The Boys Episode 1 [7/10]

2019, for me, is a year of extravagant entertainment, the kind of intelligent, exciting shit that takes you away from life but also deepens. So it’s been Bosch and other dark mystery/thriller series, and it’s been the sci-fi of Legion and The Umbrella Academy and so on. Do I need more of such exuberant escapism? Well, I’ve begun “The Boys,” a supremely odd superhero comic-based series that pits corrupt superiors against a ragtag bunch of citizen vigilantes. It begins with young Hughie (played wonderfully by Jack Quaid) gutted by a death caused by Vought Corporation (the one with all the vaunted superheroes) and falling in with mysterious, rough-as-guts Billy Butcher (what a surprisingly fine turn by Karl Urban!). In the meantime Annie, a wannabe Vought superhero, is anointed as Starlight and begins to understand what she’s really gotten into. Over the course of a slightly surreal, uncertainly paced first episode, we glimpse how Hughie, Billy, and Annie might range against the baddies led by super-superhero Homelander, portrayed by frosty precision by Antony Starr. The first episode is at once compelling and irritating, but by the closing, brutal scene, it’s clear the viewer is in for a ride. Will that journey satisfy? Let’s watch on, viewers…

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