TV Review: The Umbrella Academy Season 1 (2019)

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Summary: A disbanded group of superheroes reunites after their adoptive father, who trained them to save the world, dies.
READ the graphic novel. Your local library probably has it. If you have access to Hoopla Digital then it’s free through your library. It’s really good and funny. Illustration is a little odd but it grew on me. That is all.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So, we have our main six characters with some minor main characters throughout the show. I don’t think there’s really anyone I dislike dislike. In the comic, I really only liked Five. But Five and Klaus are my favorites in the show but the others I actually like as well.
  • Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves / Number One. So, we meet Luther, he’s living on the moon for reasons we find out later. He’s lived there for four years as a mission from his father. He would be considered “the good son” as he’s the only one who did not leave the team nor moved out of their house. During a mission he was severely injured and Reginald saved him with science. I won’t go into it further because it’s a nice reveal. Luther is a bit naive in that he hasn’t lived in the real world so he doesn’t really know how to handle certain things. He’s supposed to be the leader and he really tries to act like one, but he is really self-conscious about not only his appearance but I think of his skills as a leader. He’s “number one” which is something he says often but he doesn’t always act like one. I think that’s from a general thing of not really knowing his family anymore or knowing how to handle this world he was never really part of. For a while, it bugged me because I knew the actor looked familiar, I figured it out though, he was in Game of Thrones as Sam Tarly’s younger brother. He’s fine in the role. I mean, he’s tall and broad and a boy scout ultimately. He kind of reminds me someone, or like he was trying to channel Chris Evans as Captain America or something… but he’s fine. He had nice chemistry with the other actors.
  • David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves / Number Two. He’s the one I probably like the least (both in the show and the comic, especially the comic). He’s a rebellious and he can curve the trajectory of anything he throws, his weapon of choice is knives. He’s the typical “angry one” of the family. The one who holds the grudges, who is the loudest when he doesn’t agree with something, and the one who always runs off to be a vigilante. He’s almost like an unlikable Raphael (TMNT). He did have a nice relationship with their mom which was probably the heart of his character, mom and Patch but things happen lol. I do like that he’s pretty much down for anything though, if it has something that allows him to throw his knives or bust through doors… he’s down. I recognized the actor from Switched at Birth and I wish he had a bit more charisma in general. He’s also fine in the role and some of the emotional moments are probably his best acting but I think he’s the weakest actor out of the main characters.
  • Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves / Number Three. She’s from Hamilton! It was driving me crazy because I knew I knew her. She also reminds me of Kylie Bunbury. She has the ability to manipulate reality by lying with the phrase “I heard a rumor…”. Now that she’s an adult, she doesn’t use her power much anymore because she’s used it in situations that had consequences. She is also an actress. Allison is determined and her relationship she tries to save and foster with Vanya, I thought was a really strong part of the show. She was the only girl on the team and along with Vanya, the only sisters. She feels connected to Vanya and really tries to strengthen their relationship and in some instances, I think she succeeds. I like Allison. I like that she speaks her mind and doesn’t back down just because she’s outnumbered by her brothers. I do wish she had a bit more character though and maybe in the second season we’ll see her be fleshed out a bit more. I like Emmy Raver-Lampman. She was also fine in her role, I liked her clothes, her energy was always good and I thought she stood out among the guys. I think the last two episodes were her strongest.
  • Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / Number Four. Definitely one of my favorite characters. He’s flamboyant and just lives his best life. However, he is a drug addict which dulls his ability to communicate with the dead. He’s afraid of his powers so he drinks and does drugs to make it stop. However, there is one ghost who is always around no matter what. I quite like their relationship but I don’t want to spoil it. Klaus does his own thing but it’s clear he also likes to tag along with his siblings because whenever they’re going, he wants to be with them. Now at first it might have been because he wanted to get money to pay for drugs but as the show goes on, I think it’s because he wants to be included. He even says at one point “I’m the one person in that house who no one would notice is missing” which is true and a shame. He is the heart of the show and I really loved him. I’ve seen Robert Sheehan in one movie I think but he’s so good in this role. I liked Klaus enough in the comic but I LOVE him in the show and that’s a tribute to Robert Sheehan and what he did with this character. His quirks, his reactions to things and just the energy he had. I can’t wait to see more of him.
