Gerard Way has made a kickass show. You might recognize his name because he is the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. But Way actually went to the School of Visual Arts in New York City to pursue an interest in the comic book industry. He brought The Umbrella Academy to life as a comic book in 2007, and in 2011 there were talks of a film adaptation. But in 2015, it was announced that it would be adapted into a television show.
The premise of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy is what makes this show stand out: on October 1st, 1989, 43 women simultaneously give birth around the world despite never having been pregnant. Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a bizarre billionaire, strives to adopt as many of the children as he can, ending up with seven.
The children each possess a different power, and Sir Reginald Hargreeves puts them to use fighting crime. There is no mention of the other 36 children. The show vacillates between past and present scenes; and in the present, Sir Reginald Hargreeves has been killed, and the estranged adoptive siblings come back together to solve the murder.
The Umbrella Academy isn’t the most original dysfunctional-superhero concept; comparisons are easily drawn between The X-Men comic series and DC Comics’ Doom Patrol, with The Umbrella Academy and Doom Patrol actually airing on the same date.
Still, The Umbrella Academy is refreshing because it does not revolve around highly choreographed fight scenes. It also stands out in its portrayal of realistic family dynamics and emotions. Every child has been fighting for their father’s approval and love, but Sir Reginald Hargreeves didn’t even bother naming them, instead calling them by numbers for “efficiency.”
The Umbrella Academy is entertaining, funny, and well-paced. There isn’t an episode that’s too slow or included just to pad the length. Every detail is thought out and cohesive within the larger story.
Season 1 ends on a major cliffhanger, so the coming season has plenty of room to stretch its legs and grow. There are numerous plot lines the show could explore, such as: What happened to the other 36 children, and who is Sir Reginald Hargreeves, really?
This show is a wild ride with surprises in every episode, so leave your expectations at the door. It’s a knockout recipe for a standout show: one part apocalyptic, seven parts origin story, mixed together with just a dash of wit. All 10 episodes of Season 1 are streaming now on Netflix.