Written by: Alessandra Motisi – Publication date:
The Boys is an exciting experience to say the least: thanks to the skilful direction of Eric Kripkethe writing team, the talented cast and its combination of action, satire and drama, the TV series of Prime Video remains one of the most unique and provocative representations of the small screen. It is known how much this adaptation highlights how the superhero genre can be used as a mirror to reflect on our society, exposing its hypocrisies and contradictions. And he does it boldly, without ever falling into didactic or preachy.
The show never backs down when it comes to violence, but always manages to balance this type of element with moments of humor: the result is an explosive mix that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. But how do you overcome the withdrawal symptoms from The Boys between seasons, or worse, when it comes to an end?
Here are 5 TV series you could watch if you loved The Boys.
Watchmen – Disponibile su NOW
Like The Boys, Watchmen is also based on a comic book and offers a deep and dark reflection on the concept of superheroes.
The characters are born from the famous English writer Alan Moorewhile the illustrations were edited by the compatriot Dave Gibbons. DC Comics published the 12 issues, with monthly output, between 1986 and 1987, and then collected it in a single edition in 1987. The Italian version instead saw the light of day as a supplement to the magazine Corto Maltese (Rizzoli) between 1988 and 1990. A hardcover version was then released in 1993. Over the years, several publishing houses have reprinted the work, up to the most recent edition by Panini Comics.
In the TV series we are projected 34 years after the events of the original comic. During the alternate 20th century depicted in the comic, the vigilantes – once hailed as heroes – have been outlawed due to their violence.
In 1985 Adrian Veidt, also known as the vigilante Ozymandias, orchestrated a false flag attack in New York City, resulting in the deaths of millions. This tragedy has brought the nations of the world together to face a common enemy, averting a potential global conflict and nuclear holocaust.
We then move to 2019, in Tulsa, where a violent war is underway. The Seventh Kavalry, a white supremacist group inspired by the vigilante Rorschach, attacks minorities and the police. After a tragic event known as the “White Night”, few policemen survive, and strict laws are enacted to protect their identities. This creates a constant tension, with the police and vigilantes in a delicate balance between justice and violence.
A key feature that makes Watchmen different from any traditional comic is its own innovative representation of superheroes, who are not seen as extraordinary and mythical entities, but rather as human beings with everyday problems, ethical dilemmas and personal difficulties. This singular approach “deconstructs” the traditional idea of the superhero, highlighting his humanity. It also examines the political and social implications of existing as a superhero in a real world, tackling topics such as race, authoritarianism and history. The sense of realism imbued in every scene makes the characters instantly relevant and truly human, regardless of their superhuman abilities. The series is bold, challenging, and constantly challenges audiences’ expectations of what a superhero story can be.
The Umbrella Academy – Disponibile su Netflix
This TV series also comes to life from a comic: the original material was published in 2007, written by the frontman of My Chemical Romance Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá; centers on a decidedly unconventional group of superheroes. These characters are brought together by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an alien disguised as a successful businessman, who adopts them with the aim of saving the world from an impending threat.
The story begins on October 1, 1989, the date on which 43 women give birth simultaneously despite having shown no signs of pregnancy up to that moment. Seven of these babies are adopted by Hargreeves, who wishes to form a team of superheroes to fight evil. The boys, initially identified only by a number, then receive names: Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Cinque, Ben and Vanya/Viktor. Each of them has unique abilities and carries out anti-crime missions under the guidance of their adoptive father.
However, Hargreeves’ sudden death brings the brothers together and reveals baffling family secrets, too to the prophecy of a global threat. Faced with these revelations, the members of the Umbrella Academy decide to honor their father’s legacy and carry on his saving plan, protecting humanity from the dark forces that threaten it.
The Umbrella Academy offers a unique approach to the superhero genre: rather than focusing on fighting and battling villains, it highlights the intricacies of being a hero, exploring the human behind the super. The protagonists, endowed with incredible abilities, struggle with everyday problems, such as family and personal problems, as well as with global threats. The dynamism and vulnerability give a new depth to the typical superhero storytellingshowing that despite their powers, they are still deeply human.
Doom Patrol – Available on Prime Video
Guess what? This TV series also comes from a comic.
