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‘Gen V’ season 1 review: A super start for a superhero series

By November 4, 2023No Comments6 min read
two girls huddled together around a laptop

Prime Video’s spinoff of The Boys, Gen V, has ended its action-packed, blood-filled first season with a bang! Throughout its eight-episode run, the university-set series about a group of aspiring superheroes has lived up to everything that its parent show set up. Dynamic characters, strong writing, incredible action-filled fight scenes, and funny jokes (sometimes with bloody punchlines) carried over into the spinoff. It’s not The Boys franchise without these tried-and-true elements. Gen V Season 1 is super in every sense of the word.

By setting Gen V into the current timeline of The Boys, it was an easy transition to pick up how the characters played into their time at Godolkin University (or “God U” as it’s often called). The series is set away from the adventures of Hughie, The Boys, and the heroes/villains of The Seven. However, there are plenty of references and characters that tie back to the main series. This spinoff makes it known that it’s part of this world and goes out of its way to include references or tease back to the main show, in the hopes of putting a smile on the faces of long-time fans. And there are plenty of references for fans to spot, like names, character cameos, and plot lines from The Boys.

This treatment does take a little bit of time for new fans to get accustomed to Gen V. If you’re new to the franchise or know nothing about The Boys, there is a lot of information about the main show and this world that is thrown at you. One of the main purposes of attending God U is for these super-powered university students to get a shot at an entertainment career or to become full-time crime-fighting superheroes, especially with a chance to join The Seven. These aspirations take up a lot of character motivations and are the driving point for some of the plots. The exposition is easily handled and doesn’t weigh Gen V down, but it will take a few episodes for new fans of the franchise to understand the world and its many layers. After that, it’s a smooth and thrilling ride.

Speaking of the main plot, Marie’s (Jaz Sinclair) journey at God U is a captivating story. Gen V Season 1 unravels all the idyllic daydreams she had about becoming a superhero and exposes the dirty underbelly of famous super-powered individuals and Vought’s corruptions. Plus, we see how teens born with superpowers face the world, dealing with aspects like their superiority complex, their fight, the pressure to make a name for themselves, and the potential abuse of their powers. It’s a complex web of being a teenager moving into the next phase of their life, but one tied to the expectation of either being a superhero or a celebrity with their talent. Gen V, while holding many elements from The Boys, feels fresh with its own perspective and plot, so you get plenty of depth as a standalone show, and even more, if you watch both.

As the main lead, Marie has a lot of heart and conflict with her time pushed into the spotlight. We’ve seen Vought turn on the PR machine for The Seven, but it was interesting to witness a newbie like Marie face these challenges. Characters like Andre and Jordan, who were already near the top of the rankings, had experience in this world, and their cold demeanor at times felt natural as they would be more calculated and controlled.

Their rise up the rankings benefitted them more than anyone, and they were expected to move into success sooner. Marie felt in control too, but that stemmed more from her “protagonist syndrome” than anything else – as our main character, she couldn’t be anything else but the hero who did the right thing. In comparison, characters like Andre, Jordan, Cate, Emma, and Sam had more shades of gray to them, which allowed them to have more fun.

Similar to Marie, Andre was the closest as the next most reserved character. Beyond his troubles with his stage father or his dating drama, there wasn’t much depth to him. Hopefully, the second season of Gen V will expand his character more to add some personality and motivations beyond his father. We’ve only scratched the surface of Andre; there’s plenty of potential to do something that shakes things up and gets him more involved outside of his relationship.

Jordan, Cate, Emma, and Sam had the most nuanced stories out of the group. Jordan is another character that Gen V only scratched the surface of; however, we’ve learned enough about the character to form a strong bond with them. Their superpower is original (e.g., Jordan can transform between being a boy or girl with their own special ability) and it opened the door for a great conversation about identity. Hopefully, the next season expands on Jordan’s history and how it impacts their path toward becoming a superhero. The season ended on a major cliffhanger, so anything is possible, but the character development of Jordan has been a highlight that shouldn’t be ignored. Plus, we need more of Jordan’s unfolding romance with Marie, too. They have such strong chemistry!

Cate’s and Emma’s stories were my favorites. Both characters had complicated backstories, and you couldn’t help but feel sympathetic to them. Their journeys from the start of the series premiere expanded the farthest by the season finale. There is a clear sense of growth and change that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I won’t spoil too much, but these will be emotional journeys where one will make you cheer for their newfound confidence while the other will surprise you with how it impacts the season. Both will hook you in.

Sam’s story with his brother, his relationship with Emma, and the truth of “The Woods” provided strong momentum for the first season. Sam’s progression sets the stage for an exciting journey into the next season. Gen V has a lot of fun with Sam’s character by getting to explore different show styles, like using puppets. These choices add to the hilarity of Gen V, but they also add to its strong mystery. Though, we can’t forget how devastating the hurdles that come up between him and Emma become – they’re so cute together! You can’t help but ‘ship them and want things to work out.

Gen V Season 1 is an exciting action-packed first season that knows exactly what show it is. It bathes in its jokes, fight scenes, and bloody carnage. The series captures the magic of The Boys while still making it feel like its own show. The writing is strong, the characters are well-developed, and the main mystery of the first season will keep you hooked right to the end. Gen V Season 1 is a great entry to get into, even if you’re just waiting for the next season of The Boys to come back.

Gen V Season 1 is available to stream now on Prime Video.

Featured image courtesy of Prime Video

  • 'Gen V' Season 1 - 9/10
Justin Carreiro

Justin is a fun-loving geek living in downtown Toronto, Canada. He’s an avid TV buff, movie fan, and gamer. He's written for publications like Entertainment Weekly's The Community, Virgin, TV Fanatic, FANDOM, The Young Folks, and his blog, City Boy Geekiness.

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