For three skull-crushing, eye-popping seasons, Amazon Prime’s The Boys has carved a sizable niche for itself in the television landscape as the crass, cynical answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a cruel, often brutal series about superhumans (“supes”) that both pokes fun at and leans into the tropes that’ve made the MCU so popular. But as viewers eagerly anticipate season four, The Boys fans can sate their appetite with the premiere of the show’s spinoff, Gen V. With the same misanthropic sensibilities as its parent series, Gen V maintains The Boys’s house blend of gross-out sex humor, shocking supe-induced violence, and a heaping handful of satirical social commentary.
Gen V follows Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), a small-town college freshman whose life veered horrifyingly off course when her blood-bending powers manifested in a freak accident that killed both of her parents. Devastated by the loss but determined to prove that she’s not a monster, Marie attends Godolkin University (God U, for short) in the hopes of making it as a hero—only to have her rose-tinted view of supes quickly shattered.
For all intents and purposes, Gen V is simply The Boys transposed over a slightly younger, slightly more women-centric narrative—but without the necessary thematic shifts to make Marie’s tragic story truly interesting or effective. Certainly, all the pieces are there on paper (a golden boy, a mean popular girl, a quirky, Internet-obsessed roommate), but the college students of Gen V feel distinctly like a grown adult’s idea of college students, not real kids.
This lack of authenticity in writing and disconnect between character and tone is Gen V’s ultimate downfall—taking a nearly bulletproof concept and reducing it to the most predictable, bare-bones approach. Though fans of The Boys may enjoy this new perspective in a familiar universe, Gen V is too hesitant to find an identity outside of the formula that made The Boys so popular. 18+, eight hour-long episodes.