  • Aidan Gallagher as Number Five / The Boy. Now HE’S my favorite. I liked him the most in the comic and I love him in the show. He has the ability to jump through space and time. He is the catalyst for the plot of the show as his appearance kicks everything off. He traveled to the future and ended up in a post-apocalyptic world and got stuck. He managed to survive for years on his own before doing lots of things and then returning. We learn a LOT about him so I can’t give anything away. He’s soooo interesting and entertaining. This kid is so good in this role as he is playing a 58-year-old man in a 13-year old’s body. His mannerisms and facial expressions, even the way he talks just works so well for him. I liked him a lot in the comic, he was the one who made me laugh the most because it’s so crazy but I liked him even more in the show. He’s condescending, really smart and just does things because he’s the only one who gets shit done. Sure, it doesn’t always work out but at least he’ll do it and not sit on his hands talking about it forever. I think Aidan Gallagher does a great job! Like I said, the way he moves, plus the way he uses his powers is super cool. I just liked his character. I hope we continue to see more of him and that they don’t age him up because I’m not interested in that.
  • Ellen Page as Vanya Hargreeves / Number Seven. She is a meek and insecure violinist with no supernatural abilities which has alienated her a bit from her siblings. Vanya is around a lot when the siblings get together but more often, she is by herself or with the guy she meets. I don’t dislike Vanya but she is super annoying because she’s dumb. Like, I get that they all have their issues since their dad was pretty abusive in ways but be smart girl. Anyway, her and Allison have a lot of great scenes and I think Ellen Page has great chemistry with Emmy Raver-Lampman.
Supporting Characters.
  • Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha. She is part of a duo of ruthless assassins. She is the more brutal of the two it seems and one of the best in her field. She’s there to do her job and follow protocol because that’s what she’s supposed to do. We do see some interesting growth from her though. MJB is fine overall. Some of the action stuff is pretty cool. I really loved her suit.
  • Cameron Britton as Hazel. He is Cha-Cha’s partner and the milder of the two. He seems to be losing interest more and more in his job and he’s pretty likable. He and Cha-Cha both. He has a nice little side story line as well. I’m not sure how invested I was in it, but I thought it was cute. I like this guy, he has likability about him.
  • John Magaro as Leonard Peabody. He’s learning violin from Vanya and without spoiling anything, he is kind of important to Vanya’s storyline. He’s annoying though and I did not like him. Also, his voice is super annoying but I guess he’s fine.
  • Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace. She is their mom for all intents and purposes. She’s really sweet and very attentive to their child. I think she’s very likable and her relationship with everyone is really nice, especially the one she has with Diego. Sometimes her smile is a little creepy though lol. Jordan Claire Robbins is good in the role.
  • Adam Godley as Pogo. A chimpanzee and Reginald’s closest assistant. He’s like an old sage who knows a lot of Reginald’s secrets and slowly reveals things to the kids. I see why people have mixed reactions to him but I think he thought what he was doing was right. The CGI on him is very good and Adam Godley has a great voice for the role.
  • Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The Umbrella Academy’s adoptive father.  He manages to get seven of the 43 kids who were born on the same day and he raises them to be superheroes. He was very distant from them though and they all pretty much hate him, though I think they also secretly love him because he’s the only father they knew. Anyway, the flashback moments we have of him are so interesting and we don’t know what his real deal is. He does have a great scene later in the series and I wonder how he felt for his children. How did he feel when Five never returned? He did erect a giant portrait of him. He erected a statue after Ben’s (Number 6) death so I wonder his true feelings. I didn’t realize Colm Feore was in many things I’ve seen but he’s good here and the pompous like voice he puts on fits this role.
