Boys TV Show May Be Better Than the Comic

The Boys promo picture

Once upon a time, it would have been unthinkable to me not to prefer the “original” version of a comic adaptation. But now, after we’ve gotten some highly entertaining Marvel movies that streamline too many years of continuity into more approachable stories, and a cartoon version of Batman that’s more fun than anything in the comics, I’m rethinking that approach.

I suspect that’s going to be particularly true of the upcoming Amazon TV version of The Boys. The comic, by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, is about how corrupt superheroes are, with plenty of sex and violence illustrating how people become drunk with power. That wasn’t very appealing to me, although it ran 72 issues, collected in 12 books. (You can read the first one for free on ComiXology Unlimited or via Kindle as an Amazon Prime subscriber.)

The Boys

Amazon will be releasing an eight-episode season later this year starring Karl Urban (Judge Dredd, Star Trek). It’s being developed by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen, the latter two of which are also part of the successful Preacher TV adaptation (four seasons so far). The two properties have a lot in common, with cult followings and a lot of raw content.

The framing of this promo picture shows a certain familiarity with the source material.

The Boys promo picture

Originally, Hughie was drawn to look like Simon Pegg, as you can see from the cover above, but now Pegg’s playing Hughie’s father, another nice nod. Hughie, the young man who gets drawn into the fight against superheroes and their corruption, is played by Jack Quaid.

I’m surprised that I’m interested in seeing this. Some of it is the casting — I’ve always liked Elisabeth Shue, for example, who plays a higher-up in charge of public relations — and some of it is that an eight-episode TV show is a lot less commitment and cost than all those comics. Maybe I’m ready for a cynical takedown where the underdog battles back. Plus, having multiple people shape a vision can create something that’s more balanced than the raw, unfiltered content of one or two creators.

Here’s a teaser trailer, setting up the world:

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