75 Best TV Shows Similar to The Boys
In the Know
Peacock’s claymation sitcom is at its best when it skips the satire for the strange, but “best” is grading on a curve.
To its credit, In The Know resists dropping the term “woke” to describe its characters. Unfortunately, in a fairly disastrous opener, that’s the only “those silly sensitive liberals” signifier it lets go past. The premiere’s big joke, one it repeats OFTEN, centers on the proper terminology for someone without a place to live. Because, of course, it's a goofy waste of time to worry about language. Only Zach Woods’ ever-increasing profane frustration at being corrected by Fabian (Caitlin Reilly) saves the bit. His voice performance as “NPR’s third most popular host” Lauren Caspian is just sly enough to make it unclear if his anger comes from his inability to remember the correct term, someone having the nerve to interrupt him, or the thought that someone in the office might be more progressive than him.
It isn’t that mocking blowhard radio hosts can’t be a rich comic vein. Just check out the original Frasier series, a show with a strangely intense cross-generational appeal that persists even over 19 years after the final episode aired. It’s centering that mockery on NPR, particularly an NPR that has more in common with a conservative’s fever dream of what the company is like rather than anything resembling reality, feels like a weak tea. Fortunately, things improve for In The Know as it quickly moves beyond what initially seems like an exercise in sticking it to those caricatures of public radio employees. Continue Reading →
GREGORY HORROR SHOW
A quick overview of the high highs and middling disappointments in horror this year.
With the social media app formerly known as Twitter now a shell of its former self, horror fans have been forced to return to Facebook to continue such interminable debates as “What does or doesn’t qualify something as ‘horror’?” “What the hell is ‘elevated horror,’ anyway?” “Are remakes inherently bad?” “Have horror movies gotten too ‘woke’?” “Were we wrong for letting women make horror?”
In a year when both David Gordon Green and M. Night Shyamalan released new movies, the horror discourse was especially spicy, and that’s before we get to the really interesting stories, like the surprise viral success of Skinamarink, which, with the way time seems to be passing nowadays, feels like it was released five years ago. Both indie and mainstream horror made daring choices, not looking to appeal to as broad a range of audiences as possible, and treating the genre as a serious art form, as opposed to just a machine that prints money. But the biggest surprise came in October, with the release of Saw X, the tenth film in a seemingly unkillable franchise, which ended up being one of the best, most coherent entries in the entire series. Continue Reading →
The AppleTV+ spy series retains its humor but gives viewers its most tightly plotted effort yet.
Slow Horses Season 3 reiterates how the series differs from so many other TV shows. While critics frequently discuss film as a director’s medium, television tends to be more showrunner—and thus writer—driven. While Horses indeed derives many of its pleasures from the writers—the returning trio of Will Smith, Jonny Stockwood, and Mark Denton once again man the pens—each season’s unique tone owes to its single director.
James Hawes made the series’ debut season a workplace comedy where the occasional gun battle might break out. Season 2 darkened or ditched much of the comedy for a bleaker, higher action affair under the direction of Jeremy Lovering. In Slow Horses Season 3, Saul Metzstein doesn’t push the team back into the offices. If anything, Slough House appears even less than in Season 2. However, he does re-up some of the mismatched colleagues’ humor, particularly when it comes to the team’s most recent additions, gambling addict Marcus (Kadiff Kirwan) and drug addict Shirley (Aimee-Ffion Edwards). He also further deepens the emotional stakes with a light touch, adding depth to ever-growing complications. Continue Reading →
Doom Patrol Season 4 Part 2 dives headfirst into what has consistently been a series favorite topic since the beginning: death. While much of Patrol has pondered what it would be like to live agelessly—essentially without fear of any possible death except the violent and unusual—but still struggle with every other aspect of being human. The members screwed up, had mental issues and physical ailments, struggled with vanity and loneliness, and frequently gave in to any number of self-loathing varietals. They would never age, but they wore their pain the same as the rest of us. Continue Reading →
The sea is always a great setting for a story. It’s both soothing and menacing; water is cleansing and purifying, and a consistently replenishing source of food. But it’s also dangerous and uncompromising. Water is one of nature’s greatest antagonists, it can get into virtually anything, softening it, weakening it, eventually breaking it apart. But nothing on earth would survive without it. It’s a brilliant metaphor for so many things, as it’s constantly changing and moving and covers wondrous and monstrous secrets. It works even better in visual mediums like TV and film because it’s beautiful to both look at and listen to. The CW’s new eco-thriller, The Swarm, makes good use of its watery locations in establishing an aura of tranquil menace: everything seems calm and orderly, but there’s trouble bubbling up just below the surface. Continue Reading →
Only Murders in the Building
The surprise, sustained hit Only Murders in the Building brands itself as a comedy-mystery on Hulu. But, as season three hits the streaming service, with another murder for the Arconian trio of Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) to solve, something becomes apparent. The series isn’t going for big laughs. Instead, it provides warmth, small chuckles, and genial goodness between the triumvirate. The show remains about found family, intergenerational friendships, and murder mysteries. It’s perhaps best described as a cozy mystery, a murder show with a heart of gold, an oxymoron of concepts. Continue Reading →
The 2019 adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 novel Good Omens was a charming show that succeeded in translating the book’s strengths and weaknesses to the small screen. It was clever like the book, with an ingenious plot (what if there had been a mix-up at the hospital and the Antichrist went home with the wrong family) that parodied The Omen while conjuring an apocalyptic tale all its about an angel and demon whose millennials-long rivalry grew from mutual antagonism, to grudging respect, and finally admiration and even a kind of love. But it also carried over the book’s weaker elements, its wonky pacing, plurality of uninteresting characters, and the fact that the first two thirds of the story is essentially table setting for the final third. Continue Reading →
