In the age of superheroes, Marvel has dominated the genre over the last decade. Netflix’s new hit show, “The Umbrella Academy” has deviated from the classic superhero tale and comic giant, which might be the reason I’m dubbing it a must watch, but don’t worry this review will contain no spoilers.
Best described as dysfunction at its finest, “The Umbrella Academy” is based on the comic book series of the same name by Gerard Way, best known as the lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance. The show starts with a flashback to Oct. 1, 1989, where 43 women around the world give birth, despite none of them showing any sign of pregnancy until labor began. Seven of the children are adopted by billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves and turned into a superhero fighting team.
Hargreeves doesn’t bother to give the children names, simply referring to them as numbers one through seven. Number one has super strength, number two is a knife-wielding badass who has the ability to curve the trajectory of anything he throws, number three has the ability to manipulate reality by saying “I heard a rumor,” number four has the ability to communicate with the dead, number five can jump through space and time, number six possesses monsters from other dimensions under his skin and number seven is just ordinary and the only one of her siblings who does not fight crime. After the death of one sibling, the disappearance of the other, and a lifetime of being ignored by their father, one by one the surviving children leave their home in pursuit of a better life.
The children, now adults, reunite at their childhood home for the funeral of their father where they try to come to terms with their resentment for him, each other and their dysfunctional adult lives. After the funeral they realize their father died under suspicious circumstances and they try to solve the mystery of his death, at first on their own and then as a team, oh and stop the impending apocalypse and avoid being murdered by time hopping assassins. I could try to explain but I promised no spoilers and to be frank I wouldn’t do it justice.
Look, I know what you’re thinking. This show sounds super weird and not at all something you would be interested in, but don’t let its odd premise detract you. While the show is strange in many ways, like how a talking monkey assistant named Pogo is just accepted as normal, it’s also extremely funny, heartwarming, thrilling and just plain entertaining. It’s also a fresh look at superheroes, where the audience sees that just because they have these amazing powers doesn’t mean they are successful, happy or functioning adults — they are screw-ups just like the rest of us and somehow it’s a comforting thought. Add on a killer soundtrack, two dance montages, Mary J. Blige as an assassin and relatable characters, you have a new obsession that will have you googling when the second season will be premiering, trust me.