Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” is a New Way to Look at Superheroes


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

by Evanna Momtaj, Reporter

Netflix’s latest series “The Umbrella Academy” made waves on social media following its release Feb. 15. I didn’t know what to expect when I started watching the show, but I certainly did not expect to finish watching all of season one in a day. “The Umbrella Academy” has many different factors that cause it to not only deviate from the standard superhero show but to also cause viewers to tune in for several hours.

The ‘first episode starts’ off with some backstory, so audiences do not get confused with the premise of the show. The first couple of scenes explain to the audience how on one day 43 random women gave birth, this would not be unusual if for the fact that these women were not pregnant when they had begun the day. Eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreaves is able to adopt seven of these children who also happen to be the main characters in the show, and each character gets their own storyline. Each episode is fairly long, spanning about 55 minutes, but I think it was needed for the story of the show to be properly told. One of my pet peeves in television is when characters on a show are merely placed as fillers and are given almost no storyline. “The Umbrella Academy” strays from this, and that’s why this show is so good. Another reason why I liked “The Umbrella Academy” so much was that it deviated from “The Marvel formula.” Most superhero movies set in the Marvel universe honestly start to all sound the same. “The Umbrella Academy” differs from this with its complex and original storylines.

The cinematography of “The Umbrella Academy” is also what makes this series so enticing. Based on the graphic novel by Gerard Way, the show is able to create a graphic novel feel with its use of out-of-this-world fighting and superpower scenes. There is a scene where all of the siblings stop a bank robbery, and the action-packed camera work combined with the special effects of this scene made the show even more beautiful. Even though this show is based on a graphic novel, the scenes of this show do not feel too much like a cartoon. Characters’ emotions are not exaggerated, and the settings of the scene mimic something you would find in real life versus what you would find in a graphic novel. Dim lighting and rustic locations effectively set the desolate mood depicted throughout the show, and the cold atmosphere of the actual Umbrella Academy, the childhood home for the leads, makes you feel how lonely their childhood was through the television screen.

Finally, what really makes this show amazing is its cast and how they can so greatly portray their characters — from Ellen Page who seemed as though she was an actual outcast to Jordan Claire Robbins, who played the robot mom on the show so well I still get creeped out when I see clips of her as a normal person. The show’s break-out role comes in the form of 15-year-old Aidan Gallagher. Gallagher portrays number five on the show, whose powers of time travel trapped him in the future for 55 years, but when he travels back to his father’s funeral he’s back into his teenage body — a very big contrast to Gallagher’s previous role on Nickelodeon’s “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn.” On screen, Gallagher played the role so well he grew to be my favorite character on the show. I even watched this video he posted on his YouTube channel and seeing him as a regular 15-year-old boy instead of a time traveler really confused me.

This show was amazing to watch and I’m honestly disappointed I finished it so quickly. If you’re deciding whether or not you should watch it, I say that if you’re in for a journey that will certainly change the way you perceive superhero shows, then you should definitely get comfortable with some popcorn, keep the remote close-by for when Netflix asks if you’re still watching, and sit down and watch this show.