Titans (DC Universe)
For the comic book fans who enjoy when live-action adaptations play up the darkest and most adult angles imaginable, Titans is like The Boys with far less wink-at-the-camera hijinks, though the brooding DC Universe drama does have its share of offbeat humor. Bringing together DC comics heroes such as Robin/Nightwing, Raven, Starfire and Superboy, Titans currently has two seasons of angst-ridden storytelling ready for streaming, with a third on the way. Bonus comparison: those who don’t mind The Boys‘ lack of team-based heroics might also appreciate Titans‘ insistence on keeping its central team members at odds with one another.
Two seasons of Titans are currently available on DC Universe.
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While one could argue that there are generally too many TV shows out there, it’s a lot harder to argue that any of those TV shows are exactly like Amazon’s The Boys. As executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, with Eric Kripke as creator, The Boys is a twisted comic book tale about morally defunct superheroes and corporate malfeasance, with a lone thread of largely naive optimism running throughout.
The Boys became one of the most talked about streaming debuts of 2019, thanks in large part to its unpredictable action, its hilarious cynicism, and the unforgiving way in which it skewered superhero media. Unfortunately for fans wishing that the first season was a never-ending display of chaos, The Boys only lasted for eight episodes, giving everyone a lot of time to find other shows that sparked everyone’s imagination in similar ways. Thankfully, the wait is buoyed by the news that Season 2 is on the way.
Here, we’ve rounded up a selection of TV shows from recent years that fans of The Boys will likely enjoy in one way or another while waiting for the even more WTF Season 2 to arrive, with the added bonus that all of them are currently legally streaming somewhere on the Internet. Now put on your snazziest costume, smile for the cameras, and check out all the shows that we think The Boys fans should be watching in the near future.
The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
That’s right, it’s another cynical superhero drama adapted from a comic book, which could easily have filled up this list on all their own. But Gerard Way’s hugely popular Umbrella Academy is an interesting diversion from the usual beat-em-up approach, and centers on a twisted version of Professor X’s school and a “family” of superpowered individuals. Just as The Boys‘ team The Seven had a complicated history before the modern-day narrative, Umbrella Academy‘s central squad went through some equally problematic situations in the years before Season 1 catches up with everyone. While Umbrella Academy doesn’t feature anyone who can communicate with ocean life, the team’s monocled leader does have a sentient monkey as an assistant.
One season of The Umbrella Academy is available to stream on Netflix, with Season 2 coming at some point in 2020.
Supernatural (The CW, Netflix)
No, the comparison here between Amazon’s The Boys and The CW’s Supernatural isn’t tied to actors that have looked the same age for the past 15 years, but rather the fact that both shows share a creator in Eric Kripke. Having also brought recent cult TV offerings such as Revolution and Timeless to the world, Kripke excels in bringing unique TV twists to traditional genre storytelling. Though he hasn’t been a big creative force on Supernatural since its early seasons, Kripke’s influence can still be felt throughout the current phase of Sam and Dean Winchester’s complex mythology. Now if only Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg had a hand in guiding Jensen Ackles and Jared Padaleski’s narratives.
14 seasons of Supernatural are currently available to stream on Netflix, while The CW’s website features the latest five episodes at any point.
The Punisher (Netflix)
For the comic book TV fan who wants all of The Boys‘ rampant bloodshed and bone-crunching violence, but with its quirky humor replaced by even more bones getting crunched, The Punisher has more than enough grunt-infused brutality to spare. Starring Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle – arguably the most perfect casting of any show in this list – The Punisher somewhat mirrors Billy Butcher’s central story, in that it’s about a guy seeking revenge over awful things done to his wife, which entails going after morally corrupted authority figures. Not as many references to breast milk in The Punisher, but a fitting substitution nonetheless.
Two seasons of The Punisher are available to stream on Netflix, and we’re hoping for more from Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle in the future.
Breaking Bad (Netflix)
When it comes to initially virtuous characters who are driven to make controversial and unethical decisions by their progressively expanding ego, The Boys‘ most powerful hero Homelander definitely hearkens back to the anti-hero wave partially bolstered by Breaking Bad‘s central kingpin Walter White. It’s also not a stretch to compare Jack Quaid’s Hughie Campbell to Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman, in that both are essentially pawns within another character’s search for glory, and both are permanently scarred and soured by the death of a girlfriend at the hands of a “hero.” And yes, the presence of illicit drugs can also be connective tissue.
All five seasons of Breaking Bad, as well as the follow-up film El Camino, are currently available to stream on Netflix.
Watchmen (HBO Go, HBO NOW)
In this arguably bloated world of live-action superhero media, a lot of what makes The Boys stand out is its disillusioned look at both superpowered heroes and the greedy bigwigs seeking to monetize such things. One can easily trace that self-aware approach back to the pages of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, which currently has its own critically adored and visually splendorous adaptation on HBO. The difference here is that The Boys is a more direct page-to-TV conversion that packages its troublesome plots within bright sunshine, while Watchmen is encased in wry darkness and is a loose expansion of Watchmen‘s complex comic book world.
One still-ongoing season of Watchmen is currently available to stream on HBO Go and HBO Now.
Silicon Valley (HBO Go, HBO NOW)
Imagine if The Boys‘ Hughie Campbell didn’t have to deal with his girlfriend getting murdered by a speedster, and instead had to worry about running a data compression startup company. Perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but HBO’s Silicon Valley is the current apex of TV satire (especially with Veep out of commission), and The Boys isn’t too far behind it. Both Hughie and Thomas Middleditch’s Richard constantly make misery-inducing decisions that seem right in the moment, and Silicon‘s antagonistic duo of Gilfoyle and Dinesh are basically less physically aggressive versions of Mother’s Milk and Frenchie, with roughly the same amount of dick jokes.
Currently in its sixth season, Silicon Valley has all five seasons and then some available for streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.
Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
While Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant’s horror-tinged comedy Santa Clarita Diet may not instantly seem like the most Boys-esque show to check out, note that both series feature ill-equipped lead characters engaging in humorous investigations into conspiratorial mysteries that could negatively affect their loved ones. Granted, Santa Clarita Diet is about sentient zombies, but its creator Victor Fresco is like Eric Kripke in that he’s also been previously responsible for beloved cancelled-too-soon series, with Fresco having created the brilliant Better Off Ted and Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
All three seasons of Santa Clarita Diet are currently available to stream on Netflix. Here’s hoping The Boys doesn’t end before all its mysteries get answers.
Preacher (Hulu, AMC Premiere)
The big comic book adaptation on this list that doesn’t involve superheroes in the strictest sense, AMC’s Preacher perhaps still has more in common with The Boys than anything else. That’d be because both Preacher and The Boys comic books were created by modern-day comic book icon Garth Ennis, and so both share a similarly warped worldview of their respective universes. While The Boys focuses on commercially relevant superheroes, Preacher offers a conspiratorial and hypocritical look at religion and faith, and the deadly dangers that come from being overzealous on both sides of the aisle. But just because Jesus is involved, that doesn’t mean Preacher pulls back on the blasphemous debauchery.
All four seasons of Preacher are available to stream on AMC Premiere, while the first three are available on Hulu, with Season 4 coming in the future.
We hope that everything above will help to keep you and other fans of The Boys busy during the lengthy wait for Season 2 to arrive on Amazon. Fans can also catch up on The Boys comic books when watching TV starts to be a strain on the eyes.