Gen V 2023 / A familiar "adult" take on superheroes but with more characters worth caring for


As a spin-off of The Boys, Gen V returns to the same well of explicit, hyperviolent satire about seemingly benevolent superheroes—touching on many ideas that the franchise has already explored more strikingly before. This series’ first three episodes are at their least effective when they get hung up on the shock factor of it all, with its satire often appearing as “cool” as the thing that it aims to satirize. But when the show quiets down and finally focuses up on its handful of main characters, it finds fresh ground for commentary.

At its heart this is a story about how the education system can be so easily bought by wealthy stakeholders who care more about producing star graduates than actually helping young people excel and find a place in the world. These kids are also immediately much easier to root for than Billy Butcher and his antihero crew, as each of them gradually reveals the trauma they’re recovering from as a result of being experimented on and exploited. Gen V’s central mysteries are slow to develop so far, but just seeing how this school-slash-factory is run helps make up for the slower pace.

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