The Boys (TV series)

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The Boys
Genre
Based on
Developed byEric Kripke
ShowrunnerEric Kripke
Starring
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes24
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Hartley Gorenstein
  • Gabriel Garcia
  • Nick Barrucci
  • Jake Deuel
  • Karl Urban
  • Stefan Steen
Production locationsHamilton, Ontario, Canada and Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cinematography
Editors
  • David Trachtenberg
  • Nona Khodai
  • David Kaldor
  • Cedric Nairn-Smith
  • William W. Rubenstein
  • Jonathan Chibnall
  • Ian Kezsbom
  • Tom Wilson
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time55–68 minutes[1]
Production companies
Budget$11.2 million per episode (season 1)
Original release
NetworkAmazon Prime Video
ReleaseJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26) –
present (present)
Related
The Boys (franchise)

The Boys is an American satirical superhero television series developed by Eric Kripke for Amazon Prime Video. Based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, it follows the eponymous team of vigilantes as they combat superpowered individuals who abuse their powers. The series features an ensemble cast that includes Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Chace Crawford, Laz Alonso, Tomer Capone, Karen Fukuhara, and Nathan Mitchell.

Originally intended to be a feature-length film, the comic book series adaptation began its development in 2008 with Adam McKay set to direct the film. Due to creative differences between the crew and the studios that picked up the film, the project was left in development hell. The development for the project was revived in 2016 by Cinemax, which announced that it would be reworked as a television series. Kripke was recruited to be the showrunner of the series, while Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg would be the executive producers. Amazon Studios obtained the rights for the series in November 2017, with production starting in May 2018 in Toronto.

The Boys premiered its first season of eight episodes on July 26, 2019. A second season premiered on September 4, 2020, with the third season following on June 3, 2022. In June 2022, the series was renewed for a fourth season, which is scheduled to be released on June 13, 2024. In May 2024, the series was renewed for a fifth season. As part of a shared universe, a spin-off web series, Seven on 7, premiered in July 2021, an animated anthology series, Diabolical, premiered in March 2022, and a second live-action television series, Gen V, premiered in September 2023. Since its release, the series has received praise for its writing, storyline, humor, effects, and performances of the cast, particularly Urban's and Starr's portrayals of Billy Butcher and Homelander, respectively. The series has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2021.

Premise[edit]

The Boys is set in a universe where superpowered individuals (colloquially known as "Supes") are recognized as heroes by the general public and work for a powerful corporation known as Vought International that markets and monetizes them. Outside their heroic personas, most Supes are corrupt and self-serving. The series primarily focuses on two groups: the Boys, a team of vigilantes looking to bring down Vought and its corrupt superheroes, and the Seven, Vought's premier superhero team overseen by executive Madelyn Stillwell.

