A version of this story about “The Boys” and Eric Kripke appears in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.
The second season of Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” took many a risk, including gender-flipping one of the fan-favorite characters from the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson-created comic book series on which the show is based, shooting a scene in which the guys ram a boat into a (fake but anatomically correct) sperm whale, and concluding the season with Antony Starr’s superhero, Homelander, masturbating above the Manhattan skyline. But the biggest bet of all had nothing to do with what viewers saw on screen, and everything to do with when they saw it, as showrunner Eric Kripke and his fellow producers decided to switch the Sony TV-produced streaming show to a weekly rollout for Season 2, rather than the all-at-once drop they had used in Season 1.
And if it weren’t for that choice, which didn’t go over so well with a lot of the fan base (at first), Kripke thinks “The Boys” would not be nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at this year’s Emmys.
“It didn’t come from Amazon,” Kripke said. “It came from the producers. We said we wanted a weekly rollout because, honestly, a lot of it was the feeling of working that hard on something for that many years and then have it be completely disposable after two weeks felt like a bummer. We want people to relish it a little bit. We’ve given up our lives for it. And what’s funny is people forget that bingeing is not good for you. Everyone loves the term. But if you apply it to any other aspect of your life, it’s not a good thing for you. (laughs)“
“A drinking binge, an eating binge, a sex binge, maybe once in a while — but not every time. We wanted people to appreciate it.”
Though he found it disheartening to watch on social media, Kripke took the fan backlash to the weekly rollout in stride when the second season of “The Boys” premiered on Sept. 4, 2020, knowing that come the finale on Oct. 9, viewers would be desperate for more—as they are (very vocally) right now, while awaiting Season 3, which is currently in production in Toronto.
“Some fans were upset, and reasonably so, that you’re changing a pattern on them,” he said. “But you can only look at it as the most successful experiment. I mean, we were in the national conversation for way longer. We broke through, frankly, in a way that other shows that set themselves up with a binge model do not. I can absolutely guarantee that we would not be nominated for best drama had we not moved to a weekly rollout and gotten to the front of people’s minds for a longer period of time. Speaking just as a producer, for my business, it’s a better model.”
Not only is “The Boys” up for that top drama-series prize at the 2021 Emmys, but it’s also nominated in four other categories: Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, Outstanding Sound Mixing For a Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour), Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Season or a Movie and Outstanding Writing for A Drama Series.
Kripke thinks the awards attention that “The Boys” received — and the Emmy success of HBO’s “Watchmen” last year and Disney+’s “WandaVision” this year —also has to do with a new wave of superhero shows.“
“Over the last couple of years — and not just (‘The Boys’ and ‘WandaVision’), but my buddy Jeremy (Carver)’s ‘Doom Patrol’ and Netflix’s ‘Umbrella Academy’ — there’s a wave of superhero shows that are questioning the genre and commenting and presenting a level of sophistication that probably hasn’t existed in very many superhero shows before this,” Kripke said. “It’s sort of like in comic books. There were superheroes for the longest time and then guys like Garth Ennis and Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore did a second wave of deconstructing questions and satirizing. I think you’re seeing that same pattern play out in TV.”
This story about “The Boys” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.