As part of Deadline Hollywood's "It Starts on the Page" series highlighting and releasing Emmy nominated scripts, they released the script for Amazon Prime's The Boys Episode 206, "The Bloody Doors Off" and it is a fantastic addition to the series as well as being an incredibly well-written read. The official writing credit for this episode goes to Anslem Richardson, though the way a tv writer's room is structured means there were ideas and collaboration from the other writers with showrunner Eric Kripke having final approval.
The Breaking Bad scripts are highly lauded as the pinnacle of modern television writing – the way they convey the exact emotion on the page that follows through to the screen is pure poetry and art; the style of the prose and voice matched the characters and energy of the show exactly. Since reading Breaking Bad, there have been a few scripts that hit like that (Sons of Anarchy is my personal favorite), but know that that's not the standard. Not every script will infuse the voice of the character, showrunner, and overall world into every word – not even the majority of scripts do. And that's okay for say, a sitcom or an episode of SWAT or something, but for a show as punchy, witty, and in-your-face as The Boys, it's good to see the script is just as strong as the series.
The script pages are beautifully timed in that, accounting for the shift of the Church of the Collective Renewal scene with Deep and A-Train, you can pause the episode at any point and the minute mark corresponds with the page number of the script draft. The rule for TV dramas is that one page roughly equals a minute of screen time. Ergo, a 60-page script, if filmed exactly as written, should film up to be a one-hour show. That said, the episode of The Boys does linger on shots and really lets the audience feel the moments more towards the end when there are big emotional reveals, stretching the episode run time to 63 minutes despite not deviating much from the 57-page script.
The only scene that was cut was at the end, scenes 46 and 47 where Hughie wakes up in the hospital and Butcher tells him Annie left, then seeing Annie in a cab. It may have been filmed (it's unclear since this is not marked "shooting script" or "script lock", or "shooting draft") however, the emotional intensity of the scene with Frenchie talking Mallory down in the woods matched better with Homelander confronting Stormfront. If the audience had a scene that wasn't as intense in the middle of that, Stormfront's Nazi origin reveal wouldn't have hit as hard emotionally or been as effective with audiences who were still emotionally with Hughie and Annie.
Perhaps the wildest part of the script is the fact it's on revised 2nd yellow revisions. In the industry, the first production draft of a script is labeled white, as it's all printed on white paper. The next revision, be it partial pages to replace the old ones or an entirely new draft, is printed on blue paper, giving it the moniker of a blue draft. The next is pink, then yellow (aka canary), green, and goldenrod. If a script goes past goldenrod before being finalized, the colors repeat in double-double white, double blue, double pink, and so on. For this draft to be on double yellow means it's been fine-tuned and refined over the course of months – and it still changed even more (albeit with small tweaks and changes) from what we see on screen.
The process is absolutely fascinating, and if you're interested in a good script read, the process of the page-to-screen, or just obsessed with The Boys (we don't blame you at all), this is a fascinating study in television and a good read. 10/10, no summer beach read is complete without someone being strangled by a love sausage.
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