The Boys are led by the charismatic but violent Billy Butcher, who despises all supes, and the Seven are led by the egotistical and unstable Homelander. At the start of the series, the Boys are joined by Hughie Campbell, whose girlfriend is killed in a freak accident involving a member of the Seven, while the Seven are joined by Annie "Starlight" January, a young and hopeful heroine forced to face the truth about those she admires. Other members of the Seven include the disillusioned Queen Maeve, drug-addicted A-Train, insecure Deep, mysterious Black Noir, and white supremacist Stormfront. The Boys are rounded out by tactical planner Mother's Milk (M.M.), mute animalistic supe Kimiko, and weapons specialist Frenchie.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Karl Urban as Billy Butcher[2] – The leader of the Boys and a former SAS operative who distrusts all superpowered individuals. He has a particular hatred towards Homelander, who he believes is responsible for the disappearance of his wife. Luca Villacis and Josh Zaharia portray younger versions of the character.
  • Jack Quaid as Hughie Campbell[3] – A civilian tech specialist who joins the Boys after his girlfriend Robin is killed by A-Train.
  • Antony Starr as John Gillman / Homelander[4] – The extremely powerful leader of the Seven. Beneath his public image as a noble hero, he is egotistical, megalomaniacal, and cares little about the well-being of those he professes to protect.
  • Erin Moriarty as Annie January / Starlight[5] – A superhero with light-based powers and a member of the Seven. One of the few heroes who values protecting society, she questions her loyalty to the Seven after learning of their true character. Maya Misaljevic portrays the young Starlight.
  • Dominique McElligott as Margaret Shaw / Queen Maeve[6] (seasons 1–3) – A veteran member of the Seven with superhuman strength and durability. Once desiring to protect innocent lives, she has become disillusioned and suffers from burnout.
  • Jessie T. Usher as Reggie Franklin / A-Train[6] – A speedster member of the Seven. He is determined to maintain his status as the fastest speedster in the world, which results in him becoming addicted to Compound V.
  • Laz Alonso as Marvin T. "Mother's" Milk / M.M.[3] – the second-in-command and a member of the Boys who is responsible for organizing and planning their operations. Formerly a medic in the United States Marine Corps, he joined the Boys after Soldier Boy caused his grandfather's death and his attorney father worked himself to death attempting to bring Vought down. Elias Leon Leacock portrays the young M.M.
  • Chace Crawford as Kevin Moskowitz / the Deep[7] – A member of the Seven who possesses the ability to communicate with aquatic life and breathe underwater. He is looked down upon by the other members of the Seven due to his status as the group's token aquatic hero. Patton Oswalt voices the Deep's gills.
  • Tomer Capone as Serge / Frenchie[6] – A member of the Boys and an international arms trafficker skilled in munitions, ordnance, infiltration, and chemistry. Coerced into joining the group to protect his criminal friends, he seeks redemption for his past crimes by fighting against Vought.
  • Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko Miyashiro / the Female[6][3] – A mute member of the Boys with super strength and regenerative healing. Involuntarily injected with Compound V as part of a scheme to create superpowered terrorists, she joins the Boys after they rescue her.
  • Nathan Mitchell as Earving / Black Noir[4] – A mysterious member of the Seven who possesses superhuman strength and agility. Formerly a member of Payback, he was badly disfigured during his team's mutiny against Soldier Boy, rendering him mute and forcing him to conceal his physical appearance behind a dark costume. Fritzy-Klevans Destine portrays the young Black Noir in the third season.
  • Elisabeth Shue as Madelyn Stillwell[8] (season 1; guest season 2) – A charismatic, scheming vice president at Vought International responsible for managing the superheroes.
  • Colby Minifie as Ashley Barrett[9] (season 2–present; recurring season 1) – A publicist for Vought International who later becomes its president.
  • Aya Cash as Klara Risinger / Liberty / Stormfront[10][7] (season 2; guest season 3) - An electrically powered addition to the Seven who is revealed to be the first successful Compound V subject and member of the Seven with plasma-based abilities. Once a member of the Nazi Party, she holds bigoted views towards minorities and the non-superpowered.
  • Claudia Doumit as Victoria Neuman / Nadia Khayat[9] (season 3–present; recurring season 2) – A congresswoman who publicly opposes Vought, but is secretly a superpowered assassin with the ability to manipulate blood and psychically cause spontaneous combustion. Elisa Paszt portrays the young Nadia.
  • Jensen Ackles as Ben / Soldier Boy[11][12] (season 3) – The original premier superhero and leader of Payback. Thought to have been killed during the Cold War, he was secretly betrayed by his team and captured by the Soviets in order for Vought to replace him with Homelander, his biological son.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast released
18July 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
28September 4, 2020 (2020-09-04)October 9, 2020 (2020-10-09)
38June 3, 2022 (2022-06-03)July 8, 2022 (2022-07-08)
4[13]8June 13, 2024 (2024-06-13)July 18, 2024 (2024-07-18)

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"The Name of the Game"Dan TrachtenbergEric KripkeJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
22"Cherry"Matt ShakmanEric KripkeJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
33"Get Some"Phil SgricciaGeorge MastrasJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
44"The Female of the Species"Fred ToyeCraig RosenbergJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
55"Good for the Soul"Stefan SchwartzAnne Cofell SaundersJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
66"The Innocents"Jennifer PhangRebecca SonnenshineJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
77"The Self-Preservation Society"Dan AttiasCraig Rosenberg & Ellie MonahanJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)
88"You Found Me"Eric KripkeAnne Cofell Saunders & Rebecca SonnenshineJuly 26, 2019 (2019-07-26)

