Arts

‘The Umbrella Academy’ an impressive, quirky adaptation

An adaptation of a comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics, "The Umbrella Academy" features an ensemble cast led by Oscar nominee Ellen Page (bottom left). Image By: Courtesy of Netflix

Proving that it is still a dominant force in the television landscape, Netflix continues a strong 2019 lineup with “The Umbrella Academy," a comic book-style show that is not your average adaptation.

When 43 women inexplicably birth 43 children on the same day — without having been pregnant the day before, for that matter — eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves seeks to adopt as many of them as he possibly can. 

When six of the children he takes in manifest superpowers, Hargreeves starts the superhero crime fighting team known as the Umbrella Academy. Now grown up, the disjointed family comes back together to solve the mystery behind an impending apocalypse.

Admittedly, the show has some faults that quickly stand out. While the mystery of the apocalypse is one of its primary selling points, many of the show’s biggest mysteries are immediately obvious and predictable. While this is not a major fault, it certainly does not help the show’s case when it is building up to a reveal the audience has already figured out.

Genres collide with "The Umbrella Academy," which effectively mixes comedy, drama, and other worldliness into one wildly entertaining show.

Another of the show’s problems arises when it delves into time travel. As is an issue with many movies and shows that choose to depict time travel, the show has many plot holes that it chooses to ignore. Much like the show’s predictability, this is not a significant problem, but it certainly stands out.

With the show’s issues out of the way, I need to take time to say just how engaging and enjoyable this series manages to be.

It is rare that I find a show that keeps me as consistently engaged as “The Umbrella Academy." It can be predictable at times, but it ultimately still manages to build an air of intrigue that draws viewers in and does not let go.

The characters are some of the most likable and interesting people I have seen on television in recent memory. Each of them manage to be distinctive in their own right and develop in realistic, enjoyable ways as the season progresses. They are all flawed in their own unique ways and are made all the better for it. Audiences come to care for each of them, and I personally cannot wait to see where the story takes them.

The quirkiness that runs through the show’s veins also comes to make it stand out among others of its kind. Few manage to demonstrate the combination of heart, humor, drama and weirdness that “The Umbrella Academy” prides itself on. This makes the show different from any other, serving as another reason for viewers to keep coming back.

One final detail that is worth mentioning is the show’s overall production quality. The series is shot beautifully, with an excellent combination of visuals and cinematography. Though such details will go overlooked by many, they are truly well done and are worthy of praise.

The show may have its faults, but ultimately “The Umbrella Academy” presents too many positive traits to be held down by its deficiencies. The series is one of the most likable that Netflix currently offers, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Final Grade: B+


Joseph Marz is a TV columnist for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here. 

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