Doom Patrol is the brainchild of Bob Haney e Arnold Drake, and debuted in DC Comics in 1963, revolutionizing the concept of superheroes. The members of this group of metahumans are faced with a unique conflict: they are not outcasts because of their powers, which could be considered dangerous – a dynamic paralleling that of the X-Men of Stan Lee e Jack Kirby – but because of their unusual appearance. Interestingly both Stan Lee and Bob Haney started these teams simultaneously.
The stories have evolved over the course of 6 comic series, always with DC Comics. In 2016, the team gained new life under DC’s Young Animal label, thanks to the pen of – again – Gerard Way (those who have seen Manifest would say that “everything is connected”) and to the drawings of Nick Derington. This renewed version, which ended in 2018 after 12 issues, brought to light new intriguing characters, and at the same time reinvigorated the classic ones, helping to give new depth to the Doom Patrol saga.
Doom Patrol reinvents the superhero genre with a group of anti-heroes plagued by trauma and flaws, offering a reflection on marginalization and acceptance. The characters, far from the idealization typical of the genre, struggle with their inner demons as much as with external enemies. The bold and visually stunning show redefines what a superhero is, blending black humor, insight and action.
Invincible – Available on Prime Video
Invincible also comes from a comic series, born from the pen of Robert Kirkman and brought to life by illustrators Cory Walker e Ryan Ottley, which introduces us to the world of Mark Grayson. Mark, however normal a teenager may appear, carries in his DNA the sign of an extraordinary destiny: his father, Nolan, is in fact Omni-Man, the supreme icon of terrestrial heroism.
At the age of 17, Mark begins to manifest the powers of the Viltrumite lineage, his father’s galactic race. Welcomed in the heroic name of Invincible, Mark begins his superhero parable, supported by Omni-Man as a guide and a team of young heroes, including Robot, Rex Splode, Dupli-Kate and Atom Eve.
Mark’s heroic journey undergoes a drastic jolt when the disturbing truth about his father emerges: Omni-Man, far from being a benevolent protector, has been sent to Earth as the vanguard of a Viltrumite conquest. This revelation opens the door to a dramatic confrontation between father and sonat the end of which Nolan leaves the Earth.
From here, the story then unfolds into a fascinating maze of story arcs, which see Mark cross alternate dimensions, fight against the Viltrumite armada and other cosmic threats to save the Earth.
The Prime Video adaptation focuses on the father-son relationship and above all on the difficulties Mark faces in developing his superpowers and keeping up with such a cumbersome father figure.
Mark Grayson is not a classic superhero: is a young man who is confronted with adolescence and the responsibilities inherited from his alien father, highlighting his vulnerability and humanity and offering a mature and emotional portrait of the heroic figure.
Preacher – Available on Prime Video
Preacher is based not on a simple comic: it is based on a comic created by Steve Dillon e Garth Ennis, the same Garth Ennis he created The Boys. But that’s not all: the TV series was edited by Evan Goldberg e Seth Rogen, the same team behind The Boys! Isn’t that crazy?
As if that weren’t enough assurance of quality and the certainty of a highly engaging storyline, Preacher is a story that defies the conventions of superhero comics and the noir genre.
Its protagonist, Jesse Custer, is a preacher with a violent past who acquires superhuman powers and embarks on a divine mission. But he is not the classic incorruptible hero: Jesse is tormented, complex, and isn’t afraid to use his powers in ways that may seem amoral.
His ability, known as the “Word of God”, allows him to command anyone to do anything he wishes. Despite his power, Jesse is driven by a strong sense of justice and responsibility, seeking answers directly from God about the world’s suffering.
The plot is a mix of supernatural elements, action, black humor and social commentary. After being possessed by Genesis, Jesse, accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Tulip O’Hare and an Irish vampire named Cassidy, travels across the United States in search of God, who has abandoned Heaven.
Along the journey, the trio find themselves battling extraordinary foes, which include a religious secret society called The Grail, an assassin called The Saint of Killers, and various angels and demons. These conflicts explore themes of faith, redemption, and the eternal struggle between good and evil.
As the story unfolds, Jesse must deal with his troubled past and the complications of his present, trying to reconcile his new position of power with his personal ideals. In all of this, Jesse Custer emerges as a unique hero: a man who tries to do the right thing in a corrupt world, even if his methods may be brutal or questionable.
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