In a world where TV shows and movies feature super heroes as the defenders of truth, justice and the American way, the Amazon Prime Video series “The Boys” does none of that. It has costumed characters with extraordinary powers but instead of being watchdogs for good, they help support corporate greed and corruption.
Despite taking such a 180-degree look at the world of super heroes, the first season of “The Boys” had a strong enough following for the streaming service that a second season was ordered. It will begin to unfold Sept. 4.
Executive producer Eric Kripke has a simple explanation as to why a show that spits in the face of traditional superhero productions has been so successful.
“It’s a show that works for people who both love and hate superhero stuff. It delivers all the pleasure of that genre but also is highly critical and deconstructive of it,” Kripke says. “And I also think this show reflects the exact minute we’re living in.
“I think people find it sort of surprisingly current and probably smarter than they thought it was going to be when they tuned in. And the violence, and the sense of humor, and all of that.”
Kripke is so convinced fans of the series – based on the comic book by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson – have been so attracted to the violence and humor that the second season cranks up both. That’s an accomplishment considering the intensity of the first year.
If you aren’t familiar with the series or comic book, The Boys is made up of a group of outcasts who police the actions of a group of heroes known as The Seven and their corporate keeper Vought. Season two picks up with The Boys on the run from the law, hunted by the Supes and desperately trying to regroup. Hughie (Jack Quaid), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) try to adjust to a new normal, with their leader, Butcher (Karl Urban), nowhere to be found.
Their main target is Homelander (Antony Starr), an All-American looking hero who has wiped out the lines between good and evil. The Boys are getting help from Starlight (Erin Moriarty), a member of The Seven who has seen the evil of corporate America – even if the main players wear Spandex rather than business suits.
The second season will provide more insight into what motivates The Boys. Quaid’s character in the first season decided to join the group to avenge the death of his girlfriend at the hands of one of the superheroes.
“I think that the motivation to seek some sort of justice for Robin’s wrongful death is always somewhere in the back of Hughie’s mind. But I think this season Hughie is trying to figure out what he wants in the mess that he’s in. Whether he likes it or not, he’s in it now,” Quaid says. “He wants to finish what they started in terms of bringing down Vought at the top of this season. He may not like that he’s in this situation, but he, at least at the start of our story, is the only one trying to finish the mission.
The Boys will have a new hero to face this season as Stormfront – played by Aya Cash – joins The Seven. She’s a social media-savvy new Supe who has an agenda of her own.
Stormfront was a male hero in the comics. Kripke explains the gender change was made because having a strong female join the team would be a nightmare for Homelander.
Cash was not familiar with the comic book before being cast as Stormfront. She read some issues to get a flavor for the story but didn’t do too much research because she feels the print and TV versions are very different.
“I went with the writing that was in the show versus sort of going back to the source material to try to create something, because I feel like the writers had done that job of translating already,” Cash says. “They put me in training for two months before I started. I’d never done anything like that before and I’m no spring chicken.”
The first three episodes of the eight-part season two will premiere Sept. 4 with new episodes available each Friday following.