THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, from creator Jeremy Slater (TV’s The Exorcist), based on the original comic series from Gerard Way of “My Chemical Romance” centers around a group of troublesome superheroes who reunite after the death of their adoptive father. The show stars Ellen Page (Juno), Robert Sheehan (Geostorm), Tom Hopper (Black Sails), David Castañeda (Sicario: Day of the Soldado), Aidan Gallagher (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Drawn), and Emmy Raver-Lampman (A Million Little Things).
On the same day in 1989, forty-three infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire industrialist, who creates The Umbrella Academy and prepares his “children” to save the world. But not everything went according to plan. In their teenage years, the family fractured and the team disbanded. Now, the six surviving thirty-something members reunite upon the news of Hargreeve’s passing. Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Vanya and Number Five work together to solve a mystery surrounding their father’s death. But the estranged family once again begins to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities, not to mention the imminent threat of a global apocalypse.
Last night, I had the immense pleasure of attending the World Premiere of Netflix’s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY at The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, CA. Prior to this event, I knew very little about what THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY was outside of hearing some of my friends discussing their excitement towards it. Regardless, I was excited to be checking out the show especially since the hype surrounding it had been growing rapidly these last few weeks. Entertainment has been inundated with superheroes, whether through film or television and though I think the market is becoming a bit over-saturated, I still found that I have a soft spot for those superheroes that would fall under the category of “anti-hero”. This is exactly what I was hoping THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY would be and luckily, I wasn’t too far off.
Those of us in attendance had the opportunity to experience the first two episodes in the series. For those who are expecting non-stop action from the get-go, I’m sorry to disappoint, but these two episodes are not going to give you that instant gratification. Instead, these early episodes are carefully crafted so as to give you an idea of each character and their background, as well as a look into their family dynamics and the tension that has been brewing between all of them for decades. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of action and/or bloodshed, there most definitely are, but they are few and far between, at least in the beginning. Even though the show goes at a slow pace, there was enough mystery and intrigue to keep me glued to my seat in hopes of catching a glimpse of whatever secrets laid just out of sight.
What really brings this show together is the portrayal of each character and how they work either against or in tandem with one another. My favorite character, thus far, is easily Klaus (played by Robert Sheehan), who has a penchant for drug use and the flamboyant, but once it’s revealed as to why he’s so drawn to destruction it kind of makes sense. That’s what’s so great about these characters, they each possess a trait that’s easy to relate too regardless of the fact that they also have superhuman abilities. The only one that doesn’t seem to have anything “special” about them is Vanya (played by Ellen Page). Now, I’m not sure if this a red herring and it’s going to be revealed later that she has a much larger role in the family than we were led to believe or if she’s just truly ordinary. I can only assume time will tell the further we get into the series. Most importantly, what this show does is it shows inclusion in regards to gender, race, and sexual preferences, something that not many shows are willing to do.
All in all, I can definitely say my interest has been piqued and I’m looking forward to continuing the series once it airs on Netflix. I am really fascinated by the characters and the secrets they harbor, as well as finding out more about their mysterious adopted father (played by Colm Feore) and the truth surrounding his death. Furthermore, the topic of the apocalypse is what I believe the main focal point of the show will be. Now, this could be a figment of Number Five’s (played by Aidan Gallagher) imaginations through his excessive use of time traveling, or it could Number Five’s vision could be grounded in reality. My feeling is that the apocalypse is coming and that it’s up to these select few within The Umbrella Academy to stop it. With that said, there’s a lot to prepare for in the upcoming 8 episodes and if my gut is correct, I think we are going to see some otherworldly creatures, supernatural occurrences, vicious killers, and loyalties tested, and I for one am excited for that. Make sure not to miss out on THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY when it’s available to stream on Netflix Feb. 15, 2019.