Gen V Review: The Boys Spin-Off Makes the Grade

Gen V passes the TV spin-off test!

The following is a review of the first six episodes of Gen V.

Gen V is the newest show in the expanding TV universe developed from Prime Video’s The Boys. With a hit formula already in their orbit, it would be easy to simply copy notes from a sister show that was proven to be successful. Instead, showrunners and executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters (Reaper, Agent Carter) have taken an approach that feels fresh in a familiar fictional setting.

The Boys is a purposefully giant-glowing middle finger of a superhero series. It delights in subverting your expectations of what a related genre show should be. It constantly swoops faster than a speeding bullet toward shocking explicit content and satire of current events and corporations. Its world features superheroes who are often corrupt and selfish figures trying to please a corporation, Vaught International, that helps them solidify their popularity.

As its name implies, Gen V focuses on younger characters in the world of The Boys. Taking place at the Vaught-owned Godolkin University, the series follows several super-powered youths as they seek stardom and herodom through classes, in addition to exploring who they are as people. It’s the latter that the show seems most interested in as Gen V feels smaller in scale and more character-focused than The Boys, but still features the show’s interest in explicit and ridiculous moments.

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Patrick Schwarzenegger (Luke Riordan) and Jaz Sinclair (Marie Monrou) in Gen V.

Freshman Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair) is the audience’s entry point into meeting our ensemble of hopeful heroes who serve as her classmates. Marie has the ability to control blood (think blood-bending from Avatar: The Last Airbender) and she’s not alone in her unique abilities. The show does a great job giving each character a superpower that is interesting from both a visual and storytelling perspective. Emma Meyer (Lizze Broadway) can get small. Jordan Li can switch between male and female forms with each version having different abilities. These are just a few members of the ensemble the show focuses on, but Fazekas, Butters, and the writing staff have succeeded in peeling back the layers of characters as the show progresses. They each have a strong motivation for wanting to succeed at Godolkin University and internal struggles they are dealing with that make them feel human and worth investing in.

Spin-offs in television are always a tricky proposition. How do you cater to audiences who love the root show, while still providing a narrative that branches out and feels unique? While having the shocking moments, Gen V is a slight pivot to a more character-focused story with a fun college setting. Because of this, it should be appealing to audiences whether they are invested in the world of The Boys or just want a fun young adult drama to watch. However, if one is a fan of The Boys, this is a show they won’t want to miss with plenty of fun winks and nods to that show.

Jaz Sinclair (Marie Monrou) and Lizzy Broadway (Emma Shaw) in Gen V.

Gen V is a more than worthy companion piece. Though its overarching plot interweaving its characters takes a bit to warm up, its investment in its characters has added several new characters audiences will be happy to root for as they make their way through Godolkin University and the world of The Boys. The television spin-off test is a hard one to pass, but Gen V has hit the mark in its first six episodes with good grades.

New episodes of Gen V premiere every Friday on Prime Video.

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