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Gen V (TV Review)

3 min read

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the show being covered here wouldn't exist.

Episodes viewed: 6/8

has proved a smash hit with viewers across the world, garnering six Emmy Award nominations including Outstanding Drama Series since its premiere in 2019. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, the series by Eric Kripke follows the eponymous group of vigilantes who fight against a band of superheroes, The Seven, who abuse their powers and celebrity acclaim.

In a world gripped by celebrity culture and captivated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its ability to pump out a new franchise in the blink of an eye, The Boys proved to be a fresh take on the superhero genre giving our caped figures a much-needed grounding in reality. And now, the series is going back to school with new live-action spin-off .

The series begins with Marie Moreau () moving into Godolkin University eager for a fresh start and to make a name for herself at an academy that has produced some of the world's largest stars. She soon meets her spirited new roommate, Emma (), also known as Little Cricket, as well as the university's top-ranked hero Luke (Patrick Schwarzenegger), aka Golden Boy. He is desperate for a spot in The Seven, while Marie is eager to secure a spot on Professor Brink's (Clancy Brown) class for a step up into specialising in crimefighting. But after Marie has a night out on the town with Golden Boy, his girlfriend Cate (), and friends Andre () and Jordan (/), she soon realises that being a hero isn't exactly what she thought.

What made fans fall head over heels for The Boys was its ability to balance chaos, comedy, and a great big heart at its centre. And Gen V manages to replicate the same formula in a teen drama setting, for those who think The Breakfast Club could be elevated with the ability to fly and shoot lasers from their eyes.

The cynical gaze of the original series and its musings on social media and the fakery of fame translates beautifully into the hormonal whirlwind of teenagers, eager to fit in with the ‘in crowd' and ricocheting from one drama to the next. Add to the mix powers that can mean the difference between life and death, and an air of anticipation laces every scene as the unpredictability of the series quickly becomes apparent.

But Gen V doesn't simply hurtle from one comically crude and violent scene to the next. It has a dark core told through the underbelly of Golodkin University that the teens try to uncover, with masterful performances from the ensemble cast as the realities of becoming the world's saviours strip their innocence away.

Most interestingly about the show, it balances telling its inner narrative while also being aware of falling into the trap the series so starkly opposes. Gen V's existence is mocked within each episode as well as The Boys which laughs at the notion of superheroes becoming franchises and branching out into spin-offs – exactly what Gen V is. The genius of the series is how it simultaneously acknowledges this fact through its sharp musings on our culture surrounding capitalism in the entertainment industry, without losing focus of the story at hand in a medley of half-baked analogies.

Gen V is simply extraordinary from the get-go, gripping viewers with its blood-soaked carnage, biting one-liners, and emotional interludes that will have you crying tears of joy and catharsis at a moment's notice.

Gen V season one is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.