The Umbrella Academy And What It Does Right


Emilia McLaughlin '21, Staff Writer

On February 15, 2019, Netflix released one of its most popular original series yet, The Umbrella Academy. Based on the comic book series written by Gerard Way (yes, the Gerard way from hit band My Chemical Romance), it’s an instant classic about a dysfunctional family that happens to have extraordinary super powers. 

Forty-three kids are all born on the same day, at the same time, to women that one second were not pregnant, and the next second, were. A maniacal billionaire adopts seven of these children and trains them to be a crime fighting unit. With abilities like super strength, super instinct, time traveling, mind control, interdimensional beast controlling and communicating with the dead, the group is dubbed The Umbrella Academy. Many years and a few deaths later, the remaining five members of the academy get the news that their father, the mysterious and apathetic Reginald Hargreeves, has died under suspicious circumstances. It’s up to the group to find out what happened, especially when presumed dead sibling, Five, reappears with a dark omen that on top of the mystery of their father, the world will end unless they do something to stop it. 

Each character is so well representative of the most negative parts of a family dynamic. There is Vanya, powerless and neglected her whole life struggle being to feel included and wanted by her family. Luther, the favorite who tried so hard to please his father for what he has to face, has amounted to nothing. Diego, who possesses a hero-complex manifested from a childhood of big responsibilities and feelings of inferiority. Klaus and Allison, whose powers terrified them as children and led to a struggle to face themselves and their reality. Ben, dead but able to stick around the land of the living thanks to Klaus. Lastly Five, who holds so many secrets from his family that he has some to spare. These characters either represent the viewer, or someone the viewer knows, and they do it so well. The gang is made up of not only endearing, developed, exciting and sympathetic characters, but with plot equally magnetic. The show doesn’t fall into the trap of involving too many unimportant or annoyingly distracting side characters, nor does it make you feel like you’re struggling to keep up with all the different people and what they’re doing. It’s all cohesive and well-rounded, meaning you’re safe to pick a favorite without fearing for their lack of screen time and development.

Getting technical, the show shines in setting, dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack and acting. There are so many scenes that will make you laugh, sit at the edge of your seat and cheer for those that you hold dear. Intense plot, wonderful comic relief, nd the balance of some cleverly thought out and constructed themes give you a sense of satisfaction. The show currently has two seasons on Netflix. You may worry about a drop in quality or difference in design when there’s more than one season of a show. However, everything that The Umbrella Academy does well in season one, it does even better in season two. I recommend the show to anyone that is in the mood for something to spice up their weekend binging. Don’t think it’s worth it? You’ll have to check it out and decide that for yourself.

Image courtesy of Flickr.