Season 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
91"The Big Ride"Phil SgricciaEric KripkeSeptember 4, 2020 (2020-09-04)
102"Proper Preparation and Planning"Liz FriedlanderRebecca SonnenshineSeptember 4, 2020 (2020-09-04)
113"Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men"Steve BoyumCraig RosenbergSeptember 4, 2020 (2020-09-04)
124"Nothing Like It in the World"Fred ToyeMichael SaltzmanSeptember 11, 2020 (2020-09-11)
135"We Gotta Go Now"Batan SilvaEllie MonahanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
146"The Bloody Doors Off"Sarah BoydAnslem RichardsonSeptember 25, 2020 (2020-09-25)
157"Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker"Stefan SchwartzCraig RosenbergOctober 2, 2020 (2020-10-02)
168"What I Know"Alex GravesRebecca SonnenshineOctober 9, 2020 (2020-10-09)

Season 3 (2022)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
171"Payback"Phil SgricciaCraig RosenbergJune 3, 2022 (2022-06-03)
182"The Only Man in the Sky"Phil SgricciaDavid ReedJune 3, 2022 (2022-06-03)
193"Barbary Coast"Julian HolmesAnslem Richardson & Geoff AullJune 3, 2022 (2022-06-03)
204"Glorious Five-Year Plan"Julian HolmesMeredith GlynnJune 10, 2022 (2022-06-10)
215"The Last Time to Look on This World of Lies"Nelson CraggEllie MonahanJune 17, 2022 (2022-06-17)
226"Herogasm"Nelson CraggJessica ChouJune 24, 2022 (2022-06-24)
237"Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed"Sarah BoydPaul GrellongJuly 1, 2022 (2022-07-01)
248"The Instant White-Hot Wild"Sarah BoydLogan Ritchey & David ReedJuly 8, 2022 (2022-07-08)

Season 4[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [14]Directed byWritten by [14]Original release date [13]
251"Department of Dirty Tricks"Phil Sgriccia[15]David ReedJune 13, 2024 (2024-06-13)
262"Life Among the Septics"TBAJessica ChouJune 13, 2024 (2024-06-13)
273"We'll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here"TBAEllie MonahanJune 13, 2024 (2024-06-13)
284"Wisdom of the Ages"TBAGeoff AullJune 20, 2024 (2024-06-20)
295"Beware the Jabberwock, My Son"TBAJudalina NeiraJune 27, 2024 (2024-06-27)
306"Dirty Business"TBAAnslem RichardsonJuly 4, 2024 (2024-07-04)
317"The Insider"TBAPaul GrellongJuly 11, 2024 (2024-07-11)
328"Assassination Run"Eric Kripke[16]Jessica Chou & David ReedJuly 18, 2024 (2024-07-18)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

A film adaptation of Garth Ennis's comic book series The Boys was in various stages of development between 2008 and 2016, initially at Columbia Pictures with Adam McKay directing and a budget of $100 million until the project was abandoned over creative differences between the studio and McKay. Paramount Pictures secured the rights in August 2012 and revived the production,[17][18][19] but in April 2016 the film adaptation was cancelled, and it was announced that Cinemax would be developing a television series adaptation of the comic book instead. Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen, who at the time were working on the series Preacher (also based on a comic book series by Ennis), were recruited as executive producers and directors for the pilot episode.[20] Eric Kripke, a longtime fan of Ennis's work, was hired as the series showrunner and head writer.[21]

In November 2017, Amazon acquired the rights to the television adaptation after Cinemax chose not to move forward with it.[22][23][24][25] Sharon Tal Yguado, who had been hired that year to supervise future franchises made by Amazon, expressed her hopes that the series would offer a different take on the superhero genre at a time when Hollywood was saturated with superhero shows.[26] That same day, Amazon greenlit the production of the first season of eight episodes, each with an estimated budget of $11.2 million.[27] Production was expected to begin in spring of 2018 for a planned release in 2019.[28] Amazon also committed to a run of at least five seasons, in line with Kripke's plans,[29] hoping to replicate the success of hit genre dramas like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.[30]

A second season was announced in July 2019 at the San Diego Comic-Con a week before the series premiere,[31][32] with Kripke having already starting to write the scripts.[33] In December 2019, a teaser trailer confirmed that the second season would be released in 2020,[34] and another trailer released in June 2020 confirmed that it would premiere that September.[35][36] Seeking to make the series a topic of conversation for longer, and hoping to replicate the success of The Handmaid's Tale and The Mandalorian, Kripke and the producers convinced Amazon to release episodes on a weekly basis.[37][38]