Use of Powers. Throughout the show the only person whose powers we really get to see on a regular basis is Five’s since he has his own thing going on. He seems to have the most use for his. I mean, Diego has this whole vigilante thing going on but his knife throwing power (skills really) are more like cool than something I would be like “oh yeah his power is dope”. Klaus has his thing but we don’t really see him accept it and get into until towards the end. Luther is strong so sure and Allison doesn’t use her powers. I like that we got to see some flashbacks of them as kids using their powers and I just hope in the second season they show us the Eiffel Tower mission because that’s the first one we see in the comic and we really can see them use their powers more. So ultimately, I like how Five uses his abilities and the last two or three episodes definitely has some cool power stuff going on.
The Action Scenes. Y’all these action scenes are well choreographed and the music is paired so well with them. In the first episode we get this awesome diner scene with Five, then in episode two we get another action scene with Five in a department store. The fight scene in the house was pretty good. Oh! The fight scene with Five in a later episode that I don’t want to spoil is also really good, quick but good. I wish we saw a little more but perhaps in season two they’ll give us more action scenes to great music.
Very humorous. I’m currently watching it a second time and I still find certain things funny and I even laugh at things I might have missed in my first watch. I think it’s a very funny show. Klaus and Five have a lot of great moments. Hazel and Cha-Cha are also really funny, especially when they’re together and mostly in the first two or three episodes they are in. Some of the humor can be dark, some of it like dirty humor. I laughed quite a bit. One of my favorite funny parts is when Five goes to this lab trying to find something and he jacks this guy up who calls him “Young man” lol and then later in that same lab with Klaus. Plus, the bowling scene with that mom and her kid going up to Five. HAHA I die every time. It’s some great stuff.
Interesting Story. It differs a little from the comics but it’s still an interesting story. Their “father” has died and there is a mystery around his death. Then Five returns and he’s raving about the end of the world and he has his mission and it takes a little while before the others put stock in what he’s talking about. Then you have Hazel and Cha-Cha who are after Five so you don’t know what they’re going to do lol. Then Allison has her plot with her family and her trying to connect to Vanya… I mean there’s a lot going on and I think the shows handles each story line well. I think everything manages to get the same amount of attention enough to make you care about what that character has going on.
Sisterhood.So, I think the crux of the story is the relationship between Vanya and Allison. We see flashbacks here and there of their childhood but we didn’t see them really interact so we don’t know if Vanya’s solitude was from them directly or indirectly through their father. It’s implied but ya know. Allison really tries to connect with Vanya  because it’s just the two of them in a sea of their brothers who have a lot going on. I really like it and I hope we get to see more of it in season two because regardless of what you think of Allison or even Vanya, Allison was really trying to be a sister to Vanya and she may not have always gone about it in the right way (but who’s to say ‘the right way’) but she always tried. Especially towards the end, they share this smile that I thought was super sweet and, in the end,  Allison is the one who might have made the best decision for their family.
Emotional Moments.There are a few in the show and I think they are handled extremely well. Some of the ones that stick out to me is the one with Allison and Luther in the phone booth. I actually teared up a little bit. It was emotional but the acting from both actors was really good in those moments, especially Emmy Raver-Lampman. Klaus has a few moments in the latter half of the series. He goes to a bar after something big happens and just the quiet moments… wow. Diego has one with his mom in the middle of the series where he makes a choice to do something and the acting was good between both actors in that scene as well. Towards the end, Vanya and Allison have a great moment in a cabin and that is all but such a great scene and well-acted by both actresses.
The Soundtrack. This show uses music so well that anytime it came on, it didn’t feel out of place. There was of course musical score but they also had a lot of songs integrated into the show as well. The very first fight scene with Five in the diner has a song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and I don’t know why but it totally fits the scene. In the second or third episode, there’s another scene with Five in a clothing store and Hazel and Cha-Cha have caught up with him, that song fit that scene so well too. There’s ANOTHER fight scene in the mansion with the siblings and Hazel and Cha-Cha that also had great music. Also, one of my favorite scenes is when Five leaves the mansion in episode two, this is when he is actually 13 and the song “Run Boy Run” comes on as he is walking down the street and going through time… it was so good. Listen, the music is used so well here, it rivals Guardians the Galaxyof best use of music lol.
