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The Boys Season One – Review

Gordon Lipton

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The Boys Season One image
Amazon Prime

We all love superheroes, right? The Boys season one is, now streaming on Amazon Prime, this is our review. It presents an inverted – and really perverted – take on the traditional superhero story.

I mean, think about it. They fight and defeat bad guys! Defend innocent people! They give the common man something to believe in! They have superpowers and can do things that no one else can, and give people something to look up to and aspire to in life.

Now imagine all that, but just the total opposite.

What if superheroes were actually self-involved narcissists who cared more about their brand and public opinion than on the true content of their character? What if marketing numbers mattered more to superheroes than actually fighting crime? And what if superheroes weren’t bastions of greatness but instead corporate shills?

And most importantly: what if superheroes were, like, assholes?

If they were, who would keep them in check?

SPOILERS: Welcome to the first season review of The Boys. And before we go any further, this part should be obvious but massive spoilers lay ahead!

The Boys Season 1: What’s it all about?

In short, The Boys is based on the DC comic series of the same name. It doesn’t take a straightforward superhero story like so many others. The show takes a darker and more satirical look at what being a superhero would look like. If being a superhero was less “saving the world” and more “big business.” And boy does the satire cut deep.

The show starts off with a (very literal) bang, as mild-mannered Hughie Campbell’s girlfriend Robin is killed by a superhero named A-Train. A-Train is a member of the superhero group called The Seven, which is essentially the elite group of the greatest superheroes in America. As one might surmise, getting back at this elite group of superheroes would be nearly impossible. Not only are they literal superheroes with superpowers, but they are also protected by a group of lawyers, handlers, businessmen, and – especially – the shadowy Vought corporation.

But that doesn’t stop Hughie from trying, especially when he meets the enigmatic and nasty Billy Butcher. Butcher has an ax to grind against The Seven, much like Hughie does, but we don’t find out why early on. Instead, Butcher shows Hughie the seamy underworld of superheroes. He shows them the club where superheroes go to do drugs and party, and shows Hughie footage of A-Train laughing about Robin’s murder. Butcher convinces Hughie to plant a bug in Seven Tower to spy on the superhero team. This plan goes awry when one of the superheroes – Translucent – finds the bug and assaults both Hughie and Butcher before they subdue him. The two then team up with Butcher’s old friends Frenchie and Mother’s Milk (MM) to form The Boys, who keep Translucent captive until they ultimately kill him with a C4 explosive.

As all this is happening, we also follow the story of the newest superhero in The Seven named Starlight, aka Annie January. Starlight is a wide-eyed girl from the Midwest who gets inducted into The Seven after the retirement of Lamplighter. However, her optimism is quickly dashed when she is sexually assaulted by The Deep. Since she is new and can’t speak out yet, she is forced to be silent on this assault for a long time.

The Deep’s actions are far from unique for The Seven. Every member of the group is either overtly reprehensible (The Deep), conflicted and depressed (Queen Maeve), a self-important narcissist (A-Train), or some combination. The only one who seems above everything early on is the group leader: Homelander. Homelander is a representation of all that is good and pure about American values and wholesomeness…until he turns at the end of episode one by blowing up the mayor of Baltimore’s plane, killing him, his son, and everyone else on board.

As season one progresses, two main stories begin to drive the plot. The first is the budding relationship of Starlight and Hughie. The two of them begin as simply friends, then progress to reluctant lovers. After that, Starlight turns on the group and helps Hughie and The Boys attempt to take The Seven down from within. The second major is story is that of Compound V. Compound V is a mysterious substance that we learn is the fuel behind superheroes’ “origin stories.” Instead of being born superheroes as could be seen as “God’s will,” superheroes are corporate creations in federally funded labs. Compound V is yet another example in The Boys that there is nothing pure or natural about superheroes. It’s only about the bottom line and corporate greed.

There is, of course, more to the story of The Boys season one than what I’ve laid out here in this review. But rather than summarize every little point, I want to talk about why exactly this show is so good…

The Boys Season 1: What’s good about it?

