We have all seen the formulaic blockbuster superhero movie play out ad nauseam on our screens. While there is some entertainment value to be gained out of them, they are done to death by Marvel and DC to the point that they have become pedestrian- if not downright boring!
With Amazon's The Boys, fans were treated to a breath of fresh air- if nothing else. An antithetical take on the superhero trope, the series is adapted from the eponymous comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.
Premiering its first season on July 26, 2019, The Boys soared to the top of fans' and critics' watch-list and stands among the best TV shows of 2019.
But what makes The Boys so exceptional? Is it worth all the hype, or is the hype more to do with the show's novelty than anything else?
If you are sick of watching the played-out plot of the goody-two-shoes protagonist with fantastical powers saving the damsel in distress and defeating the villain, you are not the only one!
A tried-and-true formula, its success prompted the complacency that Hollywood has so often been accused of. The Boys- while calling itself a superhero TV series- has taken the tried-and-true formula and flipped it on its head.
A rich, complex, and gory show, The Boys explores the world in which superheroes are the status quo, and how it would affect our way of life.
"With great power comes great responsibility" is a phrase that seems to have eluded the "supes"- as superheroes are called in the show.
Here are some of the reason why you should be watching The Boys:
The Boys is set in a dystopian alternate-reality where superheroes are more like normal people than the idealized version seen on comic books.
The supes are manufactured by a corporation called Vought International, which also handles their PR. Once their suits come off, however, the supes are some of the most arrogant and egomaniacal people on the planet and Vought's premier superhero team, The Seven are the most corrupt of them all.
When the speedster, A-Train, accidentally runs through a civilian, Hughie's girlfriend, he seeks to take down The Seven and all of Vought corporation.
He is enlisted by a supe-hunting mercenary named Billy Butcher, and they call upon former vigilantes, Mother's Milk, and Frenchie, to form the anti-supe vigilante team, The Boys.
Together with Kimiko, a mute animalistic woman with supes-like power, and Annie/Starlight, an aspiring superhero who learns of the corruption at Vought, they wage war with the supes.
Thus ensues an all-out war between the two factions in which the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, and hero and vigilante are blurred.
The Boys is an adult show that doesn't shy away from violence and strong language to provide social commentary on relevant topics including power, sexual abuse, and corruption.
The characters on The Boys are divided into two warring factions, The supes team, The Seven, and the anti-supes vigilante team, The Boys.
Antony Starr plays John / Homelander, the leader of The Seven. Homelander possesses Superman-like powers, but with none of the virtue. He is the most powerful superhero, but also the most narcissistic.
Dominique McElligott plays Queen Maeve- second-in-command of The Seven and the ex-lover of Homelander. She is a closeted bisexual and knows of the corrupt ways of Homelander from their time together.
Jessie T. Usher plays the speedster A-Train. He accidentally runs through a civilian's girlfriend that sets the events of The Boys in motion.
Chace Crawford plays Kevin / The Deep. A marine-based supe, he can communicate with aquatic life and possesses fish-like gills that enable underwater breathing. He is also a lecher and trades sexual favors with hopeful superheroes.
Elisabeth Shue plays Madelyn Stillwell, the vice president of Vought International. She also becomes embroiled in Homelander's Oedipus fantasy.
Karl Urban plays Billy Butcher. When Homelander rapes and presumably murders his wife, he vows to expose the supes for what they truly are. He is the charismatic and violent leader of the vigilante team, The Boys.
Jack Quaid plays Hugh "Hughie" Campbell. Hughie is a civilian who sets on getting vengeance against the supes when his girlfriend is run-over and killed by the speedster A-Train.
Erin Moriarty plays Annie January / Starlight, an aspiring supe who gets sexually assaulted by The Deep on her first day working for Vought International. She questions who the heroes really are and become the love interest of Hughie.
Laz Alonso plays Marvin / Mother's Milk. A family man who is skeptical about rejoining the vigilante team, but is talked into it.
Tomer Capon plays Frenchie, a mercenary skilled in munitions, ordnance, infiltration, and communications.
Karen Fukuhara plays Kimiko / The Female, a smuggled woman with superhuman speed and animalistic strength and brutality.
The first season of The Boys has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and remains a fan favorite.
On IMDb, the series currently holds an 8.7/10 rating tallied from 127,849 users. The series holds an approval rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 94 reviews.
On the review aggregator Metacritic, the series holds a score of 74 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
It is also one of the most successful Amazon shows, bringing in a total of 8 million viewers on the first ten days of its release.
Fans who are worried about committing to a series without hopes for a resolution need not worry- the series has been renewed for a second season before the first season even premiered.
A teaser for the second season released on YouTube on 7 Dec 2019.
The Boys is the perfect blend of a stellar cast, great direction, state-of-the-art visual effects, and compelling story.
A refreshing take on the overplayed superhero genre, the series caters to mature audiences- not just for graphic violence and strong language- but for the themes.
A social commentary on power, greed, narcissism, and gender roles, the series makes its audiences think, which, sadly cannot be said of a lot of superhero movies.
But rather than being morbid and bleak, thanks to its colorful characters and the chemistry between them, the 8-episode series is one of the most enjoyable and unforgettable TV experiences in quite some time. The Boys is the quintessential can't-miss series.