The Witcher returns for its third season, Henry Cavill’s final run as Geralt of Rivera, Witcher, before Liam Hemsworth steps into the White Wolf’s big boots. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich introduces yet another tonal shift to the series, which has suffered a bit of an identity crisis since its bombastic first season. After the uneven season two and the head-scratching prequel spinoff Blood Origins, Season three takes a step back from intricate political intrigue to deliver a more straightforward narrative. Continue Reading →
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan
Generally speaking, we avoid personalizing our reviews at The Spool. This isn’t the early 2000s. No one needs to know about my journey to my couch to watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4. That said, please allow me a brief personal indulgence that I promise will prove illustrious. In an effort to get ahead of deadlines, I watched the season’s six episodes in a day with a plan to write the review the next day. However, by the time I sat down to write that review about 26 hours later, I realized I had to watch the whole thing again. In a day’s time, I had forgotten too much to write a review in good faith. Continue Reading →
Ghosts of Beirut
Throughout the near-240 minutes of Showtime’s Ghosts of Beirut, the four-part espionage thriller introduces dozens of characters scattered across the Middle East. CIA agents, Mossad operatives, and various members of the Islamic Jihad Organization all get time within these four hours of television. Creators Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz attempt to give all perspectives in this story, including that of terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, the central figure of this story, and so, the series consistently remains too limited. Continue Reading →
When it comes to prestige limited streaming series, horror movies (especially of the more grotesque persuasion) don’t tend to be common fodder. But with Rachel Weisz at the helm, Prime Video’s latest thriller series, Dead Ringers, looks to David Cronenberg’s 1988 film of the same name. Though undoubtedly a formidable showcase for Weisz, who pulls double duty as twins Elliot and Beverly, Dead Ringers struggles to remain fresh and interesting, often overstaying its welcome and retreading familiar territory. Admittedly, swapping the genders of its protagonists makes for an interesting approach to the subject matter. But Dead Ringers lacks the killer instincts and stylistic flair that makes the film so fondly remembered. Continue Reading →
There’s a subset of “Will they or won’t they?” stories that are perhaps best described as “They will, then they won’t, then they will again, then they won’t again, and so on.” There are certainly fans of this kind of story. Arguably the most popular sitcom of the past 40 years, Friends, had Ross and Rachel bouncing together and apart repeatedly. Hulu’s new musical series Up Here is the latest example of that rom-com subset of a subset. Continue Reading →
It’s a year ending with a number, so, once again, someone’s launching a live-action TV show rooted in Batman’s mythology but doesn’t star Batman. That show, following in the footsteps of Gotham and Pennyworth: The Origins of Batman’s Butler, is none other than Gotham Knights. A brand-new CW production, it aims to be a “next generation” tale of sorts. The audience follows a motley group of teens possessed of assorted connections to Batman characters, old and new. By the time the first episodes wrap, viewers will undoubtedly want to shine a signal into the sky to summon a better TV show. Continue Reading →
Considering the number of statues, attention, and fans the series has collected over two seasons, it may feel odd to call Ted Lasso Season 3 a chance at a comeback. However, given the backlash that seemed to accumulate during the back half of the second season, it isn’t entirely off the mark. Viewers and critics (not this one, make of that what you will) expressed frustration with the show’s messier tone and longer episodes. Additionally, even as the show pierced it, people’s appetite for Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) positivity had rapidly grown thin in some quarters. Continue Reading →
Haunted house stories have always been my favorite. There's something so thrilling and unsettling about a place that feels and reacts to the people that occupy it. As I got older, I learned that haunting could mean many things. It could mean memory. It could mean joy, despair, humor, or fear soaking into the brick and mortar or reflecting our experiences back at us. If you look at it that way, isn't every house haunted? Continue Reading →
Rural Pennsylvania. No one moves, and the woods surround them. The trees shudder. A whip snaps around a branch. Cut to the forest below, a denim-clad hero emergesIIndiana Jones on his latest adventure. Continue Reading →
One of the biggest downsides of making such gorgeous, sprawling fantasy television epics is the agonizing wait between seasons. This is acutely felt at Amazon, in particular, as they seem to have cornered the fantasy television market. Fans are already gnashing for a new season of big-budget offerings like The Wheel of Time, and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Of course, no show has suffered more for the delays than Carnival Row Season 2. Season 1 aired in 2019, an interminable wait for any dedicated viewer. Continue Reading →
The Harley Quinn animated TV series has always been about subverting expectations. The basic DNA of the show initially seemed so formulaic (a raunchy take on DC Comics superheroes, scandalous!) before morphing into something much more fun and emotionally resonant. Potentially one-joke characters like Bane have become so delightfully nuanced and messy. Continue Reading →
“Emotionally manipulative” is a criticism of television and film I’ve always struggled with evaluating. If it is doing its job, any show or movie should emotionally manipulate you, at least a bit. It’s why you can go into a dark cineplex feeling a bit in the grip of the blahs and emerge high on the story of Nic Cage and his best swine friend. So know, when I declare Dear Edward “emotionally manipulative as hell,” that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Continue Reading →
Mayor of Kingstown
When last we left Kingstown, MI, the town was recovering from a brutal prison riot that left plenty of guards and scores of prisoners dead. Mike McLusky (Jeremy Renner) has proven nowhere near the adept fixer his deceased brother (Kyle Chandler) was. The town paid the price. Continue Reading →