‘Umbrella Academy’: the rainy day of Netflix Originals

Reviews

Netflix’s attempt to create an original show based on a cast of superheroes was a mess, to say the least. “The Umbrella Academy,” a 10-episode TV show, was released on Netflix Feb. 15, 2019. The show is based on the comic book series titled “The Umbrella Academy” written by Gerard Way. It follows the lives of seven children with superpowers they acquired at birth. On Oct. 1, 1989, 43 babies were born to random women around the world who were not pregnant the day before.

After being born, seven of them were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who created the Umbrella Academy and trains “his children” to save the world. The Umbrella Academy is essentially made up of those children who each have their own superpower (super strength, the ability to talk to the dead, etc.) and combined, create a team of crime-fighting kids.

The TV show revolves around the seventh child, Vanya Hargreeves (aka “Seven”), who from a young age was convinced she had no superpowers like her siblings. As the child who was always left out, she grew hatred for her family but she has had no outlet to release her anger. That is until she meets Leonard Peabody (SPOILER ALERT!!!) who is also known as Harold Jenkins and is introduced as Vanya’s love interest.

Leonard/Harold becomes the antagonist and leads Vanya to realize that (SPOILER ALERT!!!) she already had powers but they had to remain dormant as her powers were too strong and could cause the end of the world if they were unleashed (hint, hint — it does cause the end of the world!).

Along with this main plotline, there are many other side stories like that of Five, who is another member of the Umbrella Academy. He had been missing for 16 years and shows up during the first episode claiming he went to the future and knows when the world will end, which sets up the plot for the season.

There are many other side stories, which is why I think this show is a mess. The first couple of episodes are confusing due to the divergent plotlines, and it’s really hard to keep watching. I think those episodes are the most important because if they aren’t good enough, the viewers aren’t going to finish the show. “The Umbrella Academy” fails at providing an entertaining beginning that helps keep viewers engaged.

The first few episodes are also, frankly, boring, and not as action packed as they could be. They center mostly around the character’s emotions – which is obviously good for character development and such – but is it too much to ask for a better back story and better scenes? We don’t get a clear picture of what is happening until halfway through the series when the different plots come together, and by then I had to force myself to finish watching it.

However, the culmination of the whole show was definitely not worth the ending. The ending was very obscure as it left off on a cliffhanger, which was more confusing than enticing. If someone had read the comics before watching the show, it might have made a little more sense, but to the general audience that Netflix has, it is not apparent what happens next.

Conclusively, I would not recommend this show to anyone as it did not turn out to be as good as Netflix advertised. Netflix usually puts out great original series, but they fell short when making “The Umbrella Academy.”