Welcome freshman class to year one at Godolkin University, where the best and brightest superheroes have trained since 1965! In this spin-off of Prime Video’s chaotic gem The Boys, the catty, often sociopathic world of teenagers mixes its dose of potency with the same dark humor and ultra-gory mayhem we have come to love from its parent show. The new setting, taking place in a post-The Boys season three-world, opens up the floodgates for so many new types of heroes and their respective powers. As the season progresses, Gen V finds its own energetic point of view—honestly, what other show has zany puppets, flaming penises, goopy back-orgasms, or gory bursts of exploding body parts?

Our focal point into the madness is new character Marie (Jaz Sinclair). In the opening minutes of Gen V, twelve-year-old Marie discovers her powers for the first time in the most horrible of ways. She gets her period, and the uncontrollable blood that comes out of her causes a terrible accident. Years later, Marie finds herself orphaned at the Red River Institute, where she practices harnessing her blood as a crazy weapon, and coexists with other supe-talented youths. Longing to escape the confines of this sketchy place, Marie lives in constant fear of being carted away to the Elmira Adult Rehabilitation Center without warning—a place from which no one returns.

Though it seems a pipe dream, Marie’s application for the prestigious supes-only college leads to a full-ride acceptance! Anxious to finally escape her humble upbringing, Marie arrives at Godolkin with starry-eyed wonderment. Roommate Emma (Lizze Broadway) has already amassed an impressive online following as fun-size Little Cricket. Able to shrink down to the size of a pin, Emma describes her channel where she boxes against rodents as “PewDiePie, without the Nazi stuff.” When class schedules release, Marie learns that she has not been placed in the freshman Intro to Crimefighting class of Professor Brink (Clancy Brown). Marie’s dreams are as sky-high as they come—despite a lack of social media presence and zero pop culture knowledge, she vows to one day be in the school’s top ten ranking. A spot in this class was part of her plan, but she has been selected for the performing arts instead.

Aside from Emma and Marie, Gen V collects a roster of intriguing superhero hopefuls, many of them destined for great things. The Seven-hopeful Golden Boy (Patrick Schwarzenegger), whose fiery powers cause his clothes to burn off mid-fight and has many references made to his uncut “flaming sharpay,” is the school’s top-ranked student. Bi-gender Asian with “pronoun fuckery” Jordan switches at will between male (Derek Luh) and female (London Thor), and serves as assistant to Professor Brink; Golden Boy’s girlfriend Cate (Maddie Phillips) can control people simply by touching them; Andre (Chance Perdomo), Golden Boy’s closest friend, channels a form of telekinesis. Golden Boy, Jordan, Cate, and Andre comprise a unique friend group, and Marie gets invited along to join their drug-fueled debauchery.

Much of Gen V’s premise is built around the mystery of “The Woods,” and exactly what kind of strange things are happening there. An escapee, Sam (Asa Germann), becomes a major asset to the series, and whole importance only balloons as the episodes progress. The in-fighting and constant surprises are only a table-setting for what’s to come. Critics were given access to the series’ first six episodes, leaving the final two for a later date. I have to say that Gen V left me craving more, and is absolutely worth exploring its bonkers world. By the end of the premiere episode, it becomes obvious that they are not playing around here. 

Marie was an excellent character to place at the forefront of the series, built off Sinclair’s robust performance. The tragedy of her backstory only fuels her determination, yet the specifics of what occurred means her self-confidence is almost always at a low. One of Gen V’s greatest strengths is its focus on this black female lead amongst a sea of other contenders for the school’s top spots. Marie does not know this world, nor does the audience. As Marie’s star begins to rise, so too do the questionable occurrences around campus. What will she take to be on top?

Is it any surprise how genuinely great Gen V ends up being with so much talent behind the screen? Creatives Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Craig Rosenberg give their ensemble cast plenty of excellent material, and pad the series with enough violence and bitchy dialogue to satiate fans of The Boys. Gen V undoubtedly will recruit a whole new set of fans, and hopefully be the first of many spin-offs to expand and enrich one of the wildest shows of the streaming landscape. Filled with The Boys cameos and overflowing with creativity and nastiness, Gen V hits a home run while loudly proclaiming “Jumanji.”

Meet the next generation of heroes when Gen V premieres its first three episodes on Friday, September 29th.

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