Rinzy Reviews ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season One (2019)

Release Date: February 15

Network: Netflix/ 10 episodes

Starring: Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Tom Hopper, Mary J. Blige, et al.

***

The Umbrella Academy is Netflix’s latest attempt at embracing the superhero genre. Being that the streaming giant’s recently said goodbye to the Marvel’s Defenders, its timing is perfect. And it sure looks like a worthy successor to raise the flag of superheroism on Netflix.

Over the course of 10 episodes, The Umbrella Academy tries to mostly be a time travel story, but it sure is other things. On October 1, 1989, 43 women around the world give birth at the same time. This is peculiar because none of them started the day pregnant. Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric billionaire adopts seven of these children, and starts the Umbrella Academy – a school for the gifted to help make the world a better place. Sir Hargreeves is crazy enough to give these children numbers – one to seven – in place of names, and detaches himself from having any form of emotional attachment to them, a duty he leaves for their mother – a robot named Grace. She eventually gives them names, except Number Five.


The main plot revolves around the children, now adults, reuniting to solve the mystery of their father’s death, the threat of the apocalypse, and more.

As the main plot unfolds, a lot is revealed about the family’s backstory. Some of which turned out impressive, and others not so much – like Luther and Allison’s incestuous relationship.

The Umbrella Academy is awesome storywise, but is heavily plagued by poor pacing, lazy writing, and horrible dialogues. Like in episode 8, when Allison finds Vanya in the cabin and tells her about Leonard being a murderer and all. The way that entire scene played out made me cringe; and that’s just one of many. These issues were evidently spread throughout the episodes, making it very difficult for me to decide which of them is the best, technically speaking.

The writing doesn’t fit the pacing of the story. The whole story takes place under eight days. Eight days to meet someone and fall blindly in love, like in the case of Vanya. I mean, who does that. And… the entire thing about the siblings easily turning on their Vanya, making it a case of Vanya vs. The world didn’t look good. I mean, these guys are retired superheroes; in no world is making such a decision as easy as depicted here.

Talking about Vanya, she’s got Marvel’s Phoenix level kind of power. Truly terrifying stuff. But if there’s one thing about her the show didn’t quite expatiate, it’s the fact that she’s got mental issues. There’s no doubt about that. She’s desperate for love, attention and acceptance from just about anybody since her family had refused to love her unconditionally. This is the reason she remained blind to all of Leonard’s wiles and tricks even when they became glaring.

The cast is great and the visuals are awesome. My favorite character is easily Number Five, and this is by no small measure because of Aidan Gallagher’s portrayal. The entire premise of a 58-y/o in a child’s body is so believable, you forget the character is been played by an actual 15-y/o. I see great things in his future, great things.

The season ended with more questions than answer. And was quite disappointing. It made all 10 hours invested in the season look meaningless, as we’ve got to wait for next season (should it get renewed) to reward our patience for this one. A poor shot at a cliffhanger, if you ask me. Doesn’t make much sense. But that doesn’t mean The Umbrella Academy is a bad show. On the contrary, it’s a decent one, and you should enjoy it.

Side notes:

1. We’re never told how Ben died. I hope it’s something that’s addressed in the next season. We didn’t get to see a lot of him, but he seems like an interesting character.

2. Whoever cast Mary J. Blige in the role of Cha-Cha has some answers to give. Even though there wasn’t much to work with, a more fitting actress would’ve brought a much needed depth to that role, and made the character remotely interesting. Hazel’s actor, Cameron Britton, escapes this judgement by a margin.

3. For a commission that safeguards the time-continum, The Commission’s office security is quite porous; this is evident in the countless times Number Five enters and leaves unregulated. Even Hazel gets to enter and put a bullet in someone who’s suppose to be high up the leadership board. You can imagine.

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

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