Gen V: brutal, unhinged, inescapable entertainment

The Boys spinoff will take all of your childhood hopes of wanting superpowers and crush them to dust

A still from the series Gen V featuring a woman looking up, holding out her hands with blood spurting up into the air.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

By: Gyu Min Jang, SFU Student

Content warning: descriptions of violence, death, and blood.

What are the odds that not even a month into my new life at SFU, the newest internet-famous superhero show would take place primarily at a university campus? How exciting, I thought when I heard about the show, getting to see characters my age explore their identities and further their education goals while I was in the real world doing the same. If written well, I would get a relatable show with superhero elements and edge-of-your-seat action — sign me up.

If this sounds up your alley, I hate to break it to you, but the following review of Gen V is about to get a lot more disturbing and downright dreadful. Modern Hollywood’s take on superhero media and culture has made us numb to the idea of how real people would act if we lived in a society with superpowers as a norm. Challenging the likes of modern Marvel and DC is what makes the universe of Gen V so intriguing. 

It takes a second for viewers to see Godolkin University isn’t what it seems. Everyone at Godolkin has the potential to be a superhero, as long as they have the determination and willingness to work hard. For Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), who has the power to manipulate and control blood, Godolkin is her way to finally have some control over her life — think Marvel’s Magneto, but with blood. Yes, it gets as disgusting as you think. If she becomes the top student at Godolkin, she can finally use her powers for good without fear of misusing them. With a motivation set in place for our protagonist, we enter into this campus life with eyes gleaming, hopes high, and no preparation for what’s to come. 

This show is not for the faint of heart. Explicit and gory depictions of death are in every episode. If there is a will (a superpower), there is a way (a superpower finding some way to disturb you). In terms of balls-to-the-wall action, Gen V will not disappoint, from one jaw-dropping scene to the next. The show goes to some extremes that made me lose faith in our species, but it’s exactly that unhinged ideology that makes Gen V so wildly entertaining.

But the show isn’t just known for its mental whiplash; beyond the violent exterior, there are compelling narratives woven into each character. The teen drama elements shine just as bright as the action. Each character’s superpower tackles the challenges of their identity through their powers. For instance, Jordan Li’s (London Thor and Derek Luh) gender fluidity is represented in their ability to switch sexes. Their father pressures them to “choose” one gender, but Jordan insists that they have always been both. The characters in Gen V are complex enough to be a strong medium to drive home the overarching plot. 

The dialogue in Gen V is also something to marvel at. Every scene comes to life in a natural progression that harmonizes with each actor’s performance. The frequent, unexpected jokes are enough for you to be hooked without feeling fatigued. Big-name corporations focused solely on merchandising, the influence of social media gurus on campus, and the political divide between students and government are all topics I didn’t think were required in this show, but their inclusion felt salient. 

As someone new to the world of university, this show couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite joking about it at the very beginning, Gen V really does have the heart and spirit behind its characters and setting to sell this world as one similar to our own. Although some characters get reduced to single quirks by the end of the series, I still feel as though every portrayal of life as a young adult in university is relevant, and more importantly, relatable. Too many shows  choose to under or oversell the characteristics of our age demographic, so Gen V stands out for its unique approach of transparency. 

Gen V provides a complete escape from reality through its gruesome action and profanity-filled dialogue, while still subtly injecting its social commentary on media, privilege, power, and societal pressures. It’s a show that feels in-tune with how our perception of consuming has evolved in the 21st century, and it isn’t afraid to take the risks of giving the audience what every other show will try to hide. It’s a show I didn’t know could exist, let alone one that I would want, and yet it has captured the attention of audiences for what it has done right: the superpower of sheer entertainment. 

All eight episodes of Gen V are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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