Umbrella Academy season one (blu-ray TV series review).

December 4, 2021 | By | Reply More

Bear in mind I haven’t read the original Dark Horse comicbook series of ‘Umbrella Academy’, so I’m building up a picture from the first episode which jumps around a lot. 54 spontaneous instant pregnancies and births and a billionaire called Hargreaves succeeds in buying 7 of the babies.

Considering they nearly all grow up with super-powers, you do have to wonder what happened to the other 47? Considering one of them is later able to travel through time as well as space, you would have to ponder on whether those pregnant women were transported in time and back at a guess.

Reginald Hargreaves (actor Colin Feore) was hardly a nice person and you don’t really feel much warmth for the kids or them as adults. Number 7, Vanya (actress Elliot Page), is considered ordinary but considering she doesn’t appear to grow out of her teens, although you do see later she’s just short. A little research reveals that her actress, Eliott Page, is also very short.

Number 5 (actor Aidan Gallagher) comes back from the future, just in time for the eulogy after Hargreaves death and although 58 is still encased in his 13 year-old body. We see them in their teens acting as super-heroes although they demonstrate ruthlessness and years down the line, people know who they are.

Now how much to say? Much of the plot revolves around Number 5 having lived in the future after the apocalypse and comes back with three days to spare to sort it out. There are two assassins from the same organisation he worked for, Hazel (actor Cameron Britton) and Cha-Cha (actress Mary J. Blige) after him and a massive shoot-out at the academy before other things begin to untangle The other members of the team are Number 1, Luthor (actor Tom Hopper) with a gorilla-size body, Allison (actress Emmy Raver-Lampman) who can persuade people to do things, a knife-thrower in Diego (actor David Castaňeda) and Klaus (actor Robert Sheehan), who can communicate with the dead, including their lost colleague Ben (actor Justin H. Min).

Over the ten stories we get to some of their childhood adventures as well as meeting their robot mother Grace (actress Jordan Claire Robbins) and advanced speaking chimpanzee, Pogo (voiced by Adam Godley). Oddly, Pogo’s origin isn’t actually covered. You only learn why they were called the Umbrella Academy in the final episode. The key to all of this is Vanya, who also in the final episode has a Carrie moment.

A real problem is when you play with time, anything can be opened up or reversed. More so when you have a Times Commission trying to keep time on track with various people deciding who to get rid of to ensure the timelines are kept perfect. Of course, that also means time can get rewritten with drastic effect. Anyone with SF knowledge is going to question how much can be undone.

I watched this series without knowing anything about the Umbrella Academy but that’s likely to be true of people picking it up channel surfing. Undoubtedly, you can’t miss the fact that it has elements of the X-Men and Doom Patrol. Certainly the latter as they don’t get on that well. The thing is, the characters might be watchable, but they aren’t likeable, an important ingredient for any TV series. It also took a while to establish their names in my head but bear in mind I can follow by looks  when I have to. You would have to wonder why school inspectors never looked in on the school and realise there was a lot of child abuse going on.

I suspect the lack of extras is more to do the first season being completed just before lockdown. The actors are first rate although I doubt if I’ll look at the original comicbooks until I’ve seen the second season, simply to avoid spoilers. As I pointed out earlier, all the characters have poor or bad attitude and I was surprised after watching the last episode that I wanted to see what happens next, just to see how it all gets sorted.

GF Willmetts

December 2021

(pub: Universal/Netflix, 2019. 3 blu-ray disks 10 * 58 minute episodes with NO extras other than a set of cards and poster. Price: I pulled my copy for £11.99 (UK). ASIN: 1000801491)

cast: Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castaňeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Colm Feore, Adam Godley, Jordan Claire Robbins, Shelia McCarthy, Cameron Britton and Mary J. Blige

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Category: Superheroes, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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