Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

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Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by shevek »

Sliding under the radar this year is an entire 10-episode season of a superhero drama called The Umbrella Academy which I think is on Netflix.

It's about a group of superpowered kids who were raised to be a team by an eccentric billionaire who adopted them, and based on a Dark Horse comic series (actually a total of 3 series) from the mid 2000s. There are definitely elements of Harry Potter, X-Men, Tim Burton movies (especially the Miss Peregrine's School) but what might cause this series to be overshadowed is its similarity to Doom Patrol and even Titans.

Just watched the first episode which has to do a lot of quick world-building although there's time for a few action sequences. As far as superheroines the pickings are a bit sparse but they're there if you dig.

Ellen Page is Vanya, later known as The White Violin. She doesn't have powers yet but they will manifest in a big way. If you know anything about Ellen Page, you know her obsession with outrage culture and her constant portrayal of troubled and tortured teenagers even as she is now 31.

Emmy Raver-Lampman is Allison aka The Rumor. She's so unknown as an actress she's the only one in the cast without a Wikipedia page. Her function in the cast seems to be overly similar to that of Anna Diop as Starfire in Titans - race-branding for the sake of diversity (The Rumor in the comic is a pale skinned pink-haired girl somewhat similar in appearance to Hit Girl). Her power is frightening - whatever she says becomes reality. Her profession is a movie actress, so she does get the opportunity to be in gorgeous dresses and she is quite voluptuous. Not sure if she'll have an adult costume somewhere down the line.

The premise of the series is that thanks to another member of their team (the time-traveling Number Five, aka The Boy) they become aware that the entire world will soon be destroyed in an apocalypse (here we go again!) and so they have to rush to save it. I'm sure they'll decompress the story appropriately to allow for shenanigans along the way, such as pop-culture references and unnecessary dance numbers (several minutes are taken up by the characters dancing to "I Think We're Alone Now" in different rooms of their deceased adopted father's mansion).

One big thing bothers me, as I'm sure it may have bothered readers of the comic series, because I'm not sure it was ever resolved: the seven characters are part of a group of 43 babies who were born suddenly as immaculate conceptions all around the world. But the series never says what happened to the other 36 babies or whether they have powers or not, and neither does the comic. This is really annoying, one of the biggest plot holes I've ever seen. What is the point of invoking that random number if you're not going to make use of it? https://heavy.com/entertainment/2019/02 ... -other-36/

Anyway I plan to watch this whole thing over the next week or so. If you've started on it as well, let us know what you think in this thread.
Last edited by shevek 7 months ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (2019)

Post by shevek »

Finished the whole first season (10 episodes). It's comparatively slow going, the plot creeps along much like Titans does.

There are a lot of shows which mirror their similarities nowadays: this show battles Doom Patrol in the same way that Orville battles Discovery.
I haven't seen Doom Patrol so I can't say if it's better, but Umbrella Academy, at least, has considerable elements of the Dark Phoenix saga.

No superhero costumes, but a full-on superhero aesthetic.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (2019)

Post by TIEnTEEZ »

I loved the show. Binge-watched it in a few days - although part of that is because I was sick and so took time off from work. :)
No peril or sexy superheroine stuff in it, though.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (2019)

Post by Lurkndog »

Apparently a second season is on the way.

Meh. I found this show to be basically Venture Brothers without any of the good points of Venture Brothers (humor, likeable characters, cool retro aesthetics).
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Re: Umbrella Academy (2019)

Post by shevek »

So few posts in this initial thread about the Umbrella Academy show's first two seasons (actually, nobody even said anything about Season 2) that I figured why bother making a new thread just for Season 3, let's just top this.

Netflix dropped all of Season 3 (10 episodes) a few days ago so I'm going through it gradually.
The premise of the show is that 43 extraordinary children were born. Since we only know what happened to around 7 of them (the Umbrella Academy members), the series now explains what happened to some of the others.

In the new version of reality that the Umbrella members find themselves in, a whole different group of heroes were found and raised by Hargreeves, so instead he has created a "Sparrow Academy" (it's a full fleshing-out of a half-baked Gerard Way idea from the comics - a costumed group from another country called the "Sparrows" who mostly never even had names yet).

There are seven Sparrows, and they are marketed more traditionally as a superhero team which keeps the peace with an iron fist.
The good news? They apparently wear lots of spandex or leather (at least, they do on their billboard ads) so after three seasons we are finally likely to see a superheroine in spandex, maybe even one in peril. Ye gods be praised.

I've only watched the first episode so far, but it already contains a fight between Umbrellas and Sparrows, so check it out to get yourself up to speed. Here are the three superheroines in the Sparrow Academy in their tight costumes:

