When Amazon, quite surprisingly, introduced “The Boys” to us in 2019, it perhaps marked the first genuine foray into the realm of real superheroes on screen since the era of “Watchmen.” As it obliterated the facade of endearing superheroes carefully crafted by Marvel and DC, “The Boys” presented the most realistic rendition of what it would be like if superheroes truly existed. In this regard, “The Boys” laid bare the societal issues that the youth of Gen V would later delve into in its third season.
Gen V chronicles the period just before the fourth season of “The Boys,” set in 2024, allowing us to delve into the foundational aspects of the “superhero formula,” particularly explored in the third season. “The Boys” fundamentally narrates the rebellion against the deceit concealed behind the media. In a world where not only the media but also superheroes themselves are counterfeit, “Gen V” focuses on the disappointments of youngsters raised with aspirations of becoming “superheroes,” progressively approaching the core concept of hero creation.
In brief, let’s touch upon the premise of the series… Godolkin is a school where young individuals with superpowers come to learn and harness their abilities. The school houses numerous students, each possessing distinct powers. However, youth often equates to naiveté. Unbeknownst to them, the young students believe the school will elevate them, but they are unwittingly becoming a part of a conspiracy. The school is, in essence, a corrupted version of Xavier’s school from X-Men. And a group of young individuals is on the verge of discovering this corruption.
Amazon, which drew criticism for several of its projects, especially “The Rings of Power,” deserves commendation for the success it has achieved with “The Boys.” Their absurd story, brought to life by exploiting the peculiar dynamics of this universe, is genuinely captivating. The irony lies in the fact that the woke perspective that Amazon has persistently tried to insert into other “failing” series is prominently humiliated in “The Boys.” Essentially, “The Boys” is a striking series that uses superheroes imposed upon us as pawns to confront the bitter realities of our modern world. Gen V focuses on the Z generation, the leading players in this distorted reality.
In a world where the media distorts reality, and many people adapt to these scripted narratives, a group of young individuals confronts not only the perversions of their school but also the absurdity of the life they are about to be thrust into. It seems that we will encounter more of Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), Andre Anderson (Chance Perdomo), the son of a former hero, Emma Meyer (Lizze Broadway), the purest soul in the story, Cate Dunlap (Maddie Phillips), who starts the season passively but evolves into a central character as the episodes progress, and in my opinion, the most successful character in the series, Jodan Li (London Thor, Derel Luh).
I would like to take a moment to dedicate a special paragraph to the character of Jordan Li because the way they transform the term “non-binary” into a superpower is truly ingenious. It is not just the character’s existence but the portrayal, particularly by London Thor, that is outstanding. In my view, she is the sole winner of the series.
Gen V is a series that manages to progress seamlessly from its first episode to its last, just as relentless and cunning as ‘The Boys.’ While the series frequently showcases the powers of the heroes in each episode, the underlying message at the core of this universe, much like ‘Watchmen,’ always revolves around the vulnerabilities of being human. This in-depth narrative, mainly focusing on the susceptibility of young individuals ready to step into the world, vividly illustrates why nearly every superhero in this universe is profoundly flawed at their core. They are all poisoned from the root.
Creators Evan Goldberg, Eric Kripke, and Craig Rosenberg, in the third season’s finale, have positioned ‘The Boys’ squarely in the midst of the world’s ongoing ideological battles. Adapting the left-right strife escalating worldwide to the series, the creators expose how the charlatans on the front stage skillfully enact the written deceptions behind the scenes. The series has now fully transitioned into the post-truth era, where truth takes a back seat, and actions are driven by emotions and interests. Yet, it also steadily delves into a lingering question that the audience has always pondered: Where did these heroes come from?
I had my doubts about Gen V. Spin-off projects are always risky. However, Gen V wholly embraces ‘The Boys’ universe, making judicious additions and, even better, effectively conveys the confusion of the highly media-influenced Gen Z. These youngsters, striving to survive in an utterly counterfeit world, seek refuge in their powers, but no matter what they do, they are losing. This is because they are pitted against a force that surpasses their comprehension. Their defeat raises an intriguing question: What truly happened in the final? Why did they feel the need to reverse the narrative? What are they after, once again?
In summary, Gen V is an enjoyable series that effectively utilizes and enriches the foundations of its universe. The secret to the success of ‘The Boys’ lies in its ability to provide not just a watch-and-forget series but topics that spark discussion. For individuals like me who don’t merely watch it as a ‘series,’ ‘The Boys’ is a deep narrative. Gen V, on the other hand, delves even deeper into the subject and thoroughly excavates the question of ‘Where do superheroes come from?’ It’s a series that leaves us eagerly anticipating answers to the complexities in the final episode, a mini-series that stands out as one of the most successful works of 2023, leading us into 2024, where ‘The Boys’ will provide resolution.
Cast & Crew
creator: Evan Goldberg, Eric Kripke, Craig Rosenberg
starring: Jaz Sinclair, Chance Perdomo, Lizze Broadway, Maddie Phillips, London Thor, Derel Luh, Asa Germann, Shelley Conn
USA | 2023 | 8 EPISODES |