Imagine a world where superheroes are real. Got it? Now, imagine they’re actually egomaniacal jerks (gross understatement) with really good marketing. That’s the “The Boys.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that so thoroughly earned each and every one of its (many, many, many…) viewer discretion warnings (including some very specific ones I did not know existed) as this one.
That’s not a dig. That’s an observation. And now here’s a warning. If you have a weak stomach, just click away now. Ignore that Amazon Prime recommendation. Your gag reflex will thank you.
“The Boys,” inspired by the graphic novels and brought to the small screen by Seth Rogen, takes the concept of the anti-hero to a very literal level. Our “hero” Hughie (Jack Quaid) has a pretty uneventful life until the day his girlfriend becomes collateral damage in a freak superhero accident.
What follows is a series of “we regret” statements from Vought (the superhero corporation) a standard boilerplate NDA and an insultingly low check to buy Hughie’s silence. Enter, Butcher (Karl Urban) — former law enforcement with a bone to pick with the corrupt superheroes and the corporation that profits off them.
Butcher also happens to be a big fan of using one of the worst words in the English language, which I am choosing to believe is being done with a purpose. Please, don’t let me down, writers.
Meanwhile, the Seven, Vought’s flagship heroes (who are totally not the same as the Avengers at all), have just recruited a replacement. Enter, Starlight (Erin Moriarty). She is as brilliant as her superhero name implies even as reality falls far short of her dreams of joining this elite team.
Now. About the gore…and this is going to sound strange coming from someone who loves “The Walking Dead” and “Preacher” (another excellent Seth Rogen show), but I do not like shows that rely on violence for shock value. So, believe me when I say the blood will shock you, yes, but it does much more than that.
I was fully prepared to watch ten minutes of this show and walk away, worried that it would be dark in an unfulfilling (and possibly sexist) way. I’m happy to say, those fears were not realized…but I am glad that Captain America does not have laser eyes.
Great writing (word choice judgment still withstanding), a gritty design, and great performances make this a series worth watching (even if you have to close your eyes every now and then).
Warning: The trailer is pretty bloody too.