A third season was announced at the aftershow for the 2020 San Diego Comic-Con@Home.[39][40] Kripke revealed in October 2020 that he was writing the scripts for the third season,[41] shortly after Amazon had announced the spin-off series Gen V (2023),[42][43] which served as a bridge between the third and fourth seasons of The Boys,[44][45] with the latter being announced in June 2022[46][47] and planned for release in 2024.[48] On May 14, 2024, ahead of the fourth season premiere, Amazon Prime Video announced that the series was renewed for fifth season at Amazon Upfront presentation.[49]

Writing[edit]

The series takes place in a universe where most of the superpowered people, better known as "Supes", pretend to be heroic to ensure that they are loved by the public, while working for Vought which is a company that monetizes and markets them, but in reality, outside their heroic personas, they are actually corrupt celebrities who abuse their powers out of selfishness for personal gain, which serves as a deconstruction of the superhero genre and the idealisms of heroism that they are supposed to represent in contrast to Marvel and DC.[50][51] The series itself is a more realistic portrayal of how superheroes would be actually in real life with many of them having an influence as political figures, over-worshipped celebrities, and profitable marketing tools for a hyper-consumerist society, while also displaying the negative impacts that multiple of the main characters end up suffering thanks to the superhero culture whose life is ruined by it.[52] Many of the Supes that appear in the series are also a direct parody from very popular superheroes from Marvel and DC intending to give them a more depraved, problematic and realistic counterparts, with each season introducing a new Supe that is based from a popular superheroic character.[53][54]

Despite keeping its faithfulness to the source material, the series does not fully follow the storyline from the comic book series in order to retain a sense of realism, given that Kripke considered that some of the concepts and characters from the comics were too fantastical for their portrayal in the television adaptation and put rules to the writers in order to oversee what ideas would be allowed to use and the other ones that would not.[55][56] Another reason for the changes realized to the adaptation was because of the difference between the period where the comic book and the television adaptation take place with the former taking place at the 2000s and the latter at the late 2010s respectively, to which Kripke and the writers deemed that it would be impossible to adapt to the series as it would not fit into the story of the series.[57]

Kripke originally intended for the series to make it run for five seasons as he developed some ideas that could be explored in the fourth and fifth seasons by starting to conclude some of the storylines of the show for the third-season finale.[58] He considered that the ideas he was developing for the television adaptation were enough to be developed for five seasons with further adaptations of the comic book series being adapted in planned spin-offs that would take place in the same universe of the main series.[59][60] Following the success and renewal for its spin-off series Gen V, which would connect the third and fourth seasons of the series, Kripke revealed that he was reconsidering his original plans and admitted that the main series could run beyond five seasons given its success, while also mocking his similar initial plans he had for another series where he also served as showrunner Supernatural, "I have since realized that literally no one in history is worse at predicting the amount of seasons of a show, like literally. I have learned my lesson and I've stopped predicting how many seasons these shows go. You will find out in hindsight."[61]

Casting[edit]

In December 2017, it was announced that Erin Moriarty had been cast in the lead role of Annie January / Starlight.[62] In January 2018, it was reported that Antony Starr, Dominique McElligott, Chace Crawford, Jessie Usher, and Nathan Mitchell had joined the main cast.[63] In March 2018, it was announced that Laz Alonso, Jack Quaid, and Karen Fukuhara had been cast in series regular roles.[64][65][66] In April 2018, it was reported that Karl Urban had been cast in the series' lead role of Billy Butcher.[67] In May 2018, it was announced that Elisabeth Shue had been cast in the series regular role of Madelyn Stillwell.[68] In June 2018, it was reported that Tomer Kapon had joined the main cast in the role of Frenchie.[69] In August 2018, it was announced that Jennifer Esposito had been cast in the recurring role of CIA Agent Susan Raynor.[70] In October 2018, it was announced during the annual New York Comic Con that Simon Pegg had been cast in the role of Hughie's father.[71] According to the artist Robertson, Hughie was drawn in the comics to resemble Pegg after he saw Pegg in the sitcom Spaced, but Pegg thought he was too old to play the role of Hughie in the TV series.[72] In July 2019, alongside the renewal of the second season it was announced that Aya Cash would be joining the series as a gender-swapped version of Stormfront following contract negotiations that began when the second season was announced.[31][73] The reason why Stormfront was changed was in order to make the character of Homelander feel even more hurt from having his spotlight stolen.[74] In September 2019, Goran Višnjić and Claudia Doumit were cast in recurring roles for the second season.[75] A month later, Patton Oswalt was announced in an unspecified role,[76] later revealed to be as the Deep's Gills.[77]