In previous pieces that I’ve written for this site. I’ve taken a look at several movies that were really good – or even great – but could have been better. One of them was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In that review, I made a point that trying to shoehorn “name actors” that really didn’t fit (see: Wood, Elijah) for the sake of drawing mainstream attention ended up hurting the overall movie. The story sold itself. People would have come to see the LOTR trilogy regardless of who was in it.

The Boys, under the direction of Amazon Prime, took my advice (well obviously they didn’t take my advice) and ran with it. They took a strong story with a cult following and cast the best people to fit the roles. And do they ever fit the roles?

Probably the biggest “star” of the cast is Karl Urban, who is well-known in sci-fi and fantasy circles but not exactly a household name. He was a featured player in the aforementioned Lord of the Rings movies and had a starring role in movies like Doom. Most of the other actors have been in movies and TV show but none are instantly recognizable. In fact, the most famous cast member is Elizabeth Shue (who stars as The Seven’s manipulative handler). Shue was a big star in the 1980s and early-1990s but has faded in recent years. A larger, more contemporary star shows up in Season 2, but I will get to that later.

But really, the best thing about The Boys is the way they masterfully create the characters. There are no stock heroes or villains in this series. Every character has layers that make him or her both sympathetic and terrible. A-Train may be an unfeeling narcissist who murdered Hughie’s girlfriend, that is true. Yet, he is driven by the need to be the fastest man alive. It is all he has, and he knows that without this designation he will be useless to the Vought corporation and will be tossed aside. The Deep, while a rapist and all around sleazeball, is clearly affected by the fact that he is the butt of all The Seven’s jokes and plays the macho man to make up for it.

And then there’s Homelander. Homelander is one of the most gleefully twisted characters in recent TV, and will be the subject of an article all his own. But that is for a later time.

The Boys Season 1: What could have been improved?

Umm…there could have been more of it?

But in all seriousness, this series is nearly perfect. Perhaps the show could be a little less gratuitous in its over-the-top violence. Perhaps Hughie could be less of a wishy-washy nerd who goes back and forth on what he wants to do. For a show that borders on being Shakespearean, Hughie does a great job of being a Hamlet-esque lead. He keeps going back and forth on what he wants to do. More often than not, it almost costs The Boys dearly in the end.

Other than that? I don’t have much to complain about here. Maybe a few pacing issues could be addressed. Some of the early scenes with Kimiko, a mercenary who teams up with The Boys and becomes something of a love interest to Frenchie, could be shortened. But nothing about this season ever made me want to stop watching.

The Boys Season 1: a summary and look ahead?

As noted above, the only real nitpicks are Hughie’s occasional indecisiveness and occasional pacing issues. But other than that, the season is nearly flawless.

Stay tuned for my next review, where I take a look at Season 2 of The Boys, where the stakes most definitely get raised.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of The Boys Season One. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read about superhero movies to get excited about in 2021 HERE.

Read IMDB information about The Boys HERE.

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The Good, The Bad And The Classic

Sarah Casserley

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Star From Disney Plus

Disney Plus Star image
Disney Plus

Disney Plus introduced Star to the service a little while ago now with loads of highlights. We’re sure, like us, you’ve had a good old delve into the catalogue and watched some of your faves. But, just in case you’ve missed anything, we have put together a little guide on what’s good to get stuck into. Also what’s bad and could do with being swiped past, and the classic must-see TV series and films that you probably didn’t even realise were there.

So, when you find yourself looking for something to watch on a Friday evening or binge for a couple of weeks, don’t scroll endlessly, just take a look at our guide of Disney Plus Star recommendations.


