The world is a wild place. Over the last few years, it's been kind of hard to find heroes. But The Boys on Prime Video has no shortage of heroes. And the moral of their story? They're not that great either. Over the last three seasons, The Boys has been a blistering satire of American politics and imperialism as seen through the eyes of superheroes and the people who have decided they should be culpable for their actions.
The show is run by Eric Kripke, who told Vulture, “This show is a lot of things, but subtle is not one of them.”
Kripke recently sat down with Vulture to talk about the show, the United States, and how he's seeing television change right before our very eyes.
The Showrunner of The Boys Talks About How the Show Mimics America
The current climate of streaming television allows for shows to be entirely written and then shot like a movie, so you have the chance to add scenes and plant things earlier. Or even tweak timelines. That happens a lot on The Boys, as America's political spiral both informs and inspires certain character traits. Without spoiling the season three final scene, I will say it greatly mimics a very famous Donald Trump quote and does a great job showing us the lunacy of unchecked fandom.
As Kripke says, "January 6 was happening while we were writing the season. We’re a product of the time when we write it. And January 6 scared the shit out of me. It scared the shit out of everyone but scared the shit out of me in ways that few things during the Trump administration did. To have the scariest part be after he lost his election scared the shit out of me."
'The Boys'Credit: Prime Video
What About Toxic Fandom?
One of the most interesting parts of the show is the fandom. Some viewers were totally surprised that some of the characters in the show turned out to be bad guys. It was curious to watch people implode over social media when the show got "woke," even though the seeds of who was bad and who was good were planted very early on.
When it comes to these fans, Kripke says, "Mel Brooks has this quote, which I’m totally paraphrasing, but it was that his strength was to be loud and obnoxious, and I was always like, 'Yeah! It’s all right to be loud and obnoxious. It can be funny!' The Boys is loud and obnoxious, and if you’re watching that show from episode one and not understanding the politics of it or the people making it, I can’t help you. Just thanks for watching. Think whatever you’re going to think. My guess is, like everything online, it’s a pretty small minority."
'The Boys'Credit: Prime Video
What Is Changing in TV Now?
Kripke has been working in TV for a long time, showrunning Supernatural before ever coming to The Boys. He's seen TV change drastically over the years, from network to the rise of cable, and now into streaming. This is someone you want to listen to when it comes to the lessons of the ever-changing industry.
"Look, I love streaming. I can’t see ever going back to network. It’s the ability to do two things: have most of your scripts written before you shoot a day of film, and then have all the episodes finished before you turn them over to air. There are logistical benefits that would be impossible to give up because you can tell a coherent piece in a way you simply cannot with network TV. It’s already aired; you threw it out the door. You’re locked in. It happens all the time. We’re in the middle of filming episode seven, and we realize there’s a different storyline we need. We still have time to go back and shoot it for episode one and drop it back in. The downside of streaming is that a lot of filmmakers who work in streaming didn’t necessarily come out of that network grind. They’re more comfortable with the idea that they could give you 10 hours where nothing happens until the eighth hour. That drives me fucking nuts, personally. As a network guy who had to get you people interested for 22 fucking hours a year, I didn’t get the benefit of, 'Oh, just hang in there and don’t worry. The critics will tell you that by episode eight, shit really hits the fan.' Or anyone who says, 'Well, what I’m really making is a 10-hour movie.' Fuck you! No you’re not! Make a TV show. You’re in the entertainment business."
This was an amazing interview with a lot to unpack. The Boys is one of the funniest and most interesting TV shows on the air. You can find it on Prime Video and stream Seasons 1-3 now. It was recently renewed for a fourth season as well.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.