Sloane. Played by the sexy, austere-looking telenovela actress Genesis Rodriguez. Her power is gravity manipulation, so she can fly and also make other things and people float, I would assume. She is definitley the character who will look best in her costume - hope we get to see her flying around in it soon, and maybe getting in some danger.
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Fei. Played by Canadian-Jamaican horror/thriller actress Britne Olford (who also played the teleporting villainess Peek-A-Boo in The Flash TV series). She is what if Raven from the Teen Titans was literally made of ravens. Her power is to send ravens out from her body who can spy on things, and apparently also do some destructive damage like pecking straight through a wooden door. I believe that she is blind, and can only see what happens through the eyes of the ravens. My question is: the ravens are just obviously constructs for some kind of "astral" extension of her eyes, so why couldn't she just send these constructs out as *anything at all*? To me, at least, the character has a bit of "The Wicked and the Divine" type of vibe.
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Jayme. She spits black venom on people (with unerring accuracy, apparently) which then makes her victim hallucinate. It's an interesting power, but I wished she looked a bit more "venomous" (I dunno..hissing or clicking?) while doing it. The big deal here is that the actress is Cazzie David (the daughter of Larry David), and she lives right here in Pittsburgh, having bought a house here last year with her boyfriend, Miller McCormick (the brother of the late rapper Mac Miller). Not sure if I'm super down with those diagonal zippers - your mileage may vary.
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P.S. If you were wondering, Ellen Page is now credited as Elliot Page in the series. However, as of this first episode, the character that Elliot (he) portrays is still the very powerful Vanya the White Violin (she), who is attracted to women but still female. Vanya will apparently change to "Viktor" at some point in this third season, but I don't know exactly when.

If you are also following this third season, feel free to chime in. Also, from what I understand, there are eventually going to be new Gerard Way Umbrella Academy comic stories coming out, and the changes that were made in the TV show (naming an official Sparrows team, changing Vanya's gender, etc.) are going to become canon in the comic book series.
Last edited by shevek 7 months ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by DrDominator9 »

So, Shevek, your post above was reported as objectionable! You take a swipe at almost every character that you describe here with some sort of derogatory snark about their heritage or ethnic background. You feel free to do this all the time and it's beyond tiring at this point, it's poisoning thread after thread. Knock it off! You've been warned time after time. The next instance will be a grounds for banning.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by DrDominator9 »

So, Shevek, your post above was reported as objectionable! You take a swipe at almost every character that you describe here with some sort of derogatory snark about their heritage or ethnic background. You feel free to do this all the time and it's beyond tiring at this point, it's poisoning thread after thread. Knock it off! You've been warned time after time. The next instance will be a grounds for banning.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by shevek »

DrDominator9 wrote: 7 months ago So, Shevek, your post above was reported as objectionable! You take a swipe at almost every character that you describe here with some sort of derogatory snark about their heritage or ethnic background. You feel free to do this all the time and it's beyond tiring at this point, it's poisoning thread after thread. Knock it off! You've been warned time after time. The next instance will be a grounds for banning.
There were no "derogatory snarks" at all. There were, however, references to "casting quotients." All such references have been removed. I hope whoever found it objectionable, now no longer does. I doubt it, but one can hope. Apologies, and thanks for the warning.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by shevek »

So...I just decided to give up on this series.

The plot seemed very contrived and the premise didn't seem to make any sense or be very interesting - how many times can you "reset the universe" or "prevent the apocalypse"?

There are no real costumes in this show. Despite the publicity photos shown above, it's not clear that the "Sparrow Academy" members ever appear in this show in any kind of tight costumes (the closest we get, I think, is when they are briefly shown in
some spandex workout gear in Episode 2).
Spoiler
Besides which, the "Sparrows" soon disband and some of them join up with the Umbrellas anyway.
The subplot about Vanya becoming Viktor is not compelling at all - there's no character growth for Viktor in almost the whole season. The whole purpose of it was simply to acknowledge and explain the IRL gender change of the actor.
Spoiler
As the season moves along, and more characters get killed, pretty soon the only attraction in the show is the actress who plays Sloane wearing a tied-up shirt that shows her lovely abs....but her beauty is played down. It's nice that she has a romance arc with Luther, but in the end, that doesn't even work out.
I went ahead and just skipped from Episode 2 to the final episode, to see if I would feel connected at all to the whole "Seven Bells" conclusion. I didn't. There were some decent battles in the hallways of the Hotel Obsidian, but really nothing to write home about that I couldn't see much better done in The Boys. And after watching several episodes of Superman & Lois last night, I realized that Superman & Lois is compelling television, and the Umbrella Academy simply isn't. Maybe that's why I never see anyone cosplay Umbrella Academy characters at Comicons.

Oh well.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by Mr. X »

shevek wrote: 7 months ago
I went ahead and just skipped from Episode 2 to the final episode, to see if I would feel connected at all to the whole "Seven Bells" conclusion. I didn't. There were some decent battles in the hallways of the Hotel Obsidian, but really nothing to write home about that I couldn't see much better done in The Boys. And after watching several episodes of Superman & Lois last night, I realized that Superman & Lois is compelling television, and the Umbrella Academy simply isn't. Maybe that's why I never see anyone cosplay Umbrella Academy characters at Comicons.

Oh well.
That's the problem with these lower budget shows that try to do some material like super heroes. Things have to happen beyond drama and that's expensive. Like the Boys, fights are rare and not very impactful.
Spoiler
Given Homelander's power level their fight should have wrecked whole areas vs just some wall slamming. In fact this is the most energetic fight the series have had and it was kind of mediocre.
I've seen a few gender swap Homelander cosplays and maybe one or two Starlights from cosplay pics. Except for Maeve and Black Noir and the others I mentioned, a lot of characters don't have distinctive costumes. hard to dress up as Billy Butcher or Hughie.
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Re: Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) - All Seasons

Post by TIEnTEEZ »

I gotta say... lack of sexual content aside, I absolutely LOVE this show. It's so much fun. And the music is amazing. I never realized how much music I am missing by listening to Pandora or the radio stations I already know until I hear a song on a show like this and fall in love with it.

This is the show that got me into Billie Eilish. And now it's Gerry Cinammon's Sometimes - I can't stop listening to it. :)
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