Cons:
Broken Records.BRUUUHHH if I heard Luther say “I’m Number One” one more time, I’m going to punch him. There are TOO many times in this show where characters repeat themselves like we didn’t just hear you say that last episode. Your dad was a jerk, okay great, you’re number one… super. You don’t rumor people anymore, awesome. You were told you were ordinary all of your life. Great. Awww, you believe in her when no one else does… fantastic. I mean sheesh. All the time! Shut up! The audience is not stupid, we do not have to be reminded of that kind of stuff all the time. We get it. Trust your audience to know what was said last time. Trust that we’re keeping up and if someone isn’t, that’s not your fault, they can re-watch the show.
Overly-Dramatic. So, I like that these are people who happen to have superpowers, that’s cool that them being super isn’t the main thing about them or the show. However, sometimes it just feel like their problems are extra and they need to get over it and move on. Probably because they spend so much time talking and talking and talking about it all the time… all the time that it becomes annoying. Luther and the whole thing with being on the moon and not feeling like he’s important boooyyy, Diego and trying to compete with Luther (even if he tries to act like he’s not) and this whole brooding thing. Allison with Patrick and Claire and Vanya with her whole. Honestly, I was with Five in that whole “you have no idea what’s important”. I’m not discounting their problems but SHEESH.
Slow Pacing. There are a few times, mostly in episodes 6 and 7 and the scenes with Vanya and Leonard that I thought were really slow. There are parts of 6 and 7 that are really good but overall, they slow down compared to the rest of the show. I mean 8-10 picks up the pace and never lets up until the show ends. So, it kind of sucks that you have the first episode which is slow and then it picks up for a while and then slows back down. I can imagine some people having a hard time really finishing the show because of that.
Acting Abilities. While I think everyone is overall fine in the show, there are some who stand out against others who aren’t as good, at least all the time. I think Robert Sheehan, Ellen Page and Aidan Gallagher were really good in their roles and their characters had nice quirks because of them. Emmy Raver-Lampman was mostly good, there was a few times I was like meeehhh. Tom Hopper seemed to me like he was trying to channel Chris Evans’ Captain America and I couldn’t help but to think that the entire show and it kind of irritated me. I don’t know if that was intentional or just him… but I didn’t like it. Stop it Tom. David Castenada is probably the weakest to me acting wise out of the siblings, he’s not like the worst ever but compared to the others he does stand out in his abilities. Maybe it’s just his character but outside of the emotional scenes I’m like ehhhh. Also, I enjoyed Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha but she’s also not that great either. I don’t think she was as good as she probably needed to be for this role because there were some moments with Cha-Cha towards the end where I feel like she couldn’t pull of the “introspective” thing or “vengeful murdery woman” as well as she should.
Overall, I really liked The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s worth the watch for anyone who is into superhero materials or comic books. As I didn’t really like any of the characters in the comic, I think it’s a great service that I liked them for the most part in the show. Number Five and Klaus were my favorites in the show. I think all of the characters though are interesting in their own rights, whether or not we got to see everything to know them. The music was well chosen and utilized in the show, especially in the first two episodes with all of Five’s scenes. It’s a very funny show and even on the second watch, it’s still funny. I liked the emotional moments, particularly the phone booth scene and the scene with Diego and Grace. One of the strongest aspects of the show is the sisterhood between Allison and Vanya. It starts off rocky but we watch it grow and we watch how Allison really tries to connect with Vanya and this relationship comes full circle towards the end of the show. As for the negative, I think the characters can be very whiny and overly dramatic with their issues. They are also broken records! SHUT UP! I do think the show has pacing issues particularly in episodes 6 and 7. Lastly, all of the acting isn’t the greatest. Anyways, Five is still my favorite followed by Klaus so watch the show if anything FOR THEM and the MUSIC lol. It’s a good show though lol.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen The Umbrella Academyon Netflix yet? What are your thoughts on it? Who is your favorite character? Least favorite? Do you have a favorite episode? What are you looking forward to see in the second season?
Let me know your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading!
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