Season one of Netflix’s super-fun superhero romp The Umbrella Academy saw an astounding 45million households in its first month of release alone tune in to watch the Hargreeves clan’s adventures in stopping the end of the world, according to the streaming giant.
This week, season two of the hit dark comedy action show hits Netflix – and this time, that action is set in 1960s America.
The super-powered siblings will find themselves in 1960s Dallas after jumping through time at the end of season one.
The Umbrella Academy’s streaming success is all the more impressive, given that (unlike the capes and cowls of Marvel and DC), its characters are hardly household names.
Based on the Dark Horse comic series created by former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Ba, the series is just the right combination of deliciously weird and inventive.
New to The Umbrella Academy? This is what you need to know:
Once upon a time, 43 women babies were born to women who weren’t pregnant at the start of the day. The show, which riffs on the mythologies of X-Men and Doom Patrol, sees just a small number of this preternatural group adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, for induction into his Umbrella Academy. Like all good superhero teams, they evolve into a dysfunctional family, albeit one with no scarcity of secrets – and a chimpanzee manservant on the payroll (actually he’s a stunning VFX creation of Weta Digital).
Showrunner Steve Blackman, hot from Fargo, Altered Carbon and Legion, unravels season one with just the right amount of tease, and the ensemble cast he has to work with, including Ellen Page and Tom Holland, are outstanding. Structured like a ten hour movie, rather than ten one hour episodes, it’s something special. We’ve high hopes for season two (full disclosure, we’ve already seen it – and it’s sensational!)
Given Way’s emo-rock background, expect music to play a key part. In Season one, the show makes inspired use of classic pop tunes throughout, including Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Adam Ant’s Goody Two Shoes and The Hollies We’re Through. This almost adds a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe to proceedings. While there’s no My Chemical Romance on the playlist, there is some original Gerard Way to be discovered. Listen out for his cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade of Winter, powered by MCR guitarist Ray Toro.
Gerard Way says his favourite comic hero is Wolverine. “He’s the perfect teenage comic book hero,” he told NME. The first comic book he ever bought, appropriately, was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men, but the first comic he actually read was Archie. “I immediately loved the mechanics of them and how easy they were to read.”
- The Umbrella Academy Season 2 premieres on Netflix on 31 July 2020.