In August 2020, it was reported that Shawn Ashmore was cast as Lamplighter for the second season.[78] A week later, Jensen Ackles joined the cast for the third season as Soldier Boy.[11][79] The character of Soldier Boy would be different from the comics as he would be portrayed as the "Homelander before Homelander" probably even worse than him.[80][81] In October 2020, Claudia Doumit and Colby Minifie were promoted to series regulars for the third season.[9] In March 2021, Katia Winter joined the cast in the recurring role of Little Nina for the third season.[82] In June 2021, Miles Gaston Villanueva, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Nick Wechsler were cast as Supersonic, Gunpowder, and Blue Hawk, respectively, for the third season in undisclosed capacities.[83] Two days later, Laurie Holden joined the cast as Crimson Countess in a recurring role for the third season.[84] In October 2021, Frances Turner, Kristin Booth, and Jack Doolan joined the cast as Monique and twins Tessa and Tommy, a.k.a. the TNT Twins, in recurring roles for the third season.[85] In July 2022, it was announced Nathan Mitchell (who portrayed the masked Black Noir in the first three seasons), despite his character's death in the third season, would continue to portray a new replacement Black Noir in a main capacity in the fourth season of the series.[86] In August 2022, it was reported that Cameron Crovetti had been promoted as a series regular while Valorie Curry and Susan Heyward were cast as new series regulars for the fourth season.[87] Later that month, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was cast in an undisclosed role.[88] In December 2022, Rosemarie DeWitt, Rob Benedict, and Elliot Knight joined the cast in undisclosed capacities for the fourth season.[89]

Filming[edit]

Filming of the series at Pecaut Square in Toronto

Although situated in New York City like in the comics, it was confirmed the series would be filmed in Toronto, Canada.[90] In November 2017, it was announced that the filming for the series was slated to begin filming in 2018 with the hopes of releasing it on 2019. Though the series was mainly shot in Toronto, it was confirmed that additional filming would also be taking place across the Golden Horseshoe area, including Mississauga and Hamilton.[91][92][22]

The filming for the first season started on May 22, 2018, mainly filmed at Toronto with many of the crew filming at several tourist locations, such as the Roy Thomson Hall, the Yonge–Dundas Square, Lower Bay Station, and the Sherbourne Common. In order to make it look like New York City and create the fictional places of the series such as the Seven Tower intending to capture the series universe, several of these locations were digitally altered through CGI including the interiors of several buildings, with several rooms being digitally altered and extended. Another places of interest picked up were the Sherbourne Common, the Cathedral Church of St. James, and the Parkwood Estate.[93][94] Filming for the first season wrapped on October 11, 2018.[95]

The filming for the second season started on July 17, 2019,[96] and followed the similar strategy of being filmed at touristic locations and being edited with CGI. Some of this place of interests include th Meridian Arts Centre, the Wet 'n' Wild Toronto Waterpark, and the Scottish Rite Club. To create the Sage Grove psychiatric hospital, the crew filmed at the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care complex.[93][97] Filming was also at the Mel Lastman Square but eventually the crew were relocated by the Toronto City Council as the location was close to the place where the Toronto van attack occurred on April 23, 2018. This happened to avoid hurting the sentiments of the citizens of Toronto.[98][99] Filming for the second season wrapped on November 15, 2019.[100]

The filming for the third season started on February 24, 2021.[101][102] The filming for the season was not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, though several precautions were implemented to ensure the safety of the cast and crew.[103][104] The new filming locations included for the season were Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Saint George Manor, and Canada's Wonderland Medieval Faire.[93] Filming for the third season wrapped on September 10, 2021.[105]

The filming for the fourth season started on August 23, 2022.[106] Pegg concluded filming his scenes on January 18, 2023.[107] Filming on the finale began on February 12,[108] with Starr concluding filming his scenes on April 4.[109] Filming for the fourth season wrapped on April 12, 2023.[110]

Music[edit]

