If you’re looking for a new show to binge, I highly recommend Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. I just finished it last night and it’s one of the only series that I’ve ever watched that made me think to myself, “I can’t wait to watch this whole thing again.”
There’s something absolutely delightful about this show that makes it a blast to experience. I’ll share with you just a few of the things that I appreciated most.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Umbrella Academy, I describe it as The X-Men meets Stranger Things. An aristocratic stick-in-the-mud named Sir Reginald Hargreeves takes it upon himself to collect seven babies born under mysterious circumstances throughout the world. He trains them from birth to fight evil and deter an impending apocalypse. He counts on his android nanny and sentient, well-dressed primate to assist him. His Umbrella Academy is cold, rigid, and unforgiving.
The show begins with the adult members of the Umbrella Academy returning home due to Hargreeves’ death. It’s the first time they’ve been together in years. It becomes very apparent, very quickly, that all of these former child super heroes are damaged goods.
However, this isn’t the melodrama of The X-Men. This show is actually fun. In fact, while it’s never laugh-out-loud hilarious, it is consistently amusing to the point you are on the verge of laughing. The light touch even among serious happenings is why I compare it to Stranger Things.
Consequently, and perhaps surprisingly, The Umbrella Academy is just as much about its characters as it is about the unavoidable apocalypse. Every single member of the Academy is given a backstory and a concrete personality that is easy to love. The show randomly slips in and out of characters’ pasts, which makes it unpredictable and captivating. Furthermore, every aside, every detour, contributes to the overall story line. This is a tight plot with well-developed characters.
I adore the fact that they took the execution of this show so seriously because they easily could have shortchanged the plot and allowed the visuals to take center stage. Because, wow, this show looks amazing. The production quality is out of this world. I felt like I’d actually entered another world. For example, Pogo, the gentleman primate, seems to be just as solid as the actual human beings in the scenes with him. Astounding. The special effects are Netflix-money good.
Speaking of production quality, some Netflix shows have had a bit of trouble with pacing. I’m specifically talking about the Marvel programs and even the recent seasons of Orange Is the New Black. Granted, we’re only in The Umbrella Academy’s first season, but the pace never let up. This show knows it’s competing with your cell phone, and it dares you to look away.
Even amidst the crazy action, the huge explosions, the wonky time travel, and the intense fight scenes, I liked this show best because I loved the characters. In their own unique way, each and every one of them is charming with a great deal of charisma. I challenge you to pick one overall favorite. For me, it changed from episode to episode.
So what are you waiting for? Get enrolled in The Umbrella Academy tonight!
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s Dr. Nekros e-book series HERE)