Gen V

Gen V

2023 - United States

“erratically fresh”

Gen V review by Jennifer AJ

Every bit as vulgar and unhinged as its flagship series The Boys, this teen-flavoured spin-off to the Amazon Prime hit is off to a bloody good start. Here’s Gen V in one sentence: a marriage between The Boys, X-Men and The Umbrella Academy. From what we’ve seen so far, it promises a thrilling and relentlessly visceral experience just like those titles. 

Gen V revolves around a group of young Supes who convene at Godolkin University – God U for short (get it?) – in the ultimate hope of joining Vought International, the home of the Seven. 

Orphaned after accidentally causing her parents’ death, a teen Supe named Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair) grows up obsessing about getting into God U and finding her long-lost sister. Once there, she immediately gets embroiled in a conspiracy involving the school’s top students. When a tragedy strikes and she ends up becoming an overnight celebrity, Marie is torn between helping uncover what happened or coming out on top of the fierce competition. 

Gen V tv series

Gen V features a diverse cast with some really imaginative powers. While there are clear sendups of established comic book characters like Golden Boy (Patrick Schwarzenegger) possessing a Human Torch-like fiery body, there are even wilder varieties: a disabled kid with levitating power, a non-binary Supe who is literally played back and forth by two different actors, and Marie’s own ability to weaponize her blood. 

Gen V tv series

But what’s more interesting is the show’s depiction of these Supes as vulnerable young adults with young adult problems. Discussion on mental health is wrapped neatly into superpower-adjacent circumstances. Like their adult counterparts in The Boys, these kids turn to drugs and uninhibited sex to blow off steam, often to disastrous results. Others struggle more privately. There’s a Supe who shrinks Ant-Man style, but only by vomiting all her guts; the more she vomits, the smaller she gets – a clear commentary on eating disorder. Another Supe suffers from hallucinations. The depressed Marie constantly cuts herself and lashes out with her blood power. 

Gen V tv series

Meta commentary on the superhero genre is alive and well, told in the franchise’s signature cynical tone. In true The Boys fashion, it’s all about profitability and these kids are graded by their marketable potentials. Vought is using the university to source the next big Supe-star. Students are taught public relations, personal branding and social media presence. The authoritative figures have constant discussions about ratings, popularity and marketability in different sections of America to determine who gets to come out on top in school. Naturally, there’s virtually no talk of using their powers for good.

Rather than Xavier’s School’s idea of a teen superheroes academy that is very much rooted in its 1960’s origin, Gen V presents an authentically Gen Z take on what school would be like for hormonal adolescents with plenty of soul searching to do and unlimited powers to spare. Messy dorms, breaking curfews, wild parties and social media hijinks are dime a dozen. The soundtrack is a veritable list of edgy popular-on-Spotify music and the cinematography pops with zany, delightfully R-rated visuals.

Gen V tv series

On the acting front, the show features great performances from both the young’uns and veterans of the cast. Sinclair leads the cast with brooding fierceness waiting to unleash. Chance Perdomo as star student Andre Anderson makes a balancing foil to her underdog character. This is actually a reunion for the two, having starred together in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The dynamic is way different this time round, tenser and crackled with chaos. Lizze Broadway, Derek Luh, and Shelley Conn round up the ensemble, with some special appearances from The Boys cast that would surely please longtime fans.

Several episodes in, Gen V has cornered its own niche in the superhero genre, especially in portraying gifted kids navigating adulthood that dispels them of any notion of greatness. Amid the ongoing superhero fatigue, the show offers something erratically fresh that sets it apart from similar offerings. 

Published on October 10th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Jessica Jones TV series

Jessica Jones tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator in Hell's Kitchen. Haunted by a traumatic past, the former superhero uses her gifts and her street smarts to continue her personal drive for justice.

Also tagged Super Heroes

Daisy Jones and the Six

Set in the Los Angeles music scene of the late 1970s, the series charts the ups and downs of a fictional rock band, partly inspired by Fleetwood Mac, through a documentary style series of interviews

Also released in 2023

The Adventures of Superman

Classic US television series shot at a rapid rate with four episodes being turned out every ten days at a cost of $15,000 each.

Also tagged Super Heroes

The Umbrella Academy

Based on the comic book series of the same name, 'The Umbrella Academy' revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted siblings who are trained to be superheroes in order to stop an impending apocalypse.

Also tagged Super Heroes

The Night Agent

American action thriller follows a low-ranking White House official who is drawn into the mystery of a disgraced tech executive who is being hunted by assassins

Also released in 2023

The Green Hornet

Created for the radio in 1936 by 'Lone Ranger' inventor George W. Trendle and writer Fran Striker, the Green Hornet aka Britt Reid was originally introduced as the son of Dan Reid, the masked man's nephew.

Also tagged Super Heroes

Xo, Kitty

Romance and comedy come together when Kitty reunites with her long-distance boyfriend at the same boarding school attended by her late mother

Also released in 2023

Watchmen

Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original ground-breaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own.

Also tagged Super Heroes

The Diplomat

In the midst of an international crisis, Kate Wyler, a career diplomat, lands a high-profile job for which she is not suited

Also released in 2023