Have You Watched The Boys?

Having finished the 8th and final season of Psych, we turned to Amazon Prime for our new dinnertime television show: The Boys.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you probably know that I love superhero movies. So why am I just now watching a well-produced superhero TV show that came out a year ago?

Marketing, mostly. Every season 1 image and commercial I saw for The Boys portrayed the show as dark and gritty–of which I’ve had enough from the DC movies–instead of highlighting the fresh approach to superheroes: In this alternate reality, they work for a corporation, and in the public eye, they’re anything but dark and gritty. They’re heroes.

With that approach as the lead, I would have been in from Day 1. And yes, the show is quite dark (and occasionally gory), but it’s the competing contrast between how the world sees these heroes and how they act when no one’s watching that makes The Boys work so well. For me, at least.

There’s also plenty of “let’s watch one more episode” cliffhangers, interesting characterizations, intriguing superpowers, romance, and social commentary that made me really enjoy Season 1. Yes, we already finished, and we started Season 2.

If you’ve watched The Boys, what did you think of the first season? And do you have a favorite piece of fiction (TV, movie, graphic novel, etc) that approaches superheroes in a different way? The Reckoners comes to mind, though I think Soon I Will Be Invincible is one of my favorite written works that flips the genre on its head.

4 thoughts on “Have You Watched The Boys?”

  1. Watchmen. I haven’t seen the new HBO series (no HBO), but I loved the 2009 movie–it was gritty and unclean, and it showed superheroes in a very different light.

    I watched season 1 of The Boys and enjoyed it; I haven’t been back for season 2 though. It just hasn’t topped my list, but I’ll probably check it out soon!

  2. I loved, and still love, the Boys on Amazon Prime. It deviates in some significant ways from the comics, but it does so very well. I won’t ruin the one main difference that spins the show’s fiction in a very different direction (happens really early in the comics and is a factor throughout the entire run) but it’s a huge plot device that I am hopeful they will employ in a future season.

    There are three off-brand superhero fictions that I have thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

    Ex-Heroes: Shortly before a zombie apocalypse, a handful of humans around the world developed super powers. The entire series of 4 (maybe 5?) wraps up nicely and has enjoyable fake science throughout. It was a believable interpretation of how overwhelming it would be to rebuild humanity despite -or even BECAUSE- some people are superhuman.

    Some interesting, alternate takes on popular heroes.

    Bob Moore- No More Heroes: Bob is a down and out private detective who used to be married to the book’s version of Wonder Woman. He keeps getting hired to solve crimes within the super community because he is intimately familiar with most of them. Bob has no powers, and the entire vibe is very Magnum P.I. (classic).

    It only lasts three books, which is a shame because they were fantastic.

    Marshal Law: This was a comic series from 1987 that was essentially Judge Dredd with seriously whacked out superheroes. You could easily be forgiven for seeing some strong parallels between Marshal Law and The Boys, since there are a lot of similar story beats, and the basic premise (people with super powers succumbing to their base natures and someone stepping up to handle it) is nearly identical. Apparently Garth Ennis (wrote The Boys) was a big fan of Pat Mills, who wrote Marshal Law.

    Fair warning before reading- Marshal Law has a load of over-the-top S&M themes, with lots of large panels filled with absurd depravities occurring in tiny details in the background. And a whole lot of blood, sex and nudity.


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