It was hard to miss the presence of The Boys at SDCC this year – from the superhero posters and murals on walls and buses to the foam fingers (emphasis on the middle finger) emblazoned with F*ck Supes. The show also played a central role at Amazon Prime Video’s off-site experience, where fans could help to cover up a crime scene relating to a superhero incident in an electronics store. But the main event was the exclusive fan screening that took place under the stars at the off-site experience, where the cast mingled with fans and introduced the first two episodes of The Boys.
HNS was in attendance at this special fan premiere, which had appearances by Showrunner / Executive Producer Eric Kripke and cast including Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell, Elisabeth Shue, and special guest star Giancarlo Esposito.
Before we dive into our thoughts on the series openers, here’s what The Boys is all about:
Amazon Original Series “The Boys” is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It’s the powerless against the super powerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about The Seven, and Vought – the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that manages these superheroes and covers up all of their dirty secrets.
When Hughie (Jack Quaid, “The Hunger Games”) suffers a devastating loss at the hands of a reckless Supe his devastation turns to outrage when he discovers there is no legal recourse for victims of collateral superhero damage. While still reeling from his trauma Hughie meets a mysterious operative, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban, “Star Trek”), who recruits him to join in his pursuit of some vigilante justice against the Supes—who are not exactly what they seem.
I didn’t really know what to expect from The Boys – except for having the sense that the superheroes would probably be far from heroic. This quickly proved to be the case. Despite Eric Kripke teasing at the press conference earlier that day that one of his favorite scenes to adapt from the comics was A-Train (Usher) running through Hughie’s girlfriend Robin (Jess Salgueiro), the moment took me by surprise with its suddenness and brutality. The fallout from there – including possible corporate cover-ups, a farce of a public apology, and the beginnings of the Boys – set up a ride that I’m more than ready to follow for the whole season and beyond.
Aside from the Boys themselves (Quaid is charismatic as Hughie, and Urban – as always – is a delight), I’m excited to see more from Erin Moriarty as Starlight. We follow her from her home in Midwest America to a revered spot amongst The Seven – and while Starlight wants to do good, this group of superheroes is not what it seems. She has an encounter with The Deep (Chace Crawford) that is the epitome of #MeToo material and will be shocking to anyone expecting to see Gossip Girl‘s Nate Archibald reflected here. Despite this incident, Starlight finds a way to reclaim her power, which was so satisfying to watch – and I can’t wait to see what else is in-store for her in this series.
The Boys is DARK. It’s brutal. It’s funny. It has something to say, and it definitely stands out from the crowd in a time when there seems to be a new superhero movie or TV show every month (if not even more often). The first two episodes took me for a ride and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
The Boys is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.