Thanks to strong reviews and stronger word of mouth, the audience for season 2 of The Boys more than doubled, with Amazon’s subversive superhero show rivalling Netflix’s biggest originals in terms of viewership. Some fans may have review-bombed the second run of episodes after discovering they’d have to wait six whole weeks to see the story play out, but the shift in release model worked a treat, keeping the adventures of Billy Butcher and the gang at the forefront of the cultural conversation every time a new installment was released.
Like any acclaimed series, The Boys shines a light on real world issues but filters them through its own unique lens, which in this case happened to be a blackly comic and frequently gruesome look at everything from racism and sexism to commercialism and capitalism. In a recent interview, though, showrunner Eric Kripke revealed that some of the more controversial plot and story points from season 1 actually led to him receiving a number of threats from people who either had issues with the content or were offended by it.
“It’s only human nature to have to react to anger or hate directed right at you. I’m not gonna lie and say, ‘No, I think it’s funny’. It affects me. It troubles me and everything, but I think it’s part of my job to not let it affect the work and not let it force me to second guess myself and what I’m doing here. So, no, I take a moment, feel appropriately horrified, and then process my way past it and get back to the work of writing the show.”
The Boys makes no bones about being a foul-mouthed, incredibly violent and often hilarious deconstruction of the comic book genre, and it isn’t like Amazon tried to disguise that fact in the marketing, so quite why Kripke found himself being victimized is anyone’s guess, unless of course there were viewers who sat down expecting something along the lines of the family-friendly Marvel Cinematic Universe only to find themselves shocked at what they discovered instead.
Luckily, it doesn’t seem to have affected Kripke too badly, because he’s currently hard at work on season 3, which is shaping up to raise both the stakes and levels of insanity higher than ever before.