Is it too early in the year to claim that you’ve already found the best new show of the year? Probably but I am going to stick to it because I am high-key obsessed with The Umbrella Academy on Netflix.
Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers so if you haven’t watched this yet proceed with caution!
What’s The Umbrella Academy about?
On the 12th hour of the first day of October 1989, 43 infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who creates the Umbrella Academy and prepares his “children” to save the world. In their teenage years, though, the family fractures and the team disbands. Fast forward to the present time, when the six surviving members of the clan reunite upon the news of Hargreeves’ passing. They work together to solve a mystery surrounding their father’s death, but divergent personalities and abilities again pull the estranged family apart, and a global apocalypse is another imminent threat.
But why are you so in love with it?
Everything about this show is just so damn good! The writing is excellent and the story is great to watch unfold. I haven’t read the comic books but from the grumblings on the Twitters it seems that there are a lot of changes that the comic fans aren’t happy with.
According to my husband who has read the comics: Luther is not as annoying and more of a proper leader. Klaus’ powers are way more advanced than in the series (but I think they are getting to this in the series – having him come into his powers as he sobers up). Vanya’s ENTIRE storyline is different.
Here’s the thing – I don’t care. Watching it with a clean slate and not having any background knowledge on this story, I was not confused or lost but I actually really enjoyed every minute of it.
When you translate a story from one medium to another, things need to be changed for a number of reasons. A lot of the time storylines suffer like with the Harry Potter movies. My husband had never read the books so half the time he was asking me what was going on and why this was important and generally just wtf is going on?
But with The Umbrella Academy I never felt that way. It’s also shot and edited so fantastically and all the subplots that are seemingly happening on their own unfold and come together seamlessly.
There are a few plot points that are somewhat confusing though. The kids were born in 1989 and Five disappeared when he was 13 (in 2002). According to Pogo he has been gone for “16 years, 4 months and 4 days” which would mean this is taking place in 2018. If that is the case, WHY THE HECK DOES NOBODY HAVE CELLPHONES?! Do you know how much drama could have been avoided if they could communicate better with each other?
If Detective Patch had just called or texted Diego instead of leaving him a message, she would have still been alive. How many of us have not Google stalked a person upon meeting them? Allison could’ve gotten the 411 on Leonardd Peabody a lot faster. It seems silly to have something based in 2018 with 90s technology. Set it in the 90s then? Anyway, that’s a small rant I think – because I have to employ an “if they just did this then that wouldn’t have happened” attitude then we wouldn’t have the story we have today.
Another thing that I absolutely LOVE is the soundtrack. My top two favourite scenes were the siblings dance montage to Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now and Five’s fight scene at Griddy’s Donut’s to Istanbul by They Might Giants.
The casting for this show is so damn spot on. So let’s get a little more into each of the Hargreeves siblings.
Number 1 – Luther
I’m not going to lie, Luther is not my favourite sibling. Tom Hopper plays him really well but the character himself frustrates me. Luther’s power is super strength and with the additional changes his father made to him makes him even more so. Luther is obsessed with being the leader and
if he wasn’t so insistent on making unilateral decisions and he just listened to Klaus, Diego and Allison in that moment that whole situation with Vanya could’ve been avoided. It’s so frustrating.
Number 2 – Diego
Diego Hargreeves is like my mommy likes to say my outjie. He’s a tough cookie – hard on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Man has some anger issues and a whole bunch of resentment towards his father (understandable) and his sister Vanya (somewhat understandable but also not?). Diego can manipulate the way things move and his weapon of choice is throwing knives. He has a bit of a vigilante thing going on – the only Hargreeves sibling still in the crime fighting business.
Number 3 – Allison
Allison is otherwise known as The Rumour can make people do things by suggesting it to them. It’s suggested that Allison became a famous movie star by using her powers. All Allison wants to do after the death of their father, is be a better sister to Vanya when she realises just how crap they’ve treated her over the years. She fights the hardest to get Vanya out of the room Luther locked her in and is immediately suspicious of Leonard Peabody.
Also I don’t know what her ex-husband’s problem is because would love to have that power when my kids are being the worst at bedtime.
Number 4 – Klaus
Klaus, oh Klaus. Everybody’s fave. Klaus can see dead people and so he medicates to keep them at bay. But Klaus is also the only sibling who can still see and talk to their dead brother Ben. Klaus is just pure and wonderful chaos. He’s all over the place but certainly the most lovable. Klaus’ siblings don’t take him seriously but once he sobers up and puts some effort into his powers, he shows his family just how useful he really is.
Number 5 – Five
Ah Five, my other fave. This role was so well cast. Five is literally a grumpy old man stuck in a kid’s body and so is Aiden Gallagher. Man is an activist and a UN Ambassador and he is only 15. My word!
Five can jump both spatially as well as temporally but then mans didn’t listen to his father and got stuck in the future which whoops! turned out to be an apocalypse. He’s also a former Time Assassin so he’s rather deadly for someone with the body of a 13-year-old.
Five manages to get back to his family with 8 days left to figure out how to stop the end of the world. But instead of relying on his family, he goes off on his own mission and it’s only when he does bring them in, do things go better.
Number 6 – Ben
Ben is dead but still plays an important role especially when it comes to helping Klaus be his best self and voice of reason. Ben’s power is that he has giant tentacles that burst out of his chest and he’s never been quite comfortable with it. We don’t know how he died but it likely was not suicide from the way he talks about it with Klaus.
Number 7 – Vanya
Vanya is the seemingly ordinary one. The one sibling who doesn’t have any powers. Or so everyone thought. Because her father suppressed her powers and did everything he could to convince her that she was not special, it affected her mental health, self-image and self-confidence. Having been excluded and pushed away all her life, for some reason she decided to make her life worse by writing a tell all book about growing up ordinary with super powered siblings. This did not go down well as expected.
But Vanya’s general demeanour and sad sack attitude is understandable when you see what her childhood was like and what was done to her but I would’ve liked her to have more backbone. It is great to see Vanya’s subtle changes over the 10 episodes but I think she has so much that unresolved baggage from her childhood that it was easy for Leonard to come in and manipulate her. It’s also the reason she trusts a complete stranger rather than her sister who has some valid reservations. Vanya is very naive and obviously craves being wanted so of course she’s going to gravitate to that person rather than a sibling who has ignored her for most of her life.
Urgh! I just love this show so much, I’ve watched it twice and every time I come across somebody watching it, I’ll plop down and watch it again because I want more!
The Umbrella Academy is now streaming on Netflix.