Have you ever thought mainstream superheroes were too mundane? Do you find yourself feeling comic book movie fatigue? Well, I have just the remedy for you. Hailing from showrunner Steve Blackman, The Umbrella Academy releases on Netflix February 15th. I had the opportunity to watch the first seven episodes of the series, so let’s get into what makes this show so unique.
The Umbrella Academy is based on a Dark Horse Comics series, created by Gerald Way and Gabriel Bá. It follows the story of seven children who are adopted by eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves after all being born at the same time to virgin mothers. Their births were no coincidence as it quickly becomes apparent that each child possesses a superhuman ability. Hargreeves grooms his children to become an elite team, one that he believes will save the world.
From the start of the show, it quickly becomes apparent that The Umbrella Academy is not your run-of-the-mill superhero series. The corny ships, cheesy costumes, and muddled dialogue that has become a mainstay of comic book television are nowhere to be found. Netflix has done something that has eluded many of network over the years, they’ve perfectly blended the craziness of comics with the wittiness of modern television.
What lays the groundwork for this show is the performances. Leading the way is Robert Sheehan as Klaus, the junkie brother who has never had a full grasp on his powers. Backing him up is Ellen Page as Vanya, Tom Hopper as Luther, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison, David Castañeda as Diego, and Aidan Gallagher as Number Five, who will quickly become a fan-favorite when the series makes it highly-anticipated debut. This ensemble breathes life into the show as viewers begin to follow this make-shift family on their wild adventure.
What makes the actors’ performances so important is where the direction the show decides to take. Pulling no punches is too light of a phrase when describing how much fans of the highly-anticipated series will have to deal with when it finally debuts. As soon as you think the show may be going on way, the rug is quickly and aggressively pulled from beneath you as a new concept will be introduced. It’s clear that the team behind this show had no problem letting go of the hands of their viewers. Now, that may sound like a critique, but let me assure you, it’s not. In a day and age where content seems to lean towards having to explain every aspect of itself to avoid causing an issue, it’s a breath of fresh air to be able to infer.
Another aspect to be on the lookout for is the show’s soundtrack. From the first episode, the music hooks you in and is woven into the narrative somewhat seamlessly. Most reviews would go on to compare it to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack that was so masterfully put together by James Gunn, but that isn’t the case here. What the team behind The Umbrella Academy does it intertwine more classic songs with some modern hits to help transition between the various years that the show takes place.
I think it’s easy to tell that I’m more or less here to tell you about how great this show is, and that’s true. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I haven’t watched a show that’s so smart and entertaining in a long time, and I watch a lot of TV.
You will be grinning from ear to ear from the moment they start the show until the moment they go back to binge-watching episodes of The Office. To make myself abundantly clear, The Umbrella Academy has the potential to be one of the best pieces of original content to ever be produced by Netflix.
The Umbrella Academy premieres February 15th on Netflix.