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The Umbrella Academy

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The Umbrella Academy
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Super. Dysfunctional. Family.
Genre: Action
Black comedy
Drama
Science fiction
Superhero
Fantasy
Running Time: 40–60 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: February 15, 2019 – present
Network(s): Netflix
Created by: Steve Blackman
Distributed by: NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Netflix
Starring: Elliot Page
Tom Hopper
David Castañeda
Emmy Raver-Lampman
Robert Sheehan
Aidan Gallagher
Mary J. Blige
Cameron Britton
John Magaro
Adam Godley
Colm Feore
Justin H. Min
Ritu Arya
Yusuf Gatewood
Marin Ireland
Kate Walsh
Seasons: 3
Episodes: 30


The Umbrella Academy is an American superhero streaming television series based on the comic book series of the same name written by Gerard Way. Created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater, it revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father's death and the threat of an impending apocalypse.

In August 2022, the series was renewed for a fourth and final season.

Premise

The Umbrella Academy is set in a universe where 43 women around the world give birth simultaneously on October 1, 1989, despite none of them showing any sign of pregnancy until labor began. Seven of the children are adopted by eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves and turned into a superhero team that he calls "The Umbrella Academy." Hargreeves gives the children numbers rather than names, but they eventually are named by their robot-mother, Grace, as Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five, Ben, and Vanya. While putting six of his children to work fighting crime, Reginald keeps Vanya apart from her siblings' activities, as she supposedly demonstrates no powers of her own.

The first season is set in the present day, where Luther is part ape and has lived on the moon for four years, Allison is a famous actress, Vanya is a violinist, Klaus has a drug addiction, Ben, now deceased, is a ghost able to converse only with Klaus, and Diego has become a vigilante with a penchant for trouble. The estranged siblings learn that Reginald has died and gather for his funeral. Five returns from the future, chased by time-travelling operatives, and reveals that a global apocalypse is imminent. Meanwhile, the reunited siblings try to uncover the secret of their dysfunctional family while beginning to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities.

The second season takes place immediately after the first season. Following their failure to stop the apocalypse, the Umbrella Academy is forced to go back in time, to save the world. Unfortunately the time travel goes awry as the siblings end up different years in 1960s Dallas. Five ends up on November 25, 1963, in the middle of a nuclear doomsday, but manages to escape with the help of Hazel. Five discovers that another apocalypse is coming and that he only has ten days to prevent it. While being hunted by a trio of Swedish assassins, Five must find and reunite his siblings who have made new lives following their arrival, in order to stop this new apocalypse.

Why it Rocks

  1. A fantastic and brilliantly conceived look into a highly dysfunctional and wonderfully funny family of superhuman
  2. It is very faithful to the comic book series it’s based on.
  3. The team’s pansexual, drug-addicted, stylishly unkempt mascot Klaus Hargreeves, memorably portrayed by Robert Sheehan.
  4. The plot is rich with suspense, drama, action, sci-fi and even a good dash of horror, and no element feels half-baked:
  5. Although most of the characters was splendid realistic.
  6. Great cast, great cinematography, well written, not rushed. Enough said.
  7. The show was pure fun and is the kind of off-beat comic book show.
  8. The soundtrack in delightfully eerie.
  9. Awesome special effects, especially in the first season finale, and the first episode of Season 2.

Bad Qualities

  1. Season 2 falls into the common trap of only highlighting the bad aspects of a past decade (in this case, the 1960s), without bothering to mention ways in which the decade might be considered better than the present day.
  2. Viktor's being suddenly revealed as bisexual in Season 2 feels forced, and his transition in season 3 just suddenly appeared in the second episode as a strangely soon decision and without proper foreshadowing, as people may take weeks or even a few years to explore their gender identity, especially considering that the character (Vanya) was completely heterosexual in the comics. He also no longer shows interest in playing the violin without a developed reason.
    • When Elliot Page transitioned, so did his character.

Reception

Critical reception
Season 1

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 75% of 88 critic reviews are positive for the first season, with an average rating of 7.2/10. Critics' consensus on the website reads, "The Umbrella Academy unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble, but the series' dour sensibility often clashes with its splashy genre trappings." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 61 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Merrill Barr from Forbes praised the series, and wrote, "If you're looking for a pulpy show with lots of action, melodramatic plotting and eccentric characters then The Umbrella Academy is your ticket." Lorraine Ali from Los Angeles Times in a positive review wrote, "The Umbrella Academy stands out among the countless other superhero series splashed across billboards and your viewing queues." Catherine Gee from the Daily Telegraph give the series a positive response and commented, "If it does return for a second run, it would be nice to see some more genuinely fresh ideas - without the over-reliance on tried, tested and tired tropes from years past." Adam Graham from The Detroit News commented the series is a worth enrollment, praising the series for its themes about a dysfunctional family and the characters. Kambole Campbell from Little White Lies considered the series as something to enjoy with a plenty surprises for the one who haven’t read the comics, and praised the way that the series interpreted the abusive parental childhood relationship and how at the end this affect the children in their adulthood.

In a more negative way, Kelly Lawler from the USA Today commented, "The series reeks of undeveloped potential. It looks beautiful and has an incredible cast, yet often drags. After a solid first episode, the plot is excruciatingly slow, pausing in all the wrong places." Alan Sepinwall from the Rolling Stone wrote, "Umbrella Academy suggests a musical trapped in the body of one of Netflix's more tedious Marvel Comics vigilante dramas... It's a particularly egregious "four episodes worth of plot in a 10-episode bag" offender."

Season 2

For the second season, Rotten Tomatoes identified 90% of 83 reviews as positive, with an average rating of 7.84/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Proof that time can heal almost all wounds, The Umbrella Academy's exhilarating second season lightens its tonal load without losing its emotional core, giving the super siblings room to grow while doubling down on the time traveling fun." The season garnered a weighted average score of 67 out of 100 from 12 critics on Metacritic, signifying "generally favorable reviews".

Scott Bryan from BBC commented " The less you think about the plot, the more you enjoy the ride, and the funnier and more interesting it is too." Caroline Siede from The A.V. Club in a positive review wrote "This season two premiere delivers a stronger, better version of The Umbrella Academy-one that finally starts to pay off the promise of the series." Laura Prudom of IGN praised the series for it's action sequences, soundtrack, and the themes about family, and considered it an improvement of the previous season. Caroline Siede from the AV Club considered that it was better than the previous season as they finally begin to pay the promise that they made.

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