The Boys: 5 alternative superhero dramas to watch after season 3, from The Umbrella Academy to Watchmen

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The Boys is a superhero show for those who are bored of superhero shows - here are 5 other series that flip the genre on its head

The Boys is in the middle of its third season, and there’s been more gratuitous violence, murder and torture in the first half of this season you will find in the entire MCU output to date.

The Boys began airing at a time of superhero oversaturation, and completely reversed the tropes of the genre.

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The BoysThe Boys
The Boys | Amazon

The superheroes in The Boys are not heroic at all, they’re more like the Gods of Greek legend - they are pretty, narcissistic, vengeful - and unfortunately for the mere mortals around them, they are also super powerful.

With The Boys, Amazon has found a way to mine the superhero genre further, by making the supes the bad guys, and filling each episode with a dizzying amount of extreme violence.

But, with episodes being released weekly, there’s a lot of time to fill between instalments - so here are five other genre-bending superhero shows to keep you entertained while you wait for episode six, tastefully titled Herogasm.


It may sound like an odd choice at first, but the teens blessed with superhuman abilities in this E4 comedy series are just as petty as many of The Seven.

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The group use their powers to varying degrees of nobility, sometimes teaming up to stop a religious cult from converting the country, and sometimes using them to increase their sex appeal.

Misfits | Channel 4

The series does a good job of presenting a realistic view of what would happen if a group of horny, bored teenagers with a criminal bent got their own superpowers, and it also injects plenty of black comedy into the mix .

The first three seasons are by far the best, with the show taking a sharp dive after most of the original cast, including the excellent Robert Sheehan, leave.

You can watch all five seasons of Misfits on All 4 now (although I would recommend stopping after season three).

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Based on Alan Moore’s DC comics series of the same name, Watchmen is essentially an inversion of The Boys.

While in The Boys universe, most people believe that the superheroes are good and it is only a small band of fighters who know they are corrupt and evil, in Watchmen masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, even though most of them want to make the world safer.

Watchmen | Sky

The series is full of the moral ambiguity that made the Watchmen graphic novel and 2009 film so interesting, and it also offers a fresh take on superheroes, one in which they are forced to operate in the shadows.

The nine-part show tells a complete story and while it wasn’t cancelled, there were no plans to make it longer than a one-season tale.

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You can watch the complete season of Watchmen on Sky Atlantic now.

The Punisher

The Punisher is one of Marvel’s most compelling heroes, in that he’s actually not that much of one - according to Marvel the comic character has killed more than 48,000 people.

The series, a rare 18 rating for Marvel, sees Frank Castle become The Punisher and embark on an epic revenge quest when his family are murdered.

Marvel's The Punisher is another of Netflix's casualties this month, with the critically acclaimed Jon Bernthal show moving to Disney +.Marvel's The Punisher is another of Netflix's casualties this month, with the critically acclaimed Jon Bernthal show moving to Disney +.
Marvel's The Punisher is another of Netflix's casualties this month, with the critically acclaimed Jon Bernthal show moving to Disney +.

The 18 certificate means that The Punisher can include the extreme violence that The Boys has become synonymous with, and the absence of which makes other superhero projects feel muted.

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Jon Bernthal is fantastic in the lead role, lending the character a real grit that you wouldn’t see in Captain America.

It’s a shame that the show was cancelled after its second season in the shadow of the Disney Plus launch.

All of season one and two are available to watch now on Disney Plus.

The Umbrella Academy

The comedy action series, blessed with a 15 rating to allow plenty of swearing, follows a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes.

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After growing apart, the siblings reunite following the news of their adoptive father’s death and work to uncover how he died and prevent an oncoming global apocalypse.

The Umbrella AcademyThe Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy | COURTESY OF NETFLIX

It’s certainly softer than The Boys - there’s a lot less blood in Umbrella Academy, and the humour to horror ratio is much more skewed, but this fits the tone of the show well.

It’s also the second series on the list to feature Robert Sheehan, and he’s just as good in this as he was in Misfits.

Season one and two of The Umbrella Academy are available to watch now on Netflix, and all of season three will be released on the platform on June 22.

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Jupiter’s Legacy

In a unique take on the genre, Jupiter’s Legacy sees ageing superheroes pass on the torch to their children with the hope that they will continue to keep the world safe.

However, the superkids aren’t happy with mum and dad planning out their future for them, and it turns out that being a full time caped crusader doesn’t leave much space for family bonding.

Jupiter’s LegacyJupiter’s Legacy
Jupiter’s Legacy | COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Jupiter’s Legacy explores intergenerational trauma and feels like a documentary about obsessive parents who want to raise star athletes.

While the approach was a little hamfisted at times and the series does devolve into the standard superhero tropes of the forces of good rallying together against evil, it did not deserve to be canned after its first season.

Jupiter’s Legacy is available to watch now on Netflix.

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