The Umbrella Academy S1

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Cameron Brodeur, Blake Talabis, Eden Cupid, Dante Albidone, Aidan Gallagher and Ethan Hwang in 'The Umbrella Academy.'
Cameron Brodeur, Blake Talabis, Eden Cupid, Dante Albidone, Aidan Gallagher and Ethan Hwang in 'The Umbrella Academy.'
Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix


The Umbrella Academy




4/5 Stars


A dysfunctional family of superheroes comes together to solve the mystery of their father's death, the threat of the apocalypse and more.


In the time of comics, superheroes and alternative universes it’s easy to be feeling a sense of fatigue of the genre, that’s why The Umbrella Academy has come at a perfect time.

This delightfully odd new Netflix series is a breath of fresh air that will feed your comic craving, quench your superhero thirst and yet still fulfil your secret need for a story that you can relate to.

Based on the far-out comic book series written by Gabriel Ba and My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy follows six superhuman siblings who are reunited after their adoptive father dies. As they come to terms with seeing each other after years apart, they seek the answer to how their father died while facing a global apocalypse.

To all the eye-rollers out there, this really isn’t just another superhero series. From superpowers and time travelling to entertaining dance breaks and humorous comic relief, The Umbrella Academy is a mish-mash of genres that shouldn’t work but do so brilliantly.

Each character is so unique and colourful and pays homage to the original comic with respect and delicacy. But fear not if you haven’t read the comics as it provides enough information and character arcs to make newcomers surpass that FOMO feeling.

Speaking about the crossover between the show, David Castaneda said himself that those who know the story will still be surprised by storylines the young graphic novel allows the show to explore more.

“This is a comic that is so young so, there are a lot of ways to go with it. Comic book fans who will watch the show will relate to it because they’re familiar with the characters, but they will also be surprised by different storylines and how it all meshes together.”

At first glance this show had me scratching my head. Firstly because I was not familiar with the comic book series, but more so because there’s a chimp that talks and robot for a mother and, without giving much more away, so many more strange things at the surface.

But after getting into it, I realised that underneath all the crazy is a deeply emotional show about a dysfunctional family trying to survive everyday obstacles.

There’s the black sheep of the household - a character Ellen Page has brought to life with such vulnerability. A struggling drug addict who can see dead people – which Robert Sheehan does such a convincing job of. A 58-year-old man living in a teenager’s body who can travel through time – acted out masterfully by Aidan Gallagher. An overprotective big brother who happens to have the strength of 1000 men (or more) – someone Tom Hopper will have you rooting for. Another brother who can’t quite accept being the second in charge and has sick knife skills – who David Castañeda portrays in the most sensitive but badass way. And last but not least, the beautiful sister who perhaps is the most powerful of all, by gaining control with the use of a simple rumour – depicted annoyingly good by the stunning Emmy Raver-Lampman.

Another thing worth noting is the immense care and consideration that has been taken to create a soundtrack that brings each and every scene to life so beautifully.

In an interview with Channel24, showrunner and executive producer Steve Blackman stated the importance of music, saying: “I write to music so often so, before I’d write a scene I’d play a song and then write the sequence.

“But music was always going to be a character in the show and we wanted it to be big, so we picked big songs and we tried to do it a little differently, by playing the whole song instead of just 10 seconds.”

Not only do I love this series because I was lucky enough to meet the cast and discuss their characters with them, but also because it is something different, entertaining, emotional and so worth watching.



We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24