The college superhero satire Gen V offers an intriguing spin on the twisted world of its parent show The Boys. It juggles themes of power corruption with high school sex scenes and lofty therapy-speak. It also takes clear delight in skewering media conglomerates, from vlogging to TikTok trends to red-carpet galas.
While the superhero premise might feel like a cliche, Gen V makes surprisingly good use of it. The series, which is a spinoff of The Boys, plays with the tropes and offers a fresh take on them. It takes a no-holds-barred look at teen culture, with characters vying for popularity and good grades while trying to figure out their powers. It also takes a clear delight in satirizing media conglomerates (we see a pointed WandaVision reference early on) and even addresses more sensitive issues, such as Marie’s self-harming tendencies or Emma’s body image struggles, with the blunt force of a sledgehammer.
The repelis show is anchored by its leads, who are a strong and diverse group. Jaz Sinclair is particularly impressive in the lead role of Marie Moreau, whose power allows her to control blood telekinetically. She’s determined to be the first Black woman in the elite superhero unit The Seven, but when she gets involved in Vought’s evil machinations, it will take more than her powers to survive.
Amazon’s foul-mouthed superhero satire returns with Gen V, which centers on an insidious corporation called Vought and the young supes they corrupt. This new college-set spinoff, developed by The Boys creators Mike Starr and Seth Rogen, aims for a different tone than its predecessors while still exploring the same worthy targets.
The series opens with a traumatic set piece that, in classic The Boys fashion, makes literal some aspects of superherodom that usually remain metaphorical or abstract. It also introduces Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), whose elixir of youth gave her blood that can be weaponized and is now a supe-in-training at Godolkin University.
Like its parent series, Gen V skewers everything from police incompetence to media conglomerates and the corporate entertainment that they promote. It’s not as deep as The Boys, but it does a good job of creating characters that feel like real people who struggle with genuine problems. Sinclair and her fellow cast members—especially London Thorn and Derek Luh as gender-swapping super Jordan—are able to convey the show’s themes through a variety of means, including plenty of bloodshed and awkwardly placed penises.
While it is a spinoff of The Boys, Gen V is more than just a retread. It takes a bracingly literal approach to things like teenage vlogging, TikTok trends and college industrial complex. It also clearly relishes its satirical targets, including a pointed dig at Disney with WandaVision and more.
It also manages to juggle several plotlines with ease, from the exploding murders to the young supes’ personal struggles. This is helped by its excellent cast, led by Jaz Sinclair and Lizzie Broadway. The latter, who starred in the recent Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is particularly good as Marie’s insecure roommate, who finds her powers aren’t quite what she expected.
There are plenty of gut-busting scenes and loads of laughs in these first episodes, but the show also reveals much more about its lead characters and their relationships with each other. In fact, the whole production feels more emotionally honest than The Boys and its cynicism tends to come from a more head-on place, rather than winking at it.
While it may not be as bloody or as ruthless as its predecessor, Gen V is still a sleazy teen black comedy that delivers plenty of thrills. Whether through outlandish depictions of full-frontal nudity or hormone-driven bad decisions fueled by cocaine, Gen V is super horny and super bloodthirsty in all the best ways.
Like its parent show, it sends up the absurdity of celebrity culture with an even more sour attitude. From vapid Godolkin students boasting about their stardom to administrators begging for money, it’s all fair game for the series to mock.
It also satirizes traditional adolescent insecurities and rites of passage through a supernatural prism. Marie’s power connects to adolescent anxieties about body image while Emma’s miniaturization powers and gender-swapping Jordan are meant as allegories for eating disorders and nonbinary identity respectively. Moreover, there are plenty of clever cameos from familiar faces. This includes Clancy Brown as A-Train and Lizze Broadway as Marie’s insecure roommate whose shrinking powers come with an emotional cost.