Everyone is ranting and raving all over the internet for a brand new TV adaptation of comic book THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY… but I thought this show was garbage and I’m going to tell you why.
Disclaimer: I have not read the comic books and therefore am not judging based on the source material, but on the TV show as it stands for entertainment value.
On one day in 1989, 43 infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who creates the Umbrella Academy and prepares his “children” to save the world. In their teenage years, though, the family fractures and the team disbands. Fast forward to the present time, when the six surviving members of the clan reunite upon the news of Hargreeves’ passing. They work together to solve a mystery surrounding their father’s death, but divergent personalities and abilities again pull the estranged family apart, and a global apocalypse is another imminent threat.
Wow. A plot about the end of the world. SOOOO original. Better yet? Superheroes saving the world from the apocalypse. Seriously? You’re handing the cons to me on a silver platter. This plot is so overdone and absolutely nothing in this TV show re-imagines that plot in any way shape or form. Best of all! This is my favorite part, the entire plot relies on every single character being emotionally damaged in the most cliche ways possible. There is so little originality in this show it’s not even funny.
As if the plot wasn’t bad enough, let’s get into the characters who are ‘siblings’ adopted by an eccentric, stern rich dude. Shocker. Rich dude neglects the kids causing intense emotional trauma that NONE OF THEM EVER DEAL WITH. Literally none of them. None of them has moved past it, gone for counseling, or become adults. They are all stunted children in adult bodies with no idea what they fuck they’re doing. But let’s break it down because I have to.
Klaus: The kid who can see dead people is afraid of said dead people and spent years of his life locked in tombs in order to overcome his fear of ghosts. Unsurprisingly, he turns to drugs to escape the one thing he can see and no one else can: the dead.
Diego: Tough guy. Vigilante. Can curve any object he throws. Literally batman… without the money. Congrats.
Allison: Pretty girl. Popular. Success and life built on lies that she tells (her ‘rumors’ become true). Abuses power. Loses everything. Is a total spoiled teenager who never learned to earn anything.
Luther: Not 100% sure what his superpower is because NO ONE EVER EXPLAINS IT. All we know is that some experiment to save his life turned him into a giant with excessive body hair and he is afraid to show that part of himself to the world, but he does whatever he is told like a good boy scout and his world is SHATTERED when *gasp* he was lied to. Hank McCoy anyone? But with less emotional maturity.
Number Five: Honest to God don’t think we ever got his name. Time traveler/spacial jumper. Spews a bunch of mumbo jumbo to make the watchers think he’s hella smart. Has a superiority complex, which is heightened by his supposed ‘survival of the apocalypse’ and knowing the world is going to end. In reality he’s just a giant prick with an excessively short temper and even shorter patience.
Vanya: The Phoenix. No, not kidding. Vanya is literally Jean Grey/The Phoenix. She’s a telekinetic who couldn’t be controlled and therefore was brainwashed/medicated to believe she didn’t have powers and low and behold she finds out because DUH! And no real surprise that she is the apocalypse. Because you know, not teaching control and suppressing powers has NEVER gone bad, right? >.>
Which brings me back to the fact that the ENTIRE plot is garbage. why? Because it’s stolen. This plot is so unoriginal. Has no one seen X-Men? So why is everyone who’s seen The Umbrella Academy acting like it’s the best thing since sliced bread? It’s not. It’s recycled and poorly at that. But I’m not done yet. Let’s continue.
Who the fuck is the writer for this? You continue to use the same stereotypical actions over and over again so that none of your characters have any growth or dynamic characteristics whatsoever. Only when in the face of certain destruction do they realize ‘oh, shit. I’m an asshole.’ Really?! It took you THIS long to realize this? And yet you still make the SAME mistakes. Like for cripes sakes! Stop beating a dead horse with these character decisions.
This is best cemented through the last episode when the brothers are still trying to take down Vanya. They intend to ambush her and take away her violin to stop her power (because she suddenly needs the violin for her power? Which she doesn’t so good on that logic, boys.) And Allison, who can’t speak, is the only one who realizes Vanya needs love but she’s literally the biggest reason Vanya felt unloved so way to go Allison. Too little, too late.
Luther x Allison: They were raised as siblings. We don’t technically know if they have any biological relation because see ‘no answers’ below. But the two of them still have romantic feelings for each other and despite that they are forced apart at every turn either by fear or themselves. However, of the things that drive them apart, being siblings isn’t one of them. I’ve seen conflicting commentary on this particular aspect. I’m not sure how I feel about it morally, but I do know that it was WRITTEN like garbage and therefore came off as garbage. It was like the writers didn’t even know what they wanted and that translated. Figure it out, people.
This show literally gives no answers to anything. How did Ben die? Why is he still hanging out with Klaus? Literally nothing! Ben is the single most interesting character in the ENTIRE show and he’s dead and says no more than a couple dozen words.
How does Number 5’s traveling work? He literally just mumbles about calculations, but there is no concrete anything here. You’re gonna screw around with time travel, how about actually understanding it first rather than willy-nilly throwing characters around. Thanks.
How did these children all come about? I get that it was some magical, virgin Mary phenomenon where 43 women suddenly gave birth despite that they weren’t pregnant, but how did this happen? Are the children technically related? What does this have to do with their superpowers? Right now I log this as: WORST ORIGIN STORY EVER.
Doesn’t Add Up
Number Five spent most of his life in an adult body and his entire assassin life in an adult body and just got back into his teenage body in episode one. And yet he knows EXACTLY how to move this pint size body to kill like 7 goons. I call bullshits. He’s half the size he was, half the strength (because five was a total twig as a child), and would take time to adjust to his body again. Not only that, but the entire ‘I’m a teenager again because bad calculations blah blah’ feels like such a gimmick and it goes back to the whole NOT EXPLAINING YOUR TIME TRAVEL SEMANTICS. Time travel shouldn’t change your age in any universe so unless you want to explain to me WHAT calculations I call bullshits.
How did no one file Hargreeves throwing his ‘children’ out into dangerous situations and making them under-aged superheroes NOT get filed for some kind of child labor suit? Or unsafe to parent? Like this can’t be legal! But NO one questions it. Instead, they monetize it and turn it into a franchise and destroy those kids lives. Great. Nice job, society.
Wow. Because this couldn’t get any worse let’s throw in some mojo-jojo style assassins aka they’re incapable. They’re sent to hunt down and stop Number 5 from preventing the apocalypse, but they spend most of their time in the show buying donuts, arguing like an old married couple, and being the WORST assassins on the planet despite everyone claiming they are some of the best. Like that’s your best? Damn. How do you police time then?
Arbitrary blonde woman villain. Super posh. Is supposedly in charge of the time monitoring organization. Survived a grenade. Like… wtf. This is cliche at it’s finest. Watch any bond movie for this, but this character added NOTHING to the plot whatsoever. Her entire character could have been removed and the show would have still been the same.
Predictable. Cliche. True to the unfortunate static nature of the characters and utterly uninteresting. The apocalypse still happened. Why? Not because they didn’t try to stop it, but because none of the characters realized WHY it was happening: because they’re all dicks who treated Vanya like she was less than them. Superpowers don’t make you better than anyone. But they can make you a super dick. Had you been a decent human being and loved each other properly like siblings should have, Vanya never would snapped. She probably would have learned control or at least she would have loved people while losing control and everyone would fucking learning something. Ugh. I just can’t with this. Don’t watch it. It’s not worth your time.