The Boys: everything you need to know about Amazon’s superhero satire

 (Amazon Prime Video)
(Amazon Prime Video)

You’ve (most likely) seen it popping up on your TV and computer screens in the past weeks – or even months: a montage of gore, action and morally compromised superheroes.

Welcome to The Boys.

That’s right: Amazon Prime’s darkly funny TV series is back for another series and promises more mayhem than ever before. With ratings for the show still flying high, it’s worth a look if you’re starting to get superhero fatigue.

Here’s what you need to know before you jump in.

What is it about?

First and foremost, The Boys is a satire about our modern-day obsession with heroes. Adapted from the comic book of the same name, it’s set in a world where superheroes exist, and are modern-day celebrities. However, most of them are also absolute rotters – and the most powerful of them, The Seven, are owned by Vought, a Disney-size corporation with nefarious plans for how to use them.

Bringing down superheroes: The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)
Bringing down superheroes: The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)

Primarily, the show follows a group of superhero hunters named The Boys who are trying to take the fight to the big guys. As you can imagine, they do this through increasingly inventive and gory methods: think TNT, laser babies and baseball bats.

Naturally, Vought isn’t going down without a fight, and over three seasons the storylines get bloodier and the stakes get higher.

Who are the main characters?

First of all there’s Billy Butcher, the leader of The Boys. Played by Kiwi actor Karl Urban with a rather strange Mockney accent, Butcher has been gunning for Homelander, the leader of The Seven, ever since his wife disappeared in mysterious circumstances linked to the rogue superhero. Together with his team, he’s willing to do anything to make sure that happens.

Along with the rest of the Boys (called, respectively, Mother’s Milk, Frenchie and Kimiko), there’s Hughie, who’s played by Jack Quaid. Hughie joins the team after his girlfriend Robin is brutally killed by A-Train (this universe’s version of The Flash) in a speeding accident.

Creepy... Homelander in The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)
Creepy... Homelander in The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)

In the superhero camp, Homelander is a dark take on Superman. Superbly played by Antony Starr, he’s got a sadistic side, loves killing people a bit too much… and also happens to be the most powerful person on the planet.

The other superhero we should mention is Starlight (Erin Moriarty), an idealistic young adult who’s been training to get into the Seven her entire life. Unfortunately, when she does, she realises that the superheroes aren’t so much saving people as attending endless daytime TV shows, so she joins forces with Hughie to bring Vought down from the inside.

What’s happening in Season Three?

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, spoiler alert!

For everybody else, season three picks up a year after the events of season two (which saw neo-Nazi superhero Stormfront’s rapid rise to power, and equally rapid decline after falling foul of Homelander’s son).

At the start of season three, Billy Butcher is keeping his head down and getting on with things – until Hughie discovers that the newly-created Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs that he’s working for might just be as corrupt as Vought.

Now, the Boys are back together and there’s a new variant in the mix: Compound V, which gives humans superpowers for a short while.

At the same time, Homelander is struggling after the death of Stormfront. He’s trying to rehabilitate his image, but as Starlight puts it in the trailer, has ”lost his f**king mind”. We predict blood on the horizon…

How can I watch it?

The Boys is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, with a new episode being released every week. You’ll need an Amazon Prime account to watch it.