If you haven’t binged Umbrella Academy on Netflix yet, please do so ASAP. One of the best shows to come out this year, it’s a stunning ride from start to finish. Fantastic characters, music, wardrobe, and settings combine into a marvelous pleasure that will leave even comic skeptics happy.
The music throughout the season plays a huge role, rocking the viewer along a wild ride of a story. Truly, the opening sequence of episode 1 was one of the best I’ve seen on ANY series premiere. The music, the short introductions, the incredible dollhouse style dancing scene!? I was hooked right from the start and I guarantee you will be too. We’ve been so inundated with superheroes (not that I’m complaining) that they can start to blend together. Not so with Umbrella Academy and the musicality of the season is one big reason why.
Of course, any good show has to have character at its heart and Umbrella Academy comes through in spades. Our heroes are flawed, difficult and can be assholes at times. Basically your normal family environment. Except headed by an insanely focused Hargreeves (Colm Feore) who takes custody of superpowered children from mothers who got pregnant and gave birth on the same day. Literally got pregnant and then gave birth on the same day. Around the world. What. Hargreeves creates The Umbrella Academy as a crime-fighting institute, training his adopted children (although they’re never treated as more than his experiments) in order to save the world. Thankfully we’re never put through yet another boring training montage, instead seeing these adorable kids out doing what they do best as costumed heroes.
The kids are vastly different, and their powers both stem from and cause that. I dare you not to fall in love with Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) or get your heart broken by Klaus (Robert Sheehan). Add in the “normal” Vanya, portrayed by the anything but, Ellen Page and this cast brings a depth to each person. Even the robotic Mother (Jordan Claire Robbins) has a full backstory, a heart and a complication that makes you feel her pain. Or her programming? My brain hurts. Of course I’d be very remiss not to mention Mary J Blige as Cha Cha. She’s got it. All of it and everything and I bow down to her and I want more Cha Cha. That’s all.
Fellow Hub writer Heaven asked me to include wardrobe as an “honorable mention” and I was SO more than happy to do so. The costuming on Umbrella Academy was fun and striking. Every character was perfectly suited and booted, from Klaus’ open lace pants to Diego’s (David Castaneda) leather and knives. Not to mention the use of color on Klaus’s tank top in a scene where everything else goes to black and white. Gorgeous.
Of course story, you didn’t think I’d leave that out? Creator Jeremy Slator changed just enough from the comic for me. Actually getting to see Ben (Justin H. Min), having Cha Cha and Hazel (Cameron Britton) make earlier appearances, etc, all worked very well for the screen. Also, a big one for me, taking an all-white team to a very diverse one, win! We may have had an inkling to the season-ending as we watched, but how we’d get there was constantly surprising. Twists and turns abound in all the right ways. Nothing felt included for shock value alone, everything had a reason. In a comic-based show this honestly feels refreshing. Umbrella Academy hit the right ending as well, wrapping a story and leaving a perfect jumping off point for next year.
In conclusion, I’ll just say, go watch Umbrella Academy. You won’t be disappointed.