GEN V: SEASON ONE
Starring: Jaz Sinclair, Chance Perdomo, Lizze Broadway, Maddie Phillips, London Thor, Derek Luh, Asa Germann, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Shelley Conn
Creators: Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Craig Rosenberg
Gen V is as great and captivating as The Boys, certainly boasting the same tone that the fans love while crafting its own personality in the process. What I admire about it most, though, is that the creators know The Boys isn't excellent because of the blood and depravity, but because of the smart writing and the layered character development built around the world-building. With that, Gen V mostly ditches the parent show’s political commentary to remain focused on its complicated yet tragic characters. It's annoying that it's essential viewing for The Boys, but on its own, it's one hell of a spinoff.
The best spinoffs can stand on their own while still building upon the shared universe. When it comes to Gen V, the cast and crew knew exactly how to add to The Boys canon without feeling like a pointless imitation. Gen V is as brutal, funny, and scathingly critical of society as its parent show, holding a mirror to the ugly side effects of Gen Z’s propensity for likes, clicks, and follows, while using shockingly well-rounded archetype characters to create compellingly intelligent storytelling. It takes the conflicts of CW staples, adds R-rated superhero set-pieces, and somehow manages to flip them into something uniquely refreshing.
I’m torn on Gen V. On one hand, I give it credit for finding enough separation from The Boys to stand on its own, even as it features the same levels of violence, raunch, and subversiveness. On the other hand, aside from Emma/Cricket (Lizze Broadway), I’m not invested in any of the characters, and the social commentary, while apt, concerns Gen Z anxieties that I either don’t relate to or find interesting. Ultimately, this is an R-rated CW show, and the darker tone doesn’t always save the young adult storylines. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s not near as good as The Boys.
What makes this spin-off work so well is that, while it very much exists within the same universe as The Boys, it stands very tall on its own and it won’t confuse viewers who haven’t caught up with
the original series. With that said, Gen V manages to be just as chaotic and bloody as its predecessor while throwing its own spin on things. It does a fantastic job of introducing us to these new and intriguing young supes that we can all somehow relate to one way or another. Overall, I can’t wait to see
what’s in store for next semester at Godolkin University!
Gen V’s biggest hurdle was going to be maintaining the essence of The Boys while avoiding the pitfalls teen series fall into (the CW effect). As far as that goes, it clears that bar with ease. It’s just as edgy, violent, and vulgar as The Boys, albeit with less interesting characters. There are a few, mainly Emma (Lizze Broadway) and Jordan (London Thor), but the rest of the cast fail to stand out on their own in spite of their unique powers. Yes, this can be remedied with a deeper dive in Season Two, but doing so earlier would have enhanced the series’ opening season.