Score albums have been released for each season of the series by Madison Gate Records. Christopher Lennertz served as composer of the show's score.[111][112] During an interview at the 2019 Comic-Con, he stated that his work for The Boys was the "craziest thing" he has ever done, after collaborating with Seth Rogen for Sausage Party.[113] For the second season's soundtrack, Erin Moriarty provides her own vocals for the song "Never Truly Vanish", which was nominated for an Emmy.[114] The music video for "Never Truly Vanish" was released on YouTube on June 4, 2021.[115] Jessie T. Usher also performed an original song for the second season's soundtrack and on September 1, 2021, the music video for "Faster" was released on YouTube.[116] The third season's soundtrack included two songs performed by Miles Gaston Villanueva, "You've Got a License to Drive (Me Crazy)" and "Rock My Kiss", while Laurie Holden performed "America's Son" which were released on June 3, 2022.[117] On June 17, 2022, another video was released for a song performed by Holden, "Chimps Don't Cry".[118]

Politics[edit]

The seasons explore issues like white nationalism, white supremacy, systemic racism, and xenophobia, with Kripke seeing an opportunity to introduce Stormfront, a racist superhero who believes in Nazism.[119][120] Kripke stated that unlike the comics where Stormfront is male, the character would be gender-swapped for the series with the intention of creating "Homelander's worst nightmare that would be a strong woman who wasn't afraid of him and proceeded to steal his spotlight."[121] The show contains political satire, and many consider the show to be a critique of conservatism and far-right politics.[122][123] The show has also made references to corporate corruption, police brutality, sexual harassment, and homophobia.[124][125] Various analogies have been made to current social and political movements such as Black Lives Matter, the MeToo movement, and comparing Homelander to Donald Trump.[126][127] Promotional materials for the fourth season included the quotes "Make America Super Again" and "Supe Lives Matter", likely a parody of the slogans "Make America Great Again" and "All Lives Matter", respectively.[128] Some of the showrunners have said that these analogies are intentional and made to cast a political message.[129][130]

Release[edit]

The Boys was originally planned to have all the eight episodes of the first season released on Amazon Prime Video on July 26, 2019,[131] but it premiered just a few hours earlier despite keeping the former date as the official one.[132] The second season also consisting of eight episodes, was confirmed to that it would be released at a weekly basis instead of release the entire season as a whole the same day, debuting the first three episodes on September 4, 2020, and the rest debuting on a weekly basis until the season finale on October 9.[133] On January 6, 2022, it was reported that the third season would premiere on June 3, 2022, with the first 3 episodes available immediately and the rest debuting on a weekly basis until the season finale on July 8.[134] The fourth season is expected to premiere on June 13, 2024.[13]

A companion short film titled Butcher, set between the first and second season, was released on September 10, 2020, with Karl Urban reprising his role as Billy Butcher.[135][136] Characters from The Boys also appeared in an episode of Death Battle! sponsored by Amazon Prime Video, which was released on September 17, 2020.[137][138]

Home media[edit]

The first two seasons were released on Blu-ray in a six-disc box set by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on May 17, 2022. The Butcher short film was included as well as deleted scenes and blooper reels.[139] Season 3 was released on October 24, 2023.[140]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Critical response of The Boys
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
185% (106 reviews)[141]74 (19 reviews)[142]
297% (106 reviews)[143]80 (15 reviews)[144]
398% (151 reviews)[145]77 (20 reviews)[146]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds an approval rating of 85% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though viewers' mileage may vary, The Boys' violent delights and willingness to engage in heavy, relevant themes are sure to please those looking for a new group of antiheroes to root for."[141] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[142]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds an approval rating of 97% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Boys comes out swinging in a superb second season that digs deeper into its complicated characters and ups the action ante without pulling any of its socially critical punches."[143] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[144]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 98% based on 151 reviews, with an average rating of 8.05/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Managing to up the ante on what was already one of television's most audacious satires, The Boys' third season is both bracingly visceral and wickedly smart."[145] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[146]

Audience viewership[edit]

In October 2019, Nielsen announced it had begun tracking viewership of Amazon Prime programs. It said The Boys had attracted 8 million total viewers in its first 10 days of release, making it one of the most successful original programs on Amazon Prime.[147] For the second season, the first three episodes drew a 7.2 percent share of streams relative to the top 100 most-watched TV shows on Reelgood within its opening weekend, beating the third season of Stranger Things (5.8 percent) and The Mandalorian (4.4 percent).[148] The show's audience increased 89 percent compared to the first season. Nielsen ratings showed that 891 million minutes of the show had been watched, placing it number three on the Nielsen list, just behind Cobra Kai (2.17 billion minutes) and Lucifer (1.42 billion minutes).[149][150] It became the first non-Netflix show to appear on the Nielsen Top 10 Streaming Shows list.[151][152]

