The Boys: Gen V TV Review

The college-set spin-off from The Boys is a violent and funny superhero story and may be just a bit better than the series that inspired it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6IJHkwuK3c

PLOT: Set in the diabolical world of The Boys, Gen V expands the universe to Godolkin University, the prestigious superhero-only college where students train to be the next generation of heroes—preferably with lucrative endorsements. You know what happens when supes go bad, but not all superheroes start out corrupt. Beyond the typical college chaos of finding oneself and partying, these kids are facing explosive situations … literally. As the students vie for popularity and good grades, it’s clear that the stakes are much higher when super powers are involved. When the group of young supes discover that something bigger and sinister is going on at school, they’re put to the test: Will they be the heroes or the villains of their stories?

REVIEW: The first season of The Boys was a shocking mix of superhero storytelling with a dark streak of humor that we had never seen before. From supes behaving badly to some of the most shocking acts of depravity put to screen, Eric Kripke took Garth Ennis and Darick Robinson’s edgy comic book and turned it into a pop culture mainstay. Over three seasons, The Boys has become a phenomenon. Amazon Studios has been banking on an expanded universe for the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg-produced series, and the animated Diabolical debuted to acclaim last year. The first live-action spin-off, Gen V, takes the tale of Vought and the world of heroes back to college. Maintaining the same type of comedy mixed with copious bloodshed, Gen V is an entertaining addition to the franchise with a cast of young talent that should make this series a standout compliment to The Boys.

The Boys: Gen V

Set at the fictional Godolkin University (aka God U), Gen V follows the generation of children given Vought’s Compound V at birth as their parents try to make their offspring superheroes. At Godolkin, every enhanced person follows a career track that suits their abilities. Some follow the acting path, while others join the School of Crimefighting to follow in the footsteps of Queen Maeve and other members of The Seven. The School of Crimefighting maintains a Top Ten ranking of the best prospects at the university, this world’s equivalent of college football madness. At the center of Gen V is Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), who can turn her blood into a weapon. Marie wants to be a superhero after spending her youth in a juvenile facility. At school, she meets members of the elite like Luke Riordan/Golden Boy (Patrick Schwarzenegger), who can control flames, Andre Anderson (Chance Perdomo), who controls metal; and Jordan Li (Derek Luh/London Thor), who can shift gender and is super strong. There is also Marie’s roommate, Emma Meyer (Lizzie Broadway), who can shrink to a tiny size but whose ability is not looked at as superhero material.

All the students are invested in the school and its leadership, including Dean Indira Shetty (Shelley Conn) and Professor Richard Brinkerhoff (Clancy Brown), who do not have superpowers. Some school board members, like Andre’s father, Polarity (Sean Patrick Thomas), are former heroes. There is also something more sinister happening at Godolkin that involves Vought. The nefarious program remains a mystery but is known as The Woods. When the students discover something is happening at their school, they form their own unofficial band of supes to try and figure out what is going on at Godolkin. This provides an interesting narrative through the series that combines the rebellious nature of the Billy Butcher-led Boys and the enhanced powers of the Homelander-led The Seven. Through the eight-episode first season (six of which were made available for this review), the young protagonists must navigate college life and all that it brings (sex, drugs, and backstabbing) and handle the burgeoning fame of becoming superheroes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr5lRSAwoyA

Gen V is fully invested in the look and tone originated by The Boys and is set concurrently with the upcoming fourth season of the main series. Because of the direct connection between the two shows, there are many cameos from The Seven and characters from Vought in physical form and references via news footage and conversations about the actions of Queen Maeve, Homelander, and more during the third season. Thankfully, these connections are used organically and do not detract from the focus on this new group of characters. Jaz Sinclair is very good as the troubled Marie, who has a strong need to redeem herself while also being tempted by fame. Chance Perdomo is equally good as Andre tries to balance the expectations of his hero father and his desire to do right by his friends. The scene stealer here is Lizzie Broadway as Emma, whose power is more complicated than initially seems and slowly proves that she is more than capable of being a true hero. Patrick Schwarzenegger is excellent and delivers a role with enough promise that Arnold’s son should get some substantial new projects after this. The adult cast is also quite good, especially Shelley Conn, but they exist to support the younger cast.

Developed by Craig Rosenberg, Evan Goldberg, and Eric Kripke from the single issue of The Boys comic book titled “We Gotta Go Now,” with showrunner responsibilities handled by executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, Gen V does not delay in shocking audiences. From the series’ very first scene, we have a blood-soaked moment of violence that took me aback. Through the first episode alone, there was enough violence to equal the first season of The Boys. There is also the same lack of shock value surrounding male nudity that has become common in this franchise, with two of the more unexpected uses of a penis that I can recall from a major television series. If you think the infamous scene from The Boys’ third season involving male genitalia was something, you are unprepared for what Gen V does. Overall, the special effects work on Gen V is as good as The Boys and possibly more so, as there are dozens more superpowered characters here than in the main series. Rosenberg, Goldberg, and Kripke also bring a solid blend of funny and dramatic to the narrative, which benefits from having a smaller scale. Rather than global power struggles at the center, by bringing the focus to just the campus, we get to learn more about the characters as people which I found easier to invest in.

The Boys: Gen V

The first season of The Boys felt more like a spoof than a satire and it took a full season before it found its rhythm. Gen V benefits from the trial and error of the flagship series and hits the ground running from the first episode. The cast is solid, and the connections to The Boys never feel forced. Gen V is full of interesting storylines and lots of superpowered action shown through the lens of those who have not yet hit the pinnacle of celebrity like members of The Seven have. I was worried that Gen V would feel like a CW series, but thankfully, this is nothing like what I expected. This is not a sanitized version of college but a cutthroat world of young people struggling with the shadow cast by their parents. Taking on real challenges that people deal with, ranging from eating disorders, gender identity, race, and more, Gen V never panders or preaches but tells good stories through lots of bloodshed and awkwardly placed penises.

Gen V premieres on September 29th on Prime Video.

Gen V

GREAT

8

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.