The Boys: Diabolical Review: Something For Everyone, If You Don’t Mind Blood And Poop
The popular Amazon Prime Video series The Boys is about to introduce its third season to the world. Before that happens, though, the show is expanding its universe with something as outlandish as The Boys themselves, an anthology series called Diabolical. Each episode, consisting of eight animated shorts of approximately 12 minutes each, features a distinct animation style and tone from different creative teams, although most of the episodes are more like a comedy. The Boys: Diabolical takes place in the world of The Boys from Amazon Prime Video. So, if you’re planning on diving into Diabolical, make sure you watch both seasons of The Boys. The animated series has several major spoilers for the final part of Season 1 and parts of Season 2. The show tries to expand the world of The Boys beyond the core cast and does so by introducing the world to other characters. Super-powered creatures, new aspects of the evil corporation Vought International, and, of course, more Homelander, because why not? Like The Boys, Diabolical is very violent.
Each episode has one thing in common – lots of gore and random poop moments. Take the level of violence and gore you saw in The Boys and multiply it many times over. Even the first episode of The Devilish starts with a ton of death, and it’s an episode that pays homage to Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes – primarily silent shorts in which action and orchestral accompaniment drive the story. The episode is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and without going into spoilers, it revolves around a scientist and a superpowered kid. Given the title of the episode, “Laser Baby’s Day Out,” you probably have a good idea of this episode’s antics if you’re also an avid fan of the 1994 cinematic masterpiece and Joe Pantoliano’s Baby’s Day Out car.
It’s 12 minutes of insanely entertaining 40s and 50s animation-style storytelling. It’s sometimes frustrating to see The Boys’ level of ultra-violence in this classic animation style, but it still works very well, especially if you’ve seen Amazon’s other wildly violent animated series, Invincible. This particular episode, though, has more of a sense of nostalgia than any other release, thanks to its ode to old Warner Bros. shorts.
However, the best episode of the season goes to episode 7: “John and Sung-hee” written by Andy Samberg and directed by Steve In Chang Ahn. In it, an elderly man does everything in his power to cure his wife of cancer, including using superpowers. It’s raw, emotional, and poignant – something completely unexpected for this series. Tonally, it’s unlike anything else from The Boys. There are no jokes. There are no moments played for laughs. It’s a gripping narrative that asks the viewer, “How far are you willing to go for the person you love?” This is the only episode I have watched more than twice.
There are series not for everyone, such as “Best Friends.” The episode, written starring Aquafina, is about a girl who gains superpowers, and her poop becomes her friend. That’s right, anthropomorphic feces. The episode has such a fun anime animation style, but the story falls through.
One of the problems with this show as a whole is that it goes over the top just for the sake of going too far. “BFF” might not be the best example of this, but this is an entire episode that borders on it. There are moments when Diabolical “goes there” in a way that makes the show feel like it’s just trying to be edgy just to do it. However, given the source material, it seems a little closer to The Boys comic. The title of the game is an adult animation, but sometimes you desperately want to say Diabolical to calm him down a bit.
The series as a whole performs exceptionally well, especially given that each episode is 12 minutes long. It seems like the perfect amount of time to tell these stories. These aren’t huge world-changing episodes, and the stories are relatively simple, so they don’t need to take up as much space as an episode of The Boys. 12 minutes is the perfect length to tell a few jokes – most of the time – to show some people blowing up and roll the credits. It’s exactly what you want and expects from The Boys, without having to follow a season-long storyline.
The Boys: Diabolical is not for everyone, but for everyone who loves The Boys. It expands in the world without making this series a must-see. It offers something completely different from what the main series offers. Yes, sometimes it’s overly annoying, and there are a couple of episodes that are skipped. But Diabolical is fun, and there are episodes that you’ll want to watch over and over again and episodes that are touching and emotional, which makes for a surprisingly enjoyable walk.