The Good

These are the films and series that have been released within the last 10 years, which you need to watch or should at least be on your ‘to watch’ list.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Atlanta (2016 – Present)

If you haven’t watched this series yet, why not? The creative and talented Donald Glover heads up the show as the main character ‘Earn’, and on the writing credits too (among 6 others, including his brother Stephen Glover), in this funny, gritty and realistic series which follows a rapper ‘Paper Boy’ and his manager Earn (Glover) as they navigate the rap business. If you have watched the show before, you may want to re-watch for a recap as season 3 has been promised to us very soon.

9-1-1 (2018 – Present)

This isn’t just any emergency service drama, this series covers the lives of several Los Angeles first responders: police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and dispatchers. It also has some big names involved, including Angela Bassett and, later in the series, Jennifer Love Hewitt. For some reason though, there’s only two of the four seasons of 9-1-1 on Disney Plus Star so far, but it’s well worth a watch and we’re sure the other two seasons should be along soon.

Doll Face (2019 – Present)

By the title alone, and the fact that it’s a weekly release, it initially looked like this series was set around a stereotypical break up and was destined for the bad list. However, the witty script, amazing female actors and relatable storyline made me put this series firmly within the good pile as I can’t wait to watch more. Kat Dennings takes the lead in the series and really brings to life upcoming writer Jordan Weiss’ story of female friendships after a breakup.

Films on Disney Plus Star

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

This beautiful coming of age story, based on a book with the same name, is a great watch for all ages, not just teens. Be ready for oodles of romance, as well as teary and heart-warming moments, as you follow two teens affected by cancer as they set off on a journey of discovery.

The Favourite (2018)

We love a period drama, and this quirky look at the reign of Queen Anne is no exception. With starring roles from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, it’s no wonder The Favourite had 336 nominations in award season and 182 wins. It’s definitely one of the best films from the last 5 years on Disney Plus Star.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

There are some examples coming up in these lists that give sequels a bad name, however, Deadpool 2 isn’t one of them. If you were putting off watching this one because of the sequel curse, don’t, it’s just as good – if not better – than the first. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is back as the foul-mouthed superhero and, this time, he brings some new friends: Domino (Zazie Beetz), Fire Fist (Julian Dennison) and Weasel (T.J. Miller) among others.


The Bad

There’s not as many on this ‘bad’ list as Star has done a pretty good job with their chosen titles. However, like any service, there are always a few bad eggs in our opinion… This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch these, it’s more of a warning that there may be better things to press play on.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Lost (2004 – 2010)

To be completely honest here, the first two seasons of Lost are very entertaining and interesting to watch, as you follow several people who try to survive a plane crash and have to adapt to life on a strange island. But, by the middle of season three, things start to get a little confusing and we found ourselves getting lost (pun intended) in the plot until the final sixth season, only to be hit with a heavily reported disappointing end… even worse than some people’s feelings about Game Of Thrones. So, we recommendation delving into some of the other series rather than this one.

24: Legacy (2017)

Trying to build another series from an established series can be very hit or miss – and this one was a huge miss. So much so that Fox axed it just after one series.

It takes on the same format as the original 24 series, where one season is just one day, however, this time they are trying to stop a terrorist attack. The format just doesn’t work with this storyline and you lose a lot of momentum and excitement, plus the acting just isn’t the best.

Films on Disney Plus Star

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Just like building another series off a series, sequels can also be tricky beasts… some are good, some are bad and, when it follows an absolute classic like ‘Independence Day’, it needs to be amazing. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite live up to the legacy of the first film; I mean, not even ‘Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth couldn’t get this to match up with the original. But it is still entertaining, so if you do decide to watch this one, just do so with caution.


The Classic

As you have probably already noticed there are some absolute classics on Disney Plus Star, so this is going to be the longest list, full of series that you can binge from start to finish and films that stand the test of time and can be re-watched repeatedly. Most of these titles don’t need much explanation as you’ll have already watched or heard about them, but you might not have spotted them yet on Disney Plus Star as some were buried deep in the archives.