Accolades[edit]

PETA awarded the third-season episode "Barbary Coast" its "Tech, Not Terror" award for using a CGI octopus.[153]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour) Wade Barnett, David Barbee, Mason Kopeikin, Brian Dunlop, Ryan Briley, Chris Newlin, Christopher Brooks, Joseph T. Sabella and Jesi Ruppel (for "The Name of the Game") Nominated [154]
2021 British Fantasy Award Best Film/Television Production The Boys: "What I Know" (season 2, episode 8) Won [155]
Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Actor in a Superhero Series Antony Starr Won [156]
Karl Urban Nominated
Best Actress in a Superhero Series Aya Cash Won
Best Superhero Series The Boys Won
Best Villain in a Series Antony Starr Won
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama Karl Urban Nominated [157]
Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama Aya Cash Nominated
Best Streaming Series, Drama The Boys Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama Giancarlo Esposito Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score and Musical for Episodic Long Form Broadcast Media Christopher Brooks (for "Nothing Like It in the World") Nominated [158]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Fight "Starlight, Queen Maeve, Kimiko vs. Stormfront" Nominated [159]
Best Hero Jack Quaid Nominated
Best Show The Boys Nominated
Best Villain Aya Cash Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics "Never Truly Vanish" – Christopher Lennertz and Michael Saltzman (for "The Big Ride") Nominated [160]
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour) Alexandra Fehrman, Rich Weingart and Thomas Hayek (for "What I Know") Nominated
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Season or a Movie Stephan Fleet, Shalena Oxley-Butler, Kat Greene, Rian McNamara, Tony Kenny, Steve Moncur, Julian Hutchens, Anthony Paterson and Keith Sellers Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty, Craig Rosenberg, Phil Sgriccia, Rebecca Sonnenshine, Ken F. Levin, Jason Netter, Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, Michael Saltzman, Michaela Starr, Gabriel Garcia and Hartley Gorenstein Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Rebecca Sonnenshine (for "What I Know") Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series Erin Moriarty Nominated [161]
Best Superhero Television Series The Boys Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series The Boys Nominated [162]
Writers Guild of America Awards Television: Dramatic Series Eric Kripke, Ellie Monahan, Anslem Richardson, Craig Rosenberg, Michael Saltzman and Rebecca Sonnenshine Nominated [163]
2022 People's Choice Awards The Bingeworthy Show of 2022 The Boys Nominated [164]
Saturn Awards Best Streaming Action/Adventure Television Series The Boys Won [165]
Best Actor in a Streaming Television Series Antony Starr Nominated
Best Actress in a Streaming Television Series Erin Moriarty Nominated
Best Guest-Starring Performance in a Streaming Television Series Jensen Ackles Nominated
2023 Critics' Choice Awards Best Actor in a Drama Series Antony Starr Nominated [166]
Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Superhero Series, Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie The Boys Won [167]
Best Actor in a Superhero Series, Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie Antony Starr Won
Best Actress in a Superhero Series, Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie Erin Moriarty Nominated
Best Villain in a Series, Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie Antony Starr Won
Golden Trailer Awards Best Comedy / Drama TrailerByte for a TV / Streaming Series "Destruction" (Ignition Creative London) Nominated [168]
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Series, Drama The Boys Pending [169]
Best Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama Antony Starr Pending
Jack Quaid Pending
Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama Erin Moriarty Pending
Karen Fukuhara Pending
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama Chace Crawford Pending
Jensen Ackles Pending
Best Directing in a Streaming Series, Drama Nelson Cragg (for "Herogasm") Pending
Best Writing in a Streaming Series, Drama Logan Ritchey and David Reed (for "The Instant White-Hot Wild") Pending
Hollywood Critics Association Creative Arts TV Awards Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series Paul Reiser Nominated
Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Aya Cash Nominated
Best Casting in a Drama Series The Boys Won
Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Costumes Nominated
Best Stunts Won
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) Wade Barnett, Chris Kahwaty, Ryan Briley, Jeffrey A. Pitts, Pete Nichols, Christopher Brooks, James Howe (for "The Instant White-Hot Wild") Nominated [170]
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited or Anthology Series or Movie John Koyama Won
Satellite Awards Best Genre Series The Boys Won [171][172]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series The Boys Nominated [173]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Stephan Fleet, Shalena Oxley-Butler, Tristan Zerafa, Anthony Paterson, Hudson Kenny (for "Payback") Nominated [174][175]
2024 Astra TV Awards Best Streaming Drama Series The Boys Won [176]
Best Actor in a Streaming Drama Series Antony Starr Won [176]
Jack Quaid Nominated [177]
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Drama Series Jensen Ackles Won [176]
Chace Crawford Nominated [177]
Best Directing in a Streaming Drama Series Nelson Cragg Won [176]
Best Actress in a Streaming Drama Series Erin Moriarty Nominated [177]
Karen Fukuhara Nominated [177]
Best Writing in a Streaming Drama Series Logan Ritchey and David Reed (for "The Instant White-Hot Wild") Nominated [177]

