the boys tv series

The Boys is a big middle finger to superheroes and all they stand far. It’s a gruesome, immature, often very good, and often cringe-worthy comic series that finds writer Garth Ennis indulging his worst habits while also finding opportunities to remind us that there’s a rockstar of a storyteller underneath all of the gore and dick jokes. It’s almost become a movie on several occasions. Last year, we heard that The Boys was heading to television instead. Now, it looks like it’s going to be a series on Cinemax, shepherded to the screen by many of the same folks who are bringing Preacher (another Ennis comic) to AMC.

Deadline reports that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Neal Mortiz will produce the series alongside Pavun Shetty, Ori Marmur, James WeaverKen Levin, and Jason Netter. Rogen and Goldberg, who directed the Preacher pilot for AMC as well as films like This is the End and The Interview, will helm the pilot. Most promising of all is the news that Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural, will pen the pilot script (he is also on the laundry list of producers). The project is still early in development, so beyond this big group of names, there’s nothing especially huge to report.

But this is very interesting news, indeed. Cinemax has become an increasingly promising destination for off-kilter shows like Banshee and The Knick, so I’m very curious to see how they handle a deliberately offensive and grotesque series like The Boys. At the very least, a network like Cinemax will allow Kripke, Rogen, Goldberg and the rest of the crew to utilize the comic’s nastiest elements. Seriously, have you seen what they get away with on The Knick?

The Boys was created by Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson in 2006 and it ran for 72 issues, concluding in 2012. The series follows a team of super-powered CIA agents who secretly police the world of superheroes, who are portrayed as menaces, drug addicts, sexual deviants, and power-hungry maniacs. When “heroes” step out of line, the Boys take care of the problem with extreme prejudice. It’s one helluva hook and the series is often gripping and dramatic and effective…when Ennis isn’t resorting to the lowest common denominator, which is far too often.

The comic was controversial from the start, getting cancelled after its first story arc at Wildstorm before finding a new home at Dynamite. It’s easy to see why a comic book publisher would be wary of The Boys – it hates superheroes with a fiery passion and tears them down at every possible moment. It’s a comic book that has no love for its industry’s bread and butter.

Anchorman and The Big Short director Adam McKay tried to get a film version of The Boys made for years, only to find that the material was too extreme for every studio in town:

I was trying to do Garth Ennis’ The Boys at one point, and I took it to every studio, every production financing place in town. And they were always like, ‘No.’ I had this crazy pre-viz reel that I’d done, and it was insane, like superheroes doing cocaine. And they all said, lazily, ‘So it’s like Watchmen?’ And then eventually I started realizing that no one was going to do it, and I started pitching the craziest aspects of it, embracing the fact that they hated it.

If The Boys makes it to series, it’ll probably need to follow the path of Preacher and change certain elements just so it will be palatable on the screen. Some changes are necessary because the comic really is that twisted. Some changes are necessary because the comic is really full of that many eye-rolling moments. For now, all we can do is wait and see what happens next.

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