NPR’s Eric Deggans was among the major contingent of critics to herald the return of Amazon’s The Boys, for its cynically entertaining look at the world of superheroes, but also as “a funhouse mirror reflection of the horror, racism, xenophobia, corporate criminality and political posturing of our real-life world.”
The show, from executive producer Erik Kripke shocked and delighted fans and non-fans of the superhero genre with its unique world of characters with superhero powers but deeply-flawed, sometimes borderline-evil personalities. The first season of the series set a high viewership mark for Amazon has doubled that in Season Two, and a spinoff is already in the works.
Colorist Siggy Ferstl, whose work helped define the look of the first season, returned to do the same for the even more expansive second season (cinematographers for the series include Dylan Macleod, Evans Brown, Dan Stoloff, Jeremy Benning and Jeff Cutler).
Ferstl works closely with conform artist Heydar Adel throughout the entire post process. The two share the DaVinci Resolve project so they can work in tandem, with Ferstl focusing on color and Adel on the large amount of small VFX work required in any show of this scale, processes such as split screens, wire removal and, utilizing the more in-depth image manipulation in Resolve’s Fusion tab, processes such as image stabilization or adding in camera movement where there was none.
“In one scene,” Adel recalls, “a character tosses baseball around with his son and the circumstances suggest something very creepy.” The filmmakers had captured the scene with fairly static shots but subsequently decided that a more handheld, less stabilized look would serve to underscore the scary aspects of the scene. “We used Fusion to make the camerawork seem to get shakier as the scene goes on and puts the audience in more of a state of unease.”
Based on the audience response (The Boys is already renewed for a third season) and the stellar reviews, a “state of unease” is in high demand in these uneasy times. As Deggans sums up in his review, The Boys, “makes for a wonderfully subversive, cynically entertaining piece of work.”