The Boys is an Amazon Prime original drama based on the comic books of the same name. With season 2 due to arrive soon, what better time to catch up with the first season. Here’s a spoiler-free, quick guide to the show.
Another Superhero Thing, Really?
Yes I know, there’s a lot of them. This one is a little different, though. In The Boys, superheroes aren’t just out there saving the world as and when they feel like it. They are employed by a company called Vought International. As employees, they have to do as they are told. Their actions are carefully timed, staged and filmed. They are given talking points for public appearances to ensure they stay on message. The marketing department analyses the reaction to their actions and reports on what groups they are engaging with. Wardrobe ensures their outfits are appealing. Their lives are micromanaged by the company. A source of frustration for some, but no obvious way out if you want the perks, like public adulation.
The Boys? Not A Very Inspiring Superhero Name Is It?
No, it’s not. That’s because The Boys, despite getting the title, are not superheroes. In the show, there are hundreds of heroes operating across America, but not everyone is happy about that. One of those less than enamoured with ‘supes’ is Billy Butcher. His background is murky, but it’s clear that his hatred runs deep. He gradually assembles a group of like-minded individuals who aim to bring down the heroes. The first of them is Hugh Campbell. A quiet young guy, with an excellent collection of band t-shirts, who works in a tech store. Out of nowhere, his life is changed tragically, which brings him to the attention of Butcher.
Who Are The Superheroes Then?
As I said, there are hundreds. The best of the best are known as the Seven. An elite squad that heroes aspire to be a part of. The Seven are as follows;
- Homelander – The leader of the Seven is a cross between Superman and Captain America. He can fly and shoot laser rays from his eyes. Dresses in red, white and blue, with his cape decorated in the stars and stripes.
- Queen Maeve – Her powers aren’t very well defined, though she can withstand a volley of bullets and wears not a lot.
- The Deep – The one in green likes water more than land and has a deep connection with the creatures of the sea.
- A-Train – Brash and cocky young dude, normally wearing sunglasses. Fastest man on Earth.
- Black Noir – The most mysterious member of the group. Very little is seen of him.
- Translucent – Confident guy who can morph his skin to make himself invisible, a useful power to have.
Those of you keeping count will notice that’s only six. That’s because a hero called Lamplighter has just retired, leaving a vacancy. Very keen on the job is Annie January, also known as Starlight. She’s a country girl, drawn to the big city to do good. There she has a chance encounter with Hugh. She’s way out of his league but they strike up an unlikely friendship. Given their respective allegiances, which are unknown to each other when they meet, it’s unlikely to end well.
Are There Any Recognisable Actors In The Boys?
The cast includes a few famous faces. The biggest name is perhaps The Lord Of The Rings legend Karl Urban. He’s also been in Dredd and Thor: Ragnarok so clearly likes the genre. Here he plays Billy Butcher, the leader of The Boys. Those of you steeped in movie history will also know Elisabeth Shue from ‘80s classics like The Karate Kid and Cocktail. Shue plays Madelyn Stillwell, the VP of Vought International. The other big name is Simon Pegg who stars as Hugh’s dad.
Is It Safe To Watch With The Family?
Absolutely not. Every episode is preceded by a graphic warning of adult content. There’s a lot of nudity, a lot of violence and a lot of swearing. Sometimes all at the same time.
Is The Boys Worth Watching?
Definitely. With just eight episodes it’s a short, sharp blast of gritty action. There’s some intrigue from the internal politics within both groups and a government angle. Add in a dash of romance and there is something for everyone. Here’s the season 1 trailer…
Season 1 of The Boys is available now, with season 2 expected soon.
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Shaun is FinalBoss’ most prolific cinephile. If he hasn’t seen it, it ain’t worth watching. You’ll find him writing about everything from blowout blockbusters to small-screen splendours as he waits impatiently for Lord of the Rings to be released by Amazon. Catch up with Shaun and see what he’s been watching on www.letterboxd.com/shaun_1982.