It’s been over a week since The Umbrella Academy, the newest comic-turned-TV show, has premiered and while it has already made headlines being the most binged Netflix show this past week I decided to take a more patient approach to viewing and have just recently finished the series.
For those that might be unfamiliar, The Umbrella Academy follows the lives of 7 children who were all mysteriously born on the same day and time. The children were somehow able to be purchased by a billionaire by the name of Reginald Hargreaves (Colm Feore). He is an enigmatic figure that the show teases has many more layers beyond what the first season has shown.
Six of the children show very early on that they each possess unique powers ranging from mind manipulation, speaking with the dead to super strength that cause their father to form a crime-fighting group called The Umbrella Academy. But this is where the similarities to other supergroup tropes ends.
As the children grow up, they begin to feud and grow apart from one another only to be forced back together by their adoptive father’s death. Their family is no stranger to tragedy as one of their brothers, Ben, died while on a mission and another, Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), disappeared after messing with time travel and was never seen again.
It is only after Reginald Hargreaves dies that Number Five returns to warn the family that he’s seen the Apocalypse and needs their help to stop it. In the off-chance that someone might be reading this who hasn’t yet seen the series, proceed with caution though this review will refrain from any major spoilers.
The Umbrella Academy does an excellent job of giving ample screen time and story towards each member of the family so that by the end of the second act within the series you are emotionally invested in each member. You can easily see that a ten episode, hour-long structure gives more freedom towards the source material to explore more avenues that would normally be shorter within the comics.
The series also does an exceptional job of approaching each family member’s perspective differently while still pushing them towards an eventual common goal. The other aspect that was impressive was its ability to feature the secondary storylines and characters quite well. Their stories are treated with just as much attention as some of the main characters. This takes time to develop, but it keeps you interested in the series’ resolution right up until the last episode.
And if you haven’t already finished the series, let us spare you some suspense as they left the show open for a second season. While ready for its ending, having everything neatly wrapped up by the end credits with just enough, the series still throws a curveball at the viewer that leaves them on quite a large cliffhanger of anticipation.
The Umbrella Academy does many things right – its soundtrack, casting, pace but most importantly it is an almost perfect homage to its source material with its amazing tone. The humor (often dark) and light-hearted dialogue between characters are perfectly balanced with much darker themes and realizations. It results in a wonderful and well-paced show that is extremely easy to binge over a weekend or to savour with a longer approach to viewing.
The Umbrella Academy is fun, action-packed and a well thought out family drama that offers plenty to enjoy as well as even more to anticipate if it is renewed. Fingers crossed that it does!