The Boys, Amazon Prime Video’s anti-superhero series, crashed into SDCC 2019 with an exciting activation, a stellar party, a panel, and the premiere of the first two episodes which brought the audience to its feet.
The Boys is based on a comic book series of the same name that was written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson. It is the story of a small, covert CIA group that is tasked with monitoring the activities of superheroes. In this world, superpowered beings are reckless, corrupt individuals who are owned by a powerful corporation called Vought. The comic book series was a dark, funny, violent, and irreverent take on the superhero genre. The television series takes on this dark vision with unbridled glee as did The Boys activation at SDCC 2019.
The series was created for television by Evan Goldberg (Preacher, Future Man), Seth Rogen (Preacher, Future Man), and Erik Kripke (Supernatural, Timeless, Revolution) and stars a large, talented cast.
- Karl Urban (Star Trek) – Billy Butcher
- Antony Starr (Banshee) – Homelander
- Elizabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) – Madelyn Stillwell
- Erin Moriarty (Jessica Jones) – Annie January
- Jack Quaid (The Hunger Games) – Hughie Campbell
- Jessie T. Usher (Shaft) – A Train
- Tomer Capon (Hostages) – Frenchie
- Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad) – The Female/Kimiko
- Chace Crawford (The Covenant) – The Deep
- Laz Alonso (Deception) – Mother’s Milk
- Alex Hassell (Two Down) -Translucent
- Dominique McElligott (House of Cards) – Queen Maeve
Besides this large cast, viewers might want to keep their eyes peeled for surprise cameos from some of their favorite genre stars.
The Boys Activation
The Boys activation occurred across from the convention center at the Amazon Prime Video Experience. Amazon Prime Video recreated one of the pivotal scenes from the first episode that involved a car crash into an audio-visual store. The actors, who inhabited this activation, were perfect; they had a manic edge which added to the verisimilitude. They mirrored the tone of series exactly by being very intense, violent, and oddly comical. Whoever wrote their script captured the feel and the atmosphere of the series perfectly. As part of the act, one of the “spectators” was killed. As with the series, the activation was written for adults, not for children.
The Boys Party
On Friday night, Amazon Prime Video Experience hosted an Exclusive Fan Premiere Screening of the first two episodes of The Boys. In addition to the advance screening, fans were treated to delicious food and adult beverages that only complimented the two episodes. The episodes were bloody, violent, and funny. The audience clearly loved the episodes as they rose in a rousing standing ovation at the end of the second episode.
The Boys on Amazon
Since SDCC ended, I have had the opportunity to watch the entire series. During the two episodes previewed at SDCC, fans learned very quickly that the series is violent, profane, comical, provocative, and topical as it takes on issues of sexual harassment, terrorism, and corporate greed. The episodes introduced the viewers to The Boys, a group of blue-collar men led by Billy Butcher. They were previously part of a clandestine CIA group that was tasked with reigning in the “Supes” who had crossed the line.
Theirs is a world where many people have superpowers but do not live by the same code of conduct as Superman or Captain America. The “Supes” are a commodity that is managed by a large corporation named Vought. Sadly, the “Supes” and Vought exemplify the worst aspects of capitalism as they make choices based on ratings and dollars as opposed to lives saved. Lives only count if they add to the bottom line or benefit their image. Unfortunately, Hughie Campbell finds himself thrust into the world of “Supes” when he is involved in a tragic, freak accident. Her death starts him on a dark journey when he is recruited by Billy Butcher and joins The Boys.
Homelander is the “Superman” in this world with his stars and stripe cape but the resemblance ends there. He is a sociopath who refers to humans in derogatory terms. Everyone close to him fears his powers which range from invulnerability to superhuman strength to laser-firing eyes. He is the star and leader of the Seven-the greatest seven superheroes in the world. The Seven are controlled by Vought. Billy Butcher loathes Homelander and a later episode explains why he hates Homelander as much as he does.
In subsequent episodes, viewers learn the backstories of the characters and their secrets, which are dark, messy, and at times, truly touching. Do these secrets justify all of their actions? The answer is no but it explains them. Urban talked about this during the press conference. He mentioned that while he could understand his and other characters motivations, their actions went beyond the pale. There are brutal deaths throughout the series; some of them justified but most are not.
The Boys is a story of the dark path that superheroes would take in the “real world.” Oddly enough, it is a story of extraordinary greed or corruption. But at a human level, it’s a story of vengeance and the havoc it causes in the lives of ordinary humans. It is simply a story of a small group of ordinary people fighting against superpowered individuals who abuse their power and the trust of the public. But, in their pursuit of justice, these ordinary people take a dark path which makes them almost as bad as those against whom they fight. Unfortunately, most of the actions of the people in the series are far too believable.
Amazon Prime Video surprised fans with a renewal of The Boys even before the premiere of the series on July 26th. I, for one, am overjoyed at this decision by Amazon Prime Video. We need a second season of The Boys to answer so many questions from the first season.