Netflix Show Review: The Umbrella Academy

John Sabato, Writer

The Popular Dark Horse Comic book “The Umbrella Academy” isn’t accurately brought to live action, however the Netflix original does a good job of bringing the story and characters to life. The show was written by Jeremy Slater and produced by Gerard Way and Steve Blackman. The flashbacks start off weird and seemingly original, but as the plot begins to unfold, it can’t help but feel stale. It always seems like you can predict what’s coming. The series is centered around 43 children who were all mysteriously born out of nowhere. Their adoptive father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, traveled the world attempting to adopt these children, he got seven.

Each child was given a number to clarify their status on the team. But they have personal names that they gave each other. Each child had different and unique abilities, except for Number Seven who was told from birth that she was only “ordinary”. The family relationship gets dicey when Number Five begins to question their fathers methods and wants to explore his ability more. In the process of doing so, he strands himself in the desolate wasteland that once was Earth while testing the limits of his warping ability. With the mysterious death of their father, the sudden return of Number Five, the story is set into motion.

The shows main cast is pretty great each giving a good performance of the grown up versions of children, who were really never shown affection from their father, one of the best coming from Ellen Page who plays Vanya (Number Seven), her character who got the least amount of affection growing up, since she was the “Ordinary One” of the students? The weakest parts of the characters was probably their abilities being utilized within the ten episode run, some of which are barely showcased, like Allison (Number Three), played by Emmy Raver Lampman. Her ability is quite possibly the easiest one to use on the show, yet is almost never used, only mostly in flashbacks. Possibly one of the best characters is Klaus (Number Four), played by Robert Sheehan, who has quite possibly the best character development over the course of the story. He’s haunted by the ghost he’s able to contact, he numbs himself with narcotics to keep the ghost at bay, still he is able to see his adoptive brother Ben (Number Six) who’s mysterious death is probably one of the biggest unanswered questions within the series. Number Five, who currently has no actual name, played by Aidan Gallagher, who delivers a great performance as an older man trapped in the body of a 12 year old, keeping it serious as possible when it comes to a lonely alcoholic. The rest of academy are fine, Luther (Number One) and Diego (Number Two), they just don’t stay in your head well when thinking about characters as well as the others did. Diego has some Minor Character development but Luther didn’t really change much throughout the series.

The series antagonist, Hazel and Cha-Cha, a time traveling hitman from a big shady organization who are after Number Five for deserting his position. Hazel is probably the strongest of the duo, developing well over the series. Cha-cha not so much, as she could be seen as a fun fan favorite, but not really changing in overall tone.

The Umbrella Academy offers a great cast that portray some interesting characters and some decent action that could’ve been improved upon with use of abilities. The story drags at times but knows how to turn it around with interesting character interactions and a cliffhanger ending. The show may hook you, but it’s likely to be a loose hook.