Within just a few episodes, THE BOYS became one of my favorite shows, a work of searing, brilliant satire. I just finished the second season, which amps up the volume while expanding its themes. This season was just as brilliant as the first, and I can’t wait for Season 3.
In Season 2, the Boys are on the run, hunted by superheroes, and still trying to take the fight to the Vought corporation. In The Seven, Homelander is even more unstable and brutal, Starlight wants to subvert the company from within, and a new social media-adept superhero, Stormfront, joins America’s greatest superhero team with her own agenda. As America becomes gripped by terror and paranoia over super terrorists, Vought and its hard-edged CEO hope to capitalize and seize even more power, money, and control.
THE BOYS has been praised as brilliant satire, but it’s not so much satirizing the superhero trope as America itself. In the second season of THE BOYS, we see superheroes using social media to advance their goals, indoctrinated idiots committing murder, a Scientology-style religion finding down-and-out supes to rehabilitate and control, PSAs for schools about what students and teachers should do if their school is attacked by supervillains, and more. As for the superhero trope, it’s not so much satire as an actually realistic depiction of what real superheroes would be like–shallow, self-aggrandizing celebrities who maybe started out with pure intentions but became corrupted by power and money.
While the show could have traded on the satire and its trademark dark, gory humor, it shows a surprising amount of heart, with even Homelander given a chance to show compassion and love somebody other than himself. The characters are all likeable, and I loved the addition of Stormfront, particularly when her back story is revealed.
Overall, despite its flaws, THE BOYS is one of the best shows on TV, as brutal in its humor and satire as the superheroes it portrays.