Series on Disney Plus Star

X Files (1993 – 2001)

If you were born in the 90s or 00s, this one may have gone under your radar; however, once you watch the first season full of aliens, wired going ons and the brilliantly disjointed relationship of FBI agents, conspiracy theorist Fox Mulder and realist Dana Scully, you won’t want to stop watching. Granted some of the special effects are a little dated and unbelievable, but you will soon forget about that as you get sucked into the narrative.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2002)

I know, I know, it’s hard to think there are people out there that haven’t watched a single vampire slaying, kick-ass, sci-fi loaded episode… but there is. If you are one of those people, what are you waiting for? Every single episode is here wating for you to binge. If you don’t fancy delving into the full thing, I would recommend at least taking a peek at the seventh episode of the sixth series (Once More, with Feeling: Buffy the Musical).

24 (2001 – 2014)

Before Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) burst on our screens in 2001, this kind of format for a series had never been attempted before and it just worked, so much so it ran for 9 seasons. It may seem odd at first, as each series is just one day, but you really do get sucked in.

Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – 2018)

Within its almost 13 years of being on air, this series has offered every heart-warming and breath-holding moment you need from a hospital-based drama. This would be a perfect series to start if you want something that will last you a while.

Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)

Bikes, leather and action: what’s not to like? This series ran for a glorious 7 seasons, and within these episodes, there is storyline upon storyline that will keep you hooked and wanting to know more about the motorcycle club that straddles the line between legal and illegal.

Films on Disney Plus Star

(We’re pretty sure you will have watched most of these films, but they are well worth a re-watch)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

The film that started them all. Since the release of this film in 1968, there have been seven more sequels and remakes of the original sci-fi movie, two of which you can also watch on Disney Plus Star: Planet Of the Apes (2001) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

Jewel of the Nile (1985)

It could possibly be that the countless TV showings over the have passed you by, but if you’ve not seen Jewel of the Nile, you should definitely give it a go. Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito are fantastic in this pure 80s romantic action comedy.

Cocktail (1988)

Sticking within the 80s romantic comedy realm, you’ve also got Cocktail, which is full of love ultimatums, with a dash of cheese. Come on, you know you want to watch a young Tom Cruise at work.

The Fly (1986)

One name – Jeff Goldblum. Watch it.

Pretty Woman (1990)

We were just as excited as the first time we watched it when we saw this classic on the service. To not watch this again would be a big mistake. HUGE.

Toys (1992)

This wonderfully wacky story by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson comes alive with the help of one of the best comedic actors of all time, Robin Williams, alongside the wonderful Joan Cusack and, bizarrely, LL Cool J.

What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993)

Whether you love Tina Turner’s music or not, it does not matter. This is one of the most interesting and inspirational biographical movies that you will ever watch. Word of warning, the incredible Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne are so great at their roles that some of the more sensitive scenes are very realistic.

Braveheart (1995)

With any new service, there are glitches, and we found one! Whilst watching this absolute classic a few weeks ago, about two and a half hours into the film the screen when to the small screen format as if the credits had come up, making it difficult to watch the last part of the film. However, when we went to finish the film off a week later the glitch had been fixed and you can now watch the whole film without interruption… FREEDOM!

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)

We all know that when it comes to film, Baz Luhrmann is a genius and he doesn’t disappoint with this abstract take on the story. It’s worth watching for the soundtrack alone.

Independence Day (1996)

90s Will Smith doing what he did best: lots of running, fighting and shouting – need I say more? Oh yes, you can also watch another one of his masterpieces, Enemy of the State (1998) on this service too.

Con Air (1997)

‘Put the bunny back in the box’ and sit down and watch this classic… we all know Nicholas Cage films can be a little unpredictable, but this film is definitely a hit, especially as he is joined by other legends of the screen, including John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack and Ving Rhames.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Well if it’s at our fingertips, why not watch this film for the 56th time… this year.


So, there you have it, these are some of our highlights and must-miss titles from Disney Plus Star. Are there any that we missed? If so, comment below and let us know what category they belong in.


Check out the top 10 hidden gems in the other Disney Plus feeds HERE.

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