“The Umbrella Academy” dives into its odd and twisting universe swiftly with the
adoption of seven out of 43 mysteriously born children, by the eccentric, if not abusive, billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves. Based on the comic book of the same name written by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, the series was created by Jeremy Slater and Steve Blackman and produced by Netflix; with a cast of internationally renowned actors including Mary J. Blige, Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan and Tom Hopper.
In its first moments, the show creates an aesthetic that looks like a combination of Bryan Fuller (creator of “Hannibal” and “American Gods”) and Guillermo Del Toro (creator of “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”) if they took their own wack at the flood of superheroes. The premise focuses on the current lives of the five living Hargreeves’ siblings as they reconnect over their father’s death and come to terms with the trauma he inflicted to create “heroes”. Each was born with a sort of power, and since birth they were trained by their father and his experiments, to become The Umbrella Academy, a group of vigilante heroes.
Except for one, “Number 7” also known as “Vanya Hargreeves” (played by Ellen Page), whose her entire life has been left behind due to her inherent disappointment of being normal. In the process, Hargreeves doesn’t even bother to name his “children” anything but the order in which he cares for them. Now at his death, what’s left of the family returns and reunites with the family they left behind.
I have to admit, I watched the show in a single night, succumbing to binge culture, led down the rabbit hole by the arc of the show. From the stylized look and brilliant concept design, plus the carefully cultivated soundtrack, this show rates at 9/10 for me. The character development is beautifully crafted and relatable in the oddest of ways the writing is witty throughout.
While some have pointed to the shows pacing as a source of confusion, I found that it aided the story progression and made for a show you really can’t predict. I am biased in that I love a gorgeously morbid plot and the challenge it puts on not only the concepts of a hero, but an anti-hero. But if you’re looking for something different from the everything else offered on the streaming services, try “The Umbrella Academy” and revel in its offbeat world.