Set in the diabolical world of The Boys, Gen V expands the universe to Godolkin University, the prestigious superhero-only college where students train to be the next generation of heroes—preferably with lucrative endorsements. You know what happens when supes go bad, but not all superheroes start out corrupt. Beyond the typical college chaos of finding oneself and partying, these kids are facing explosive situations … literally. As the students vie for popularity and good grades, it’s clear that the stakes are much higher when super powers are involved. When the group of young supes discover that something bigger and sinister is going on at school, they're put to the test: Will they be the heroes or the villains of their stories?
Spoiler Level: Mild
Gen V follows a group of college-age characters in a show that feels like a mashup between its source material, The Boys, and Degrasse. While the stakes aren’t immediately as high as the world ending disasters shown in most superhero content nowadays, the core mysteries and characters prove to be just as compelling as its source material. Instead of following a group of people who are aiming to take down the superheroes, Gen V opts to follow the heroes themselves, as they uncover a mysterious plot within the college that is supposed to be training them.
One question many viewers will have going into this show is how much it relies on The Boys. While it may be essential to have seen some of The Boys in order to understand the world in which this show takes place, there is no requirement to see any of it. This show is as standalone as it gets, and any references to The Boys will purely be for hardcore fans. All of these storylines revolve around new characters and the mysteries are still compelling in their own right.
Right off the bat, Gen V promises to push all of the boundaries that its source material had made such a splash doing. Opening with a scene of double manslaughter, Gen V introduces viewers to Marie, played by Jaz Sinclair. This kicks off the introduction to the school, Godolkin University, colloquially known as God U, which serves as the setting for the show. These first three episodes introduce a lot of characters; however two genuinely stand out amongst the rest, Chance Perdomo’s Andre and Maddie Phillips’s Cate. More so than Marie, these two characters seem to have more of a connection to the central mystery. Marie’s story seems to be practically separate from what many would consider to be the main plot, making it hard to sympathize with her plight. Andre and Cate on the other hand have an active role in this main plot, so their own struggles, such as Andre’s overbearing father, are easier to connect to.
One of the most poignant storylines here has to be the one revolving around London Thor and Derek Luh’s character, Jordan Li. This character has the ability to shift their image to reflect a male or female appearing body. This character’s story is a strong conversation about how hard it is to get anywhere in this world as someone who doesn’t conform to one gender. This is shown in a conversation with their bigoted father, but more directly in their conversation with Marie in the first episode where they outright tell her that the world is going to automatically place them down a peg before even getting to know them. This is a very compelling plot thread that continues The Boys’ Universe’s journey to use these fantastical characters as analogues for things going on in the real world.
Just like The Boys, Gen V has some of the best production value on TV. Amazon definitely has a strong budget to put into these things, and that money goes to good use with the special effects, but the biggest accomplishment here has to be the cinematography and shot composition. Gen V always feels like it belongs on a movie screen. Regardless of the flashy powers and lack of A-List talent, Amazon has made this show feel like a true powerhouse of TV/Filmmaking prowess.
Although this show takes place within a school, the students here seem to have a lot of free time to participate in… extracurriculars. This is one of the tropes of shows like this, where the setting of the school has seemingly zero impact on the lives of the characters, outside of serving as a place for their adventures to take place. While the cast performs excellently, the lack of actual schooling makes it hard to see these characters as the ages that they are supposed to be. All of them should be anywhere from 18-22 but they all act and look like they are much older. Thankfully, the show is not set in a highschool or else this would create a whole slew of problems, but hey, can we at least pretend for once that students in a school actually have homework and need to study for tests? Yes, this is a superhero school, but it’s still a school nonetheless. But, it will be easy to forget this is all taking place in a school once the violence, sex, and overall graphic nature of this show starts to rear its head.
At this point, Gen V feels like it’s competing with The Boys to see who can put the most bizarre image on a TV. Since these shows are just two sides of the same coin, it almost becomes amusing to see this faux-competition take place. Regardless of how groundbreaking any of this practically x-rated content is, sometimes Gen V will make you question if it’s jumping the shark. The first episode features a scene where Lizzie Broadway’s character, Emma Meyer, uses her shrinking powers during a graphic sex scene, which practically serves no purpose. Thematically, this scene wasn’t necessary, yet the filmmakers here included it purely for the shock value. Whether this brings in viewers to the show or not is up to the viewer’s viewing habits, but we may have reached a point where The Boys’ Universe explicitly reaches the same levels as the cameos in the MCU or DCEU.
Gen V is a strong ancillary show that builds upon the world of The Boys. The strong social message in the show keeps it relevant to today’s world, the whole cast delivers stellar performances that keep the mystery intriguing. The show may go off the rails with its obscene content, but that also may be what draws in new viewers.
Gen V is streaming now on Amazon Prime.
Gen V Episodes 1-3 Review: It’s the Student’s Turn Now
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 9.5/109.5/10
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