TV Review: The Umbrella Academy

It’s big, it’s exciting, it’s funny and it’s definitely different.

The Umbrella Academy is a Netflix television series, surrounding a dysfunctional family of ‘superheroes’. The show is based on the original American comic book series created by Gerard Way, frontman of My Chemical Romance. The first limited series of six issues was released by Dark Horse Comics between September 2007 and February 2008, and won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series / Limited Series. A second and third series followed, with a proposed fourth series in development. The television adaptation was announced in 2015, and has finally been released on Netflix. 

The first scene takes us back to 1989 where, across the world, 43 super-powered infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who were not pregnant the day before. The Academy, led by The Monocle (aka billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves), only manages to purchase seven of the babies. These make up Spaceboy (Luther Hargreeves), The Kraken (Diego Hargreeves), The Rumor (Allison Hargreeves), The Séance (Klaus Hargreeves), The Boy (Number Five), The Horror (Ben Hargreeves) and The White Violin (Vanya Hargreeves).

The Monocle takes them to the Academy, raising them to be crime fighting child superheroes. However, the team break up and go their separate ways in life, only to be reunited nine years later by the death of their adopted father. The estranged family, all with their own unique powers (and personalities), must put aside their differences and work together in order to face an even bigger threat: the apocalypse. 

With a killer cast, great hallmarks of modern superhero stories – including ultraviolence and offbeat humour – and a large helping of family drama, The Umbrella Academy shines in its weirdest moments. Already, the series has kicked up quite the positive attraction, with critics praising its refreshingly new storytelling, top class acting, relatable characters and epic visuals.

Think Deadpool, Kickass and a hint of La La Land all rolled into one. Yet again, Netflix has delivered us another binge-worthy series.

Image: IGN