The Boys are back to work – and business is booming. Filming is now underway in Toronto for Season 2 of the Amazon Original series The Boys, the ultra-violent and proudly pervy superhero drama that premiered on Amazon Prime on July 26 and already ranks as the digital platform’s fastest breakout ever and its best-reviewed original series to date.
The show’s fan following has already put The Boys at No 39 on IMDB’s list of television’s all-time best series (a slot that puts the show ahead of Friends, Seinfeld, Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, and Amazon’s own The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, not to mention every superhero franchise currently on television).
The series adapts the comics series (2006-2012) by writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson and it’s part of a wave of subversive superhero screen projects that flip the script on conventional superhero fare by making the costumed crusaders intriguingly dysfunctional. That dysfunction is expressed with a variety of shadings: Fox’s Deadpool franchise melded it with daft meta-humor, for instance, while Sony’s Brightburn tucked it inside a horror film and HBO’s upcoming Watchmen is going way dark and way serious.
For The Boys, the aspect of the show that gets the most discussion are the jaw-dropping scenes of kinky superhero mayhem (such as the oral sex scene that ended with a skull exploding between a clenched pair of super-powered thighs) but show creator Eric Kripke says The Boys is special because of its heart not because of its head.
“Part of the fun of The Boys is has a this very punk rock, very anarchic spirit,” Kripke said. “It’s a deconstruction of that superhero myth and pointing out what’s absurd and pompous about it but also doing it with a lot of heart.”
Kripke (who is saying goodbye to his Supernatural success with the upcoming finale season) said he had a somewhat unlikely North Star influence on finding the right tone: Let’s just say he searched the night skies about Springfield.
“I always remember that the producers of The Simpsons when it first starting up they were trying to figure out what the tone could be and Jim Brooks was the one who said, ‘You can do anything as long as you do it with lots of heart.’ I thought of that quote an awful lot when we were starting up The Boys. Everybody is expecting it to be violent and gory so the most surprising and radical thing I can do with this material is to make people feel something and to give them an emotional connection to these characters. If we give it heart, then people will put up with any weird, perverse thing we do because they actually give a shit about what happens to these characters.”
‘BOURNE’ AGAIN: The USA Network’s Treadstone arrives in October as a fresh title with a long legacy. Fans of Universal’s Jason Bourne film series will recognize the title as a reference to Operation: Treadstone, the CIA black-ops program that gave birth to the spy named Bourne and the five-film series that shares his name.
Like the big-screen adaptations, Treadstone is also rooted in the bestselling espionage bookshelf of Robert Ludlum, which began with The Bourne Identity (1980). The title character, an amnesiac assassin, was first brought to the screen by Richard Chamberlain (Shogun) who portrayed Ludlum’s two-fisted operative in a 1988 ABC made-for-TV movie with Jaclyn Smith (Charlie’s Angels).
Surprisingly: The Ludlum bestseller also spawned a music hit after it inspired the lyrics to an ominous single that cracked the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1983. Can you name the hit and the act that recorded it? Hint: It’s a European act and the moody, Bourne-inspired music video became an early staple of the MTV playlist. You’ll find the answer below…
BAD IS GOOD: The wave of subversive superheroes (which, by the way, also includes Umbrella Academy, Legion, and Doom Patrol) isn’t the only unexpected Hollywood demographic to get a spotlight. It’s apparently suddenly okay to also give films to straight-up super-villains. I’d point out that this was tried once before without much success (Catwoman). This time around? Well, we have another Venom on the way (with Carnage in tow, no less); Morbius, the living vampire; Joker; Birds of Prey/ Harley Quinn; and another Suicide Squad as well as the Loki series on Disney+.
‘BOURNE’ AGAIN, PART 2: The eerie and evocative 1982 hit Twilight Zone by the Dutch band Golden Earring was written by the group’s guitarist, George Kooymans, after he read Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity. Twilight Zone would give Golden Earring their lone Top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.