The Umbrella Academy is a delightfully crazy superhero series based on a set of antiheroes. The series is based on a set of comic books by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba of Dark Horse and produced by Netflix.
The premise is absolutely nuts! but the adaptation creates a series which is fun and interesting. It never takes itself too seriously whilst introducing you to characters that include a talking Chimpanzee.
The series follows a number of children raised who were all born in unusual circumstances across the world. Roger Hargreaves, an eccentric millionaire adopts seven of these children all of whom exhibit various super powers. In an orthodox upbringing they form a crime fighting team who in adolescence disband only to meet up aged 28 when Hargreaves dies. This dysfunctional family must bad together and attempt to abort a looming apocalypse.
What adds the cherry to the cake is the music. The music used in the series is not just used as a backdrop but punctuates the action in an intimate and sometimes poignant way. It contributes to the pace of the action sequences and along the way is tremendous fun.
Much can be said of the characters in the series. The beast, the kid, the addict, the vigilante and so on but this review would spoil too much of the plot in talking about them in detail. The cast are good in particular is Aiden Gallagher who plays an adult in a kid’s body incredibly convincingly. Robert Sheehan is also amazing as the drug addled clairvoyant who can see the dead.
A surprising addition to the cast is Mary J. Blige who performs amazingly alongside Cameron Britton and Cha-Cha and Hazel, the time travelling hitmen. The pair form a dynamic duo with a complex evolving relationship.
The plot twists and turns along its 10 episode long run and one can’t help feeling that if they each took a moment to listen to each other a little more and actually talk to each other the impending apocalypse could have been sorted a whole lot sooner, but this would defeat the dysfunctional nature of the family and the problems they each have.
As with many series a second season is already in production and whilst incredibly fun sometimes a series should stick with just the one season to avoid its uniqueness being diluted. Nevertheless the Umbrella Academy is as unique as Stranger Things was and an entertaining spin on the superhero trope.