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Quarantine Catchup: The Umbrella Academy

Kyle is a young writer and lover of entertainment, whether it is film, television, books, or video games.


Season One

Based on the hit graphic novel series created by Gabriel Bá and Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy is a Netflix original show that follows six family members with superpowers that reunite after the death of their father. Unknowingly, their reunion leads them into a much bigger situation than anticipated: figuring out how to prevent the apocalypse.

The premise alone was already intriguing enough for me, as I am a fan of the superhero genre, but what truly sells the show is the characters. Since the first season premiered in 2019, I had heard nothing but positive buzz about the characters of the show, and with the second season having been released just a few months ago and the hype reemerging once again for these characters, I knew that I had to see what it was all about.

Each of the main characters brings a unique and exciting premise to the show, but the standouts for me were Robert Sheehan as Klaus/Number Four, and Aidan Gallagher as Number Five. Klaus had the most unique story of the Hargreeve siblings, dealing with addiction, love, and guilt. While also intersecting with his other siblings and their stories, Klaus constantly had my attention, and Sheehan's performance is magical to watch. In regards to Five, Gallagher is the reason why the character works so well. Five is an older man trapped in the body of a young boy, so Gallagher had a lot of work cut out for him, and he absolutely delivered. It was hard not to watch his performance and think that he was just a kid, as he portrays an older man incredibly well. The other siblings are also all well-casted, but their stories did not intrigue me as much as Klaus and Five, specifically with Luther (played by Tom Hopper) and Vanya (played by Ellen Page). They both deliver solid performances throughout the entire season, but the plots they are given were not all that interesting to me, and I felt like their parts dragged the show on longer than they should have.

I found many of the episodes to be longer than they should have been, with each one ranging from 50 minutes to an hour. The pacing seemed very uneven, especially in the first half. Once it gets to the last few episodes, the show's pace seems to pick up a lot. This complaint was fixed in the second season however, but that will be discussed later.

Overall, the first season was an enjoyable yet long ride. The plot really picked up in the last few episodes of the season, and the ending's setup for the next season was very exciting. Anchored by great performances, season one of The Umbrella Academy was a solid watch, especially for those that enjoy the superhero genre.

Season Two

What a step up in quality. Season two begins where the previous season left off, but viewers are thrown right into the action. After some excellent action choreography and an awesome showcase of powers, the show gets to its main draw, which is what I liked to call the time travel shenanigans. Each of the Hargreeve children are in different pockets of time in the 1960s, and it is an absolute delight to watch Five attempt to find out where in time they all are and reunite them once again. Their goal is a retread of the first season's goal to stop the apocalypse, but this time around it is more silly and fun, while also dealing with important societal issues. The plot had me hooked for every second, and I never felt like the plot slowed down, which contributes to my complaints about the first season.

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As stated earlier, the pacing for the first season seemed to be all over the place, so the writers definitely took those complaints into consideration. The episode length for season two has been shortened, but this was for the better. It allows for more concise and tight storytelling, which never misses a beat. This is also helpful for the plots that each of the characters find themselves involved in, and I enjoyed watching every one, with Klaus and Five once again being the standout characters. The performances are all stellar once again, and I found myself excited to see where every character went, even the ones that I did not enjoy as much in the previous season.

Another positive of this season is that the music choices were all fantastic. The first season had great music too, but season two's felt more exciting and memorable, with my favorite song being the Swedish cover of "Hello" by Adele. Each song felt like it had a purpose and good reason for its placement in the scene.

Overall, I loved season two. It was a great improvement over the already solid first season, and it fixed many of the issues that I had. The trimmed down episodes provided a more cohesive and exciting story, and the character work was all very well done. This season solidified me as a fan of the show, and makes me want to watch it over again.


Final Thoughts

The Umbrella Academy was a joy to watch from start to finish. While I was not as drawn into the world until the stellar second season, both seasons had great characters and a fun plot that always kept me interested. I am very excited to see where the next season takes these characters. I will be there day one, excitedly following the story of the Hargreeve children's never-ending time-meddling scenarios.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Kyle Osterman

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