Review: The Umbrella Academy


The Umbrella Academy has a successful first season. It debuted on Netflix in mid-February.

Maisie Westerfield

The Umbrella Academy is an exciting, fresh take on the life of a superhero and accepting yourself for who you are. The virtually unknown cast gives stellar performances with witty and powerful writing to guide them. With a surprising plot and fantastic music choices, The Umbrella Academy will certainly be one of Netflix’s best originals of the year.

For the average Netflix-watcher, The Umbrella Academy looks from the outside like a geeky superhero show with weird monkey characters (Seriously?). But, fans of Gerard Way felt otherwise. Way and Gabriel Ba originally released a comic book of the same name in 2007, during the height of Way’s popularity from his band My Chemical Romance. The comic was successful, but not acclaimed. Now, Netflix has taken the dark, quirky cartoon and turned it into a relatable, realistic and dramatic show.
Here’s a summary: Seven children with extraordinary powers are adopted by a billionaire to raise. Their childhood is unusual, as they are subjected to training and fighting evil at a young age. With their adopted father, they are raised by a robot mother and tutored by a wise talking monkey (Seriously.). When their father dies years later, the adult members of the Umbrella Academy are pulled back together to solve the mystery of his death.

Sounds kinda awesome, right?

Of course, there are the usual components that make a show great. Each main character, even the villains, are nuanced and complex. Casting actors with enough experience to know what they’re doing, but not well-known enough to have built up a reputation, was genius. Ellen Page is a perfect emotional mess, Robert Sheehan is hilarious and sympathetic drug addict and Aidan Gallagher stands up to an otherwise adult cast as a 58-year-old stuck in a preteen’s body. Not to mention, the editing and score fit in place with each moment. I was in emotional turmoil the whole season, and I loved it.

The aspect that was perhaps the most refreshing was that The Umbrella Academy is unlike its contemporaries. Shows like Riverdale or The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are funnels for current events and issues, which is admirable, but gets cheesy, fast. The Umbrella Academy is relevant and relatable in a very tasteful way. I absolutely can’t wait for the next season.