I know, I know, another superhero show. Trust me, I’m starting to feel the superhero fatigue. However, watching The Umbrella Academy, which is surprisingly not owned by comic giants DC or Marvel, didn’t present us with the standard do-gooder saves the day, or gifted person reluctantly saves the day archetypes that have flooded movie and TV screens over the past decade.
The Umbrella Academy follows a family of adopted children as they return home for their father’s funeral. At first glance that sounds fairly normal. Until you learn that they were adopted by an eccentric monocle-wearing billionaire for sharing the same birthday and that as children they were trained to be superheroes. As adults the the Umbrella Academy alums, who were only given numbers by their adopted father until they were named by their robot mother later in life, weren’t too broken up over the sudden death of their clinically distant father. The members of the Umbrella Academy and their other sister who doesn’t have powers provide a real take on how people move on from their lives as gifted children and living in the shadows of talented siblings.
That is until their missing brother, Number Five (who is the only one that doesn’t have a non-numeric name), reappears after being lost in time for over a decade. And from there things start to get a little bananas.
Of course, the characters are heroes, even if most of them are in retirement so there is a save the world plot, but it tends to take a back burner to the series other subplots.
The series, which easily could have fallen into too many typical superhero tropes, grabs the audience’s attention because it doesn’t focus on the character’s abilities but the repercussions of their childhood glory days. The cast does a phenomenal job of playing out their roles as the traumatized adults, with Ellen Page as Vanya/Number Seven digging deep to play the outcast sibling.
The Umbrella Academy has one season available on Netflix. Viewers might also enjoy Sense 8, a Netflix series about a group of strangers who share a telepathic connection across the globe.