Gen V Season 1 Review

Prime Video hit the jackpot with Gen V. The spinoff forges its own identity as a TV-MA Sky High that brightens the mood of The Boys’ universe while still advancing the franchise’s bigger-picture storytelling arcs. Showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters put more emphasis on Godolkin University’s troubled attendees than Vought’s Seven or Butcher’s crew, valuing a fully developed experience over cheap cameo pops and The Boys callbacks. Gen V never feels like filler or fluff – it’s an unmissable coming-of-age spectacle.

The first season maintains the hellacious hallmarks of The Boys, from extreme superhero violence to a raunchiness that’d make John Waters blush. Thematically and visually, it’s not afraid to flaunt its affiliation with Prime Video’s adults-only supe satire: From early scenes with exploding privates until the campus massacre that colors the finale deep red, Gen V keeps an impressive pace with The Boys’ shock-and-awe highlights. The material isn’t toned down for younger protagonists: Gen V embraces the hormonal anarchy of college and lets the students of Godolkin University run wild, which is frequently and chaotically entertaining. It’s no doubt one of the horniest shows on television, and it wears that distinction with pride.

Gen V – New Images of The Boys Spinoff

What’s so exceptional about Gen V is it’s hardly more of the same scorched-earth brand of supe cynicism. The writers tap into the repulsive reality of babies practically sold to Vought International by parents who approve Compound V injections, which richly complicates typical coming-of-age formulas. The Boys has been much quicker to anoint characters “Good” or “Bad,” whereas Gen V rushes no judgments about mere children wrestling with extraordinary abilities, destructive family dynamics, and their futures under Vought’s thumb. It doesn’t lose itself to any equivalent of Butcher’s hate or Homelander’s rage – Gen V is a compelling alternative that speaks with an empathetic voice about what it takes to be a true hero in a world filled with phonies in patriotic costumes spouting scripted platitudes. It’s do-gooding and spunky but also sincerely heartbreaking and sympathetic because the characters are still establishing how they’ll behave as professional supes.

The actors playing the “Guardians of Godolkin” shine as a tight-knit ensemble. It starts with Jaz Sinclair as bloodbender Marie Moreau, who anchors Gen V as the prototypical superhero who discovered their powers under the most tragic circumstances. The first season is appropriately tuned into the turbulence that churns inside Marie and her cohorts and gives as much screen time to their psychological struggles, drowning out any fear that this might be a one-note replication of The Boys. The stakes of both shows are heightened by even the slightest bit of hope that someone like Marie might be able to end Vought’s despicable stranglehold over American superhero culture.

When individually called upon, the cast answers with resounding results. Maddie Phillips emerges as standout Cate Dunlap, the mind manipulator who becomes the epitome of an outsider pushed to their breaking point. London Thor and Derek Luh deliver an impassioned monologue during an elegant Godolkin fundraiser that cuts to the tender core of how these sons and daughters feel about becoming Compound V “monsters” without their consent. Chance Perdomo does a tremendous job conveying the numbing comfort of party drugs as Andre Anderson, the metal-twisting nepotism baby (poorly) carrying his famous supe father’s legacy.

Any gripes are washed away by Gen V’s impressive conceptual curiosity.

Lizze Broadway and Asa Germann earn top marks as size-shifting Emma and unstable superboy Sam. Their knack for playing awkward teen romance and fluttery-eyed compassion is the show’s secret sauce, demonstrating everything the kids at God U could achieve if the rest of society just butted out. That’s why it hits so hard when Emma soulfully bares everything in the finale to try and reason with a mentally poisoned Sam, who is staring down a Homelander-esque path to preserve “Supe Lives.” Broadway and Germann’s chemistry sets the screen ablaze with passion and fury that in turn lights everyone else in the scene a bit brighter.

But let’s be honest – you’re enrolling in Gen V for the fight sequences where a naked flaming athlete gets his inferno dong doinked in combat. You’re here for the excessive penile mutilation, the out-of-nowhere Jason Ritter cameos, and for damn sure Emma’s first shrunken sexual encounter at Godolkin. Gen V is gobs of fun until it decidedly isn’t, because these are superhuman kids who feel the consequences of their actions. Each episode’s writers and directors don’t waste the opportunity to explore what The Boys might gloss over as collateral damage. Andre’s carelessness, Cate’s betrayals, and Sam’s puppet hallucinations – they all come with literal or proverbial scars that Gen V refuses to heal. That may sound vindictive and cruel, but it makes Gen V that much better of an antidote to The Boys in specific ways.