Years after they rose to fame as young crime-fighting superheroes, the estranged Hargreeves siblings come together to mark their father’s death.
When their father dies, five siblings return to their familial mansion. They’re all there for very different reasons—from closure to money—and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Old tensions quickly rise to the surface, but they soon find themselves relying on each other like they did when they were children … and fought crime. Did I forget to mention that all but one of them have superpowers?
Elliot Page as Vanya Hargreeves
Although I don’t really have a ton of complaints about Page’s acting, he’s a little one-note. Vanya came across a lot like I think Page is in real life, with minor tweaks. This awkward, no confidence kind of personality really works for Vanya, however, and there’s a surprising twist at the end that Page pulls off with aplomb.
Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves
It took me a few minutes to realize that I knew Hopper from Merlin. (He played Percival; admittedly, I was probably more entranced by Eoin Macken’s Gwaine.) He’s been in a bunch of other British things that I haven’t seen, and I’d have to see them to really judge if Luther was something unique (or if Hopper always plays low key, often a little boring, roles.)
Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves
If you’ve seen Sheehan on Misfits, you pretty much know what to expect of Klaus. Although Sheehan can play a more straightlaced, “normal,” character (see: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, or … don’t), I prefer him in the kind of messed up, off-the-rails, oddly sexy roles like Klaus very much is.
Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha
Blige hasn’t been in many movies or shows where she wasn’t playing herself. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the level of quality she brings to the role of Cha-Cha. I won’t spoil her character for you, but I’d be a little afraid if Blige wasn’t playing a role and basically just acting like herself.
Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves
Feore’s been acting since before I was born, so calling him a familiar face is almost selling him short. Although he’s not in many episodes, nor is he in them for very long—the show is, after all, about the aftermath of his death—he makes quote the impact.
You might also recognize Adam Godley’s voice talents.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Low?
The Umbrella Academy is a wacky, offbeat superhero show that delves into some very serious topics—familial issues, overbearing parents, substance abuse, loss of love, etc.—while featuring fight scenes (yes, scenes) between a wise-beyond-his-years 15-year-old and a bunch of highly-trained soldiers set to a soundtrack of pop songs. It’s honestly not for everyone, and it might not be for even more until they can think back on the first season as a whole. (For example, I sort of dragged my husband through the season’s ten episodes, ignoring his protests that, no, he didn’t want to continue. But when we got to the final episode, he was shocked at how much he actually enjoyed the whole story.) I also haven’t read the graphic novels the show is based on, so I have no idea where this sits on The Golden Compass to The Hunger Games scale.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Don’t Mimic Klaus
If you want to be like Klaus and stumble through this series trying to figure out many things after they happen, you might look to him as an example of a good level of inebriation to emulate. (Just the alcohol, though, not the hard drugs.) However, if you want to be able to fully follow the many threads of the plot while watching, I might suggest you keep the drinks to a minimum.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: High
I adore The Umbrella Academy. It’s the perfect mix of weird and heartwarming, the characters are flawed but realistic (even with their superpowers), and the soundtrack is *chef’s kiss.* I’m positive that the show wouldn’t have done well on network TV, and I doubt a cable channel would have found it appealing enough. It’s kind of the perfect oddity that Netflix seems to really like (in addition to the Christmas romances and YA adaptations), and i have to give them my thanks for bringing the show into my life. I can’t wait for season two!