Review by Camden Ferrell
Based on the comic book series of the same name, Amazon’s The Boys has become a megahit with audiences in its three seasons so far. While fans anxiously await the show’s fourth season, we are getting a glimpse into the other corners of this world they’ve created. Gen V is the first live-action spinoff of The Boys, and even if it’s not nearly as captivating, this is still an enjoyable show with plenty of blood, shock-value, and NSFW moments.
This spinoff follows the lives of young heroes at Godolkin University (aka “God U”). These are the first generation of supes who know that their powers are derived from Compound V, and it’s a glimpse at a side of the world that hasn’t been explored before. This show primarily follows Marie as she navigates her freshman year at God U. There’s drinking and partying like at all other colleges, but this school isn’t like most. These kids have a wide range of powers and are vying for the chance to be ranked Top 10 which can hopefully give them a chance to rub elbows with some of our favorite characters from The Boys.
The show’s writing retains the signature vulgarity of its source material but doesn’t manage to capture its charm and wit. It’s laced with profanities but sometimes lacks the clever punch that made The Boys work so well. It also doesn’t have the benefit of feeding off the same commentary it had. Yes, it still occasionally explores the corruption of the superhero industry, but this isn’t the focus. It mainly focuses on a college girl and a crazy conspiracy she gets wrapped up in as she tries to survive and thrive in school. It’s still a fun story, but it isn’t nearly as sharp as one would hope for a show of this caliber.
All of the performances in the show are solid, but none of them really stand out. Jaz Sinclair leads the show as Marie, and she is an enjoyable actress to watch if nothing else. She has a handful of effective moments due to the character’s troubled past that are fun to watch. She’s supported by a large cast who all do well in their respective roles. Lizze Broadway is enjoyable as Emma, and the show does take advantage of using her shrinking abilities to grotesque and shocking effect at times. I do want to point out the somewhat impressive role of Jordan Li which is played by both London Thor and Derek Luh. These two seamlessly feel like a single individual with subtle differences that always make them interesting to see in the show.
Despite its flaws, nobody can accuse this show of being tame. It is full of blood and guts which audiences are probably expecting at this point. Even if you’re preparing for the worst, there are some moments in the show that will still manage to shock you. There are scenes that are wincingly grotesque that can even rival moments from The Boys. When its story and central mystery may leave you wanting more, you can always rely on the shock factor to keep you entertained.
Gen V is an enjoyable spinoff if nothing else. It’s a decent appetizer to get you ready for the next season of The Boys, but it certainly won’t live up to its standard. It’s interesting to see this side of the world, and there are plenty of cameos that are great to see play out as well. This might not end up being one of your favorite shows, but for fans of this superhero universe, it’s worth watching.
Gen V premieres its first 3 episodes on September 29 with new episodes coming out on subsequent Fridays. Six out of eight episodes have been reviewed.