Franchise[edit]

Spin-offs[edit]

The Boys Presents: Diabolical[edit]

On December 5, 2021, at the Brazil Comic-Con, Prime Video announced that The Boys Presents: Diabolical, an animated anthology series, had been given an eight-episode series order.[178] On January 18, 2022, it was announced that the series would premiere on March 4, 2022.[179]

Gen V[edit]

On September 24, 2020, it was announced that a spin-off centered on a superhero college had been fast-tracked into development upon the ratings success of the series' second season. Described as being "part college show, part Hunger Games", the spin-off is to be set "... at America's only college exclusively for young adult superheroes (and run by Vought International)" and is described as "an irreverent, R-rated series that explores the lives of hormonal, competitive Supes as they put their physical, sexual, and moral boundaries to the test, competing for the best contracts in the best cities".[180] On October 2, 2020, Kripke stated the series would focus on the G-Men team that had been mentioned in the first season, a parody of the X-Men.[181] On September 27, 2021, the untitled spin-off was given a series order by Amazon Studios.[182] Filming of the series, titled Gen V, beginning at the University of Toronto in May 2022 and the Claireville Conservation Area, Brampton in July, intended for an October wrap.[183][184] The series premiered on September 29, 2023.[185]

The Boys: Mexico[edit]

On November 28, 2023, a new spinoff series was announced as in the works at Amazon. The Boys: Mexico is created by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, who produces alongside Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal.[186]

Other media[edit]

Vought News Network[edit]

Ahead of the premiere of the third season, the series had released video segments in the form of in-universe news reports from the Vought News Network channel on YouTube, titled Seven on 7 with Cameron Coleman. Each of the seven segments contains seven stories that tease events in upcoming episodes and introduce new cast members, and acts as a bridge between Season 2 and 3. Matthew Edison, who plays news anchor Cameron Coleman, also appears in the third season of the series.[187]

Supe Porn[edit]

On October 3, 2020, Eric Kripke said that the in-universe pornographic superhero film scenes briefly glimpsed in the second season The Boys episode "Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker" had been produced in full, expressing interest in releasing them under the name Supe Porn to the website of the same name, registered to Sony Pictures,[188] as well as supposedly requesting Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Antony Starr and the other followers of his Twitter page to join him in petitioning Prime Video and Amazon Studios to allow the potential web series to be uploaded.[189] Later on, a fictional sex toy online store was added to the website, with a collection of products such as The StarMight Plug and Translucent's Glass Dildo. At the bottom of the website there is a message saying that its contents are for entertainment purpose only and not actually for sale.[190]

Deeper and Deeper[edit]

On June 9, 2022, an audiobook/podcast special titled The Boys: Deeper and Deeper was released as an Audible Original. The special takes the form of an in-universe interview with The Deep and his wife Cassandra about The Deep's memoir titled Deeper and the events in his life that are described in the memoir.[191]

Call of Duty[edit]

In July 2023, Activision announced a collaboration between the Call of Duty video game franchise and The Boys, which features the addition of Starlight, Homelander and Black Noir as playable characters in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0. Warzone 2.0 also features map updates that include adverts of the Seven, as well as a "Temp V" field upgrade that allows players to use one of four superpowers, based on other characters in the series.[192] A trailer for the collaboration was released on the Vought International YouTube channel, which depicts it as taking place in-universe prior to the end of the third season.[193]

In November 2023, a second collaboration was announced for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, with A-Train and Firecracker joining the playable roster as part of the game's first seasonal content update.[194]

Mortal Kombat[edit]

Homelander was announced to appear as a playable character in the upcoming video game Mortal Kombat 1, modeled after Antony Starr and voiced by Chris Cox. He will appear via the "Kombat Pack" DLC.[195]

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