If Watchmen kicked off a trend of realistic subversion of the superhero genre, then it may be fair to say that The Boys helped perfect it. If superheroes ever existed in our world, odds are good that they'd never use their powers for good and noble purposes. Those gifted with power often use it for their own benefit and to the detriment of others.
Speaking to EW, the show's developer/executive producer Eric Kripke (creator of The CW's Supernatural and co-creator of NBC's Timeless) explained that the Amazon show's writers' room had no trouble when it came to looking for current inspiration and parallels.
“There’s been more than one situation where we’ve come up with a scene or storyline in the writers’ room and then something happened in reality that was crazier than the story we were pitching,” he said. “So we’ve had to erase stories ’cause reality outdid us in how insane things are.”
But don't worry, this series isn't just for the "woke" politically engaged folks out there. In fact, Kripke went on to add that The Boys almost treats the superhero genre like a kaleidoscope, acting as a multi-faceted entity that can appeal to different people on several different levels. It all depends on where you're standing and where you're looking.
“If you just want to watch a shocking superheroes-behaving-badly show, you can. If you want to get connected to the characters, you can,” he said. “And then there’s also a lot of satire and commentary on the world we’re living in, on celebrity culture, on corporate culture, on where celebrity intersects with power and politics to the disadvantage of the general public. The superhero metaphor turned out to be endlessly durable the more we explored it.”
Based on the comic of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys was also developed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who struck comic book gold with their TV adaptation of Preacher for AMC. That project is ending with its fourth season, which debuts in August.
Starring the likes of Karl Urban, Elisabeth Shue, Dominique McElligott, Simon Pegg, Jennifer Esposito, Erin Moriarty, Jack Quaid, and Chace Crawford, the plot of The Boys revolves around the titular CIA-sanctioned task force of superheroes whose sole duty is to monitor, control, or punish other heroes who abuse their supernatural abilities.
Season 1 of The Boys premieres on Amazon Prime Friday, July 26.