Will Smith did. I love how all the superheroes in this are satires of the ones in real DC Comics. For example, Homelander is a satire on Superman, The Deep is a satire on Aquaman, A-Train is a satire on The Flash, Queen Maeve is a satire on Wonder Woman, and so on and so forth. And the action in the action scenes is realistic too. When Homelander uses his laser beams heat vision to slice through ‘bad guys’ he really does ‘slice’ through them. You get flying blood, dismembered parts, the works.
And the acting is all there too. Like I said, Karl Urban is fantastic in this and is the linchpin of the series. But EVERYONE does a good job, such as Laz Alonso’s cool yet calm demeanor as Mother’s Milk, Jack Quaid is phenomenally nervous yet bold as Hughie, and Erin Moriarty sizzles with new found bravery as the newest member of The Seven, Starlight. All of the acting and action always teeters the line between over-the-top comic book-y to abstract realism and the tone is perfectly balanced. If you are sick and tired of the formula that Marvel and DC films have brought time and again to the theatrical experience, this show slaps you in the face with a new twisty take on the genre. These 8 episodes are certainly worth anyone’s time if interested. Hey, the show was already renewed for season 2 before the premiere of this first season and they start production soon, so if that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. You will have a fun time with The Boys, I guarantee it.