fantasy

[Netflix Review] The Umbrella Academy Season 1 (2019) ★★★★★

Vanya, Allison, Klaus, Diego and Luther in The Umbrella Academy season 1

The Umbrella Academy is a fresh and unique take on superheroes, with an amazing style. 


The Umbrella Academy is a fantasy superhero series with a unique atmosphere, style and voice. It has beautiful cinematography, outstanding music, amazing set design and art decoration and wonderful and powerful storytelling. 

It’s about an unconventional and dysfunctional family with superpowers, their personal issues with each other and themselves. It has a mystery and the pending Apocalypse, strange characters, assassins, romance, humor and absurd situations, time travel, action and much more.

It’s packed with organized chaos, it’s fast, modern, fresh and unique but takes its time to tell the story in a refined way with the focus on the characters and their motivations which is all balanced out perfectly and results in an amazing story.

This first season consists of 10 episodes with each a duration of 45-60 minutes. It has a continuing storyline with the big story arc about the Apocalypse that the family has to prevent from happening while they are dealing with their own problems of the past.


Plot

In 1989 at 12 pm 43 children are born to women who weren’t pregnant that morning. A wealthy business man Reginald Hargreeves tracks down these children and adopts 7 of them. Each child has a special gift, a superpower and he trains them at his Umbrella Academy to be heroes and to prevent a pending Apocalypse. 

Luther, number 1 (Spaceboy) has an enormous strength and is a very big man and the leader of the group. Diego, number 2 (The Kraken) can throw and hit everything. Allison, number 3 (The Rumor) can whisper thoughts in one’s mind and make them do whatever she wants. Klaus, number 4 (The Seance) can see and communicate with the dead. Number 5 (The Boy) can space and time travel and is lost for about 16 years when he was 13. Ben, number 6 (The Horror) has died at a young age and could let Lovecraftian monsters emerge out of his body. But Klaus can see him and talk to him. Vanya, number 7 (The White Violin) is the only one who hasn’t got any powers. Or does she?

In the present time the children, now adults, haven’t seen each other for over twelve years but are returning home to bury the recently deceased Reginald. But when they find out he has been murdered, they are bound to find his killer. 

When Number Five shows up jumping out of a time portal, still at age 13, he has some more devastating news, the Apocalypse will happen in 8 days! They must find out who or what will cause the event. But that’s not the only problem, two assassins, Cha-Cha and Hazel are after Number Five and all the children have some unfinished business and issues with each other and their past they have to solve in order to work together. 


Why you should watch it

This series is an absolute joy to watch. It looks stunning and amazing. The storytelling is gripping, emotionally charged, epic, full of mystery, surprises and a lot of time travel. It’s unconventional, fresh and unique. It takes place in an alternate present which is subtly implemented in the appearances of devices, cars, zeppelins and so on, to create a classical and yet modern vibe. Different time periods are mixed like a 50’s diner, and there are no cellphones. It’s very detailed and is followed through in every scene which gives it a rich feel. 

The way the story unfolds is fast paced and full of action but also with a lot of humor and music. The music plays a very important role and defines the characters, their emotions, it accompanies the action in a most original way and makes everything that happens and everyone unforgettable. There are a lot of different music styles from different time periods and it’s an enrichment to the series. 

Each character is very fleshed out and the cinematography, atmosphere and music is adjusted to that specific person or situation. While the story is all about the Apocalypse, the series is all about the characters. Things have happened in the past, things that are hurtful or even can lead to terrible acts. They each struggle with traumas, flaws or their own demons. They have to make amends with each other and themselves. This story arc and the characters are so well-crafted and it ultimately is all about the difficulty of being a family. Through means of flashbacks we get to learn more about how they grew up and their upbringing defines them in many different ways, from loving to hurtful and traumatic, and also explains what is happening now and why. 

The series is very rich. The characters, the environment, the events, other mysterious characters, secret organizations and of course the mystery of the Apocalypse and how to stop it, all blend together in a fantastical mix. So much is going on, but everything is explained and easy to follow, even the time travel and time switching.

It’s an absolute joy to watch. It’s a feast for the eyes and mind and the epic feel is outstanding. 


My favorite part

That’s easy. Everything. It’s the whole package from character development, to the humor and action, the way it is all created from set design to the storyline. The music is an absolute asset to the series and makes it all the more wonderful. 

Each member of the family is lovable but I personally liked Klaus because he is the most complex character. But I also liked Number Five who is a grown man in a child’s body which is very amusing and absurd and awkward, especially Dolores is very weird but sweet in a disturbing way. He is the most important character for pushing the story forwards. 

Hazel is an odd assassin who finds love with Agnes an older diner waitress. It’s so unconventional and fresh and although the story is fantastical, it’s very realistic and believable, due to the amazing characters. O, did I mention time travel, loved it of course. Well it’s a series that has it all. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Epic factor: ★★★★★

Drama factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Cast and crew

The Umbrella Academy is based on the graphic novels of the same name written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. The series is created by Jeremy Slater. It stars Ellen Page (Vanya), Tom Hopper (Luther), David Castañeda (Diego), Robert Sheehan (Klaus), Emmy Raver-Lampman (Allison), Aidan Gallagher (Number Five), Justin H. Min (Ben), Mary J. Blige (Cha-Cha), Cameron Britton (Hazel), John Magaro (Leonard Peabody), Adam Godley (Pogo), Colm Feore (Sir Reginald Hargreeve), Jordan Claire Robbins (Grace), Sheila McCarthy (Agnes) and Kate Walsh (The Handler).

Music: Jeff Russo. Cinematography: Neville Kidd, Craig Wrobleski. Production company: Dark Horse Entertainment, Universal Cable Productions. Original network: Netflix.


Check the trailer below