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Even the people making superhero shows understand superhero fatigue — that’s essentially the point of “The Boys,” Amazon’s gritty, violet, anti-superhero comic book show that debuted in 2019. Sure, it’s great when caped crusaders fly in and save the day, but what about the innocent people who get harmed in the process? And what happens when the superheroes abuse their power?
Enter the Boys — the titular group of this darkly comedic series aren’t a bunch of superheroes, instead they’re a ragtag motley crew of people with extremely valid grudges against the “supes” (namely, they’ve been wronged by the so-called heroes and seen firsthand how much death and destruction gets covered up on the heroes’ behalf).
The first season of “The Boys” debuted on Amazon Prime Video in July 2019, and you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime to catch up before season 2 premieres on Sept. 4. While season 1 was released, like most Amazon Original Series, as a binge, season 2 of “The Boys” will roll out on a weekly basis every Friday, with the first three premiering on Sept. 4 and the finale airing Oct. 9.
It’ll also come with a weekly companion series hosted by Aisha Tyler, “Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys,” that will debut with each new episode and feature interviews with the creative team and behind-the-scenes intel about the making of the series.
“The Boys” is based on the comic series of the same name, which ran from 2006 through 2012, first under DC Comics’ Wildstorm imprint before moving to Dynamite Entertainment. In the vein of “Preacher,” the comic series contained a great deal of violent and sexual content — plenty of which has made its way from the page to the screen in the adaptation, developed by “Supernatural” creator Eric Kripke.
Executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, also behind AMC’s similarly irreverent four-season adaptation of “Preacher,” announced during the series’ virtual Comic-Con@Home panel in July that the series had been renewed for a third season, which will begin filming…eventually, once the production can safely adhere to coronavirus guidelines.
Season 1 sees twentysomething Hughie (Jack Quaid) lose the love of his life in a catastrophic accident with a Supe — and eventually finding his way to Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and the rest of the Boys, all with their own vendetta against the powerful Vought corporation and the politically influential All-American heroes of “The Seven,” who have no oversight when it comes to abusing their superpowers. The seven include the arrogant Homelander (Antony Starr), the burnt out Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), the speedster A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), aquatic The Deep (Chace Crawford), the silent Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), the invisible Translucent (Alex Hassell), and innocent newcomer/new love interest for Hughie, Starlight (Erin Moriarty).
The Boys, including Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon), and the Female (Karen Fukuhara), soon discover the truth about superheroes, and embark on the dangerous mission to expose it to the world.
In his spoiler-filled review of the first season, IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote, “Like a kitten clinging to the top branch of a tall tree, ‘The Boys’ is always on the edge of disaster. The dark and violent Amazon series teeters between vicious cultural commentary and over-indulgent naïveté. Thus is the peril of making a show that relies on familiar tropes long enough to upend them, just as often as it leans on tough-guy posturing to entertain. But even though the first season will make you feel icky enough to drop out entirely, Eric Kripke’s eight-episode adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book proves itself savvy enough in Season 1 to earn all that cringing. Someone or something swoops in to save the day, and one decision in particular ensures the kitten won’t have to give up any of its nine lives just yet.”
Season 2 of “The Boys” will see Butcher, Hughie, and the rest of the team try to recover from the losses they experienced in the first season, all while on the run from the law and trying to take down the Supes. The Supes will have their own battles to fight with the addition of “You’re the Worst” star Aya Cash as Stormfront, a new member of the elite superhero group “The Seven,” and more evil machinations from Vought, the company that manages the heroes.
Cash’s Stormfront is gender-flipped from the comics, and yes — the character still harbors the hateful ideologies for which the character is known. But her casting is helpful in providing a foil for alpha-male hero Homelander (Antony Starr) — one who “isn’t afraid of him and proceeded to steal his spotlight,” said Kripke during a virtual panel for reporters ahead of the new season. The fact that she’s a woman grates especially on Homelander, and it also provides an extremely topical example of how hate can be packaged in “really slick, social media-attractive ways,” Kripke added. Some of the loudest voices in that sphere are young people “who are trying to hook in a new generation and we sort of wanted to reflect how insidious that is.”
While there are plenty of action sequences worthy of discussion in Season 2, the most important one involves a speedboat impaling a giant whale, followed by a long stay inside the whale’s belly. Yes, it was just as weird for the cast and crew to film as it is to describe.
“I think hands down that’s probably the weirdest thing a lot of us had done in our careers,” Urban said during the show’s Comic-Con panel. “You had all of us actors in the boat, and we were actually doing it. We had a helicopter that was hovering 80 to 100 feet in the air, flying along parallel with us. You never get to experience doing something for real anymore, it’s usually all done on the green screen, but we were actually out there in the water doing horrendous speeds and having fun.”
Season 2 of “The Boys” premieres Friday, Sept. 4 on Amazon Prime Video.