THE BOYS – Season Two | TV Review

RELEASED: September 4th 2020 – October 9th 2020
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty, Ori Marmur, Dan Trachtenberg, Ken F. Levin, Craig Rosenberg, Phil Sgriccia & Rebecca Sonnenshine
WRITTEN BY: Erik Kripke, Rebecca Sonnenshine, Craig Rosenberg, Michael Saltzman, Ellie Monahan & Anslem Richardson
DIRECTED BY: Philip Sgriccia, Liz Friedlander, Steve Boyum, Fred Toye, Batan Silva, Sarah Boyd, Stefan Schwartz & Alex Graves
MUSIC BY: Christopher Lennertz
STARRING: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Laz Alonso, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Anthony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Chance Crawford, Colby Minifie, Aya Cash, Shantel VanSanten, Laila Robins, Claudia Doumit, Shawn Ashmore & Giancarlo Esposito

REVIEW: After the surprising revelation last season that Billy Butcher’s wife is alive, and has been raising Homelander son in hiding, ‘the Boys’, now the most-wanted people in America, return to continue their war against Vought and the superhuman community, in the hopes of recovering Butcher’s wife, reuniting M.M. with his family and exonerating themselves of all percieved crimes. Meanwhile, the Seven introduce a new member, the charismatic Stormfront, who plans to weaponise her social media presence to influence the creation of even more superheroes.

While I did very much enjoy the first season of The Boys, a key issue I had with it is that it seemed to dance around the premise of the comics it was adapting. I’ve not read a lot of The Boys, nor am I, as of yet, a big fan of the (comic) series, but the characters in the books seem a lot more entrenched in, and capable of, pursuing their war against ‘supes’.

The key difference between the book and the television series is probably that the comic book characters aren’t beyond using the super-power-dispensing ‘Compound V’ to level the playing field. Of course, the show sidesteps this, keeping the central protagonists predominantly depowered. That’s fine, I’m all on board with that. But it also means that realistically, they can’t really stand a chance against most of the superheroes they fight, and are instead just scrambling from one escape to the next.

The point I’m getting at is after the season one plot point of dealing with Translucent, the Boys haven’t actually done much superhero-fighting. They’ve schemed against Vought, but we don’t get many opportunities to see why these particular characters are a part of the group. They’re rarely coming up with clever ways to bring down superheroes, as the initial premise would suggest, and instead they’re just sort of inhabiting this weird, messed-up world, firing guns at bullet-proof people.

Fortunately, this series, characters like Frenchie, Mother’s Milk and Kimiko get fleshed out a fair bit, making them far more interesting than they were the last go around, with Karen Fukuhara and her co-stars giving great performances. Hughie still remains an affable presence, and Karl Urban’s Butcher continues to be a crude, deplorable delight. His British accent seems to have stabilised somewhat, something that becomes even more focused when interacting with actual British actors.

However, due to all the aforementioned extreme underdog nature of those characters, and in general just the way the show is written (lacking opportunities to really prove their capability), the Seven continue to be vastly more interesting than the majority of our protagonists. Alongside Urban (and Nathan Mitchell as the silent, hilarious Black Noir), Anthony Starr’s portrayal as Homelander continues to be a stand-out of the show, and the way he portrays the entitled, depraved nature of this Superman-gone-wrong really makes it worth watching.

Queen Maeve also steps up this time around, and addition of new hero / series villain Aya Cash as Stormfront is perfection. She really makes her character feel like someone who would likely exist in the real world (sans-powers) with all the hate speech and cries of ‘white genocide’ going on in current times. The use of contemporary social issues does wonders when it comes to making these outlandish situations more relatable, and seeing them tackle such things head on (‘Me too’ last season and white supremacy this time around) makes for a very different and interesting new take on the superhero story.

The brutality of the show also seems to have stepped it up a notch, with heads exploding or being crushed with alarming frequency, bisection aplenty, acid burns, disintegration, neck snaps, gunshots, and explosions all among the characters arsenals against one another. If you’re not a gore fan, then stay well away, but if you’re down for that stuff then you’re going to have a great time.

Despite my qualms, there’s something about this show that makes it so moreish. I delayed watching this season until yesterday afternoon, and as with season one, once I started I just couldn’t stop. Despite it’s occassional lack of forward motion, it’s just so bingeable, and with the characters constantly improving, the world constantly becoming more interesting, and the visuals becoming more intense, I’m excited to see where the show goes next.

Especially since, in a similar way to how Preacher did a season of set-up before truly coming into line with the comic series (travelling around America looking for God), The Boys seems to end in a place that it’s finally wanting to become more in-line with the comic book series, with some caveats, of course.

All-in-all, I give The Boys – Season Two

Thanks for reading! What did you think of The Boys season 2? Should the Boys fight ‘supes’ more frequently, or are they fine as they are? Let me know in the comments below!

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