ⓘ The Umbrella Academy (TV series)
The Umbrella Academy is an American superhero web television series based on the comic book series of the same name published by Dark Horse Comics. Created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater, it revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their fathers death and the threat of an impending apocalypse. The series is produced by Borderline Entertainment, Dark Horse Entertainment, and Universal Cable Productions.
The ensemble cast features Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, and Mary J. Blige. The adaptation began development as a film optioned by Universal Pictures in 2011. However, it was eventually shelved in favor of a television series in 2015, before being officially greenlit by Netflix in July 2017. The series is filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.
The first season was released on Netflix on February 15, 2019. It received positive reviews from critics, with many praising the cast and visuals, though the tone and pacing were criticized. In April 2019, Netflix reported that 45 million households had watched season one during its first month of release. That same month, the series was renewed for a second season.
On October 1, 1989, 43 women around the world give birth simultaneously, despite none of them showing any sign of pregnancy until labor began. Seven of the children are adopted by eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves, and turned into a superhero team in what he calls "The Umbrella Academy". Hargreeves gives the children numbers rather than names, but they eventually are named by their nanny robot-mother, Grace, as: Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Number Five his only name, Ben and Vanya. While putting six of his children to work fighting crime, Reginald keeps Vanya apart from her siblings activities, as she supposedly demonstrates no powers of her own.
In the present day, Luther is a part-animal who lived on the moon for four years, Allison is a famous actress, Vanya is a violinist, Klaus has a drug addiction, Ben is a ghost only able to converse with Klaus, and Diego has become a vigilante with a penchant for trouble. The estranged siblings learn that Reginald has died and gather for his funeral. Number Five returns from the future, chased by vigilantes, and reveals that a global apocalypse is imminent. Meanwhile, the reunited siblings try to uncover the secret of their dysfunctional family while beginning to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities.
2.1. Cast and characters Main
- David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves / Number Two, a rebellious troublemaker with the ability to curve the trajectory of anything he throws, usually knives. Blake Talabis portrays a younger Diego.
- Aidan Gallagher as Number Five, a boy with the ability to jump through space and time. After traveling to the future he ended up in a post-apocalyptic world, unable to get back. He survived on his own for decades before being recruited into the Commission, an agency that kept tabs on the timeline and figures who would threaten it. He eventually betrayed them in order to get back to his time to warn his family of the impending apocalypse and is constantly hunted by his former employer. Returning to his time causes him to revert to his thirteen-year-old body. Jim Watson plays an adult Five and Sean Sullivan portrays an elderly Five.
- John Magaro as Leonard Peabody / Harold Jenkins season 1, Vanyas love interest. As a kid, he was an admirer of the Umbrella Academy and begged to join, since he was born on the same day as the result of a normal pregnancy, but was humiliated by Reginald. He would later discover Reginalds diary, detailing Vanyas potential and inserts himself into her life with the goal of manipulating her into discovering and using her powers.
- Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / Number Four, a flamboyant drug addict with the ability to communicate with the dead and temporarily make them corporeal. Dante Albidone portrays a younger Klaus.
- Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves / Number One / Spaceboy, an astronaut with super strength. He lived on the moon for four years as a mission from his father. He was the only one of his siblings who did not leave the team and during a mission was severely injured. To save his life, Reginald injected him with a serum that turned his upper body into that of an ape. Cameron Brodeur portrays a younger Luther.
- Adam Godley and Ken Hall as Pogo, Reginalds closest assistant, and an intelligent chimpanzee, with Godley providing the voice and facial performance capture, and Hall providing the motion capture for the body, and playing the character on the set.
- Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves / The Monocle, the Umbrella Academys adoptive father and a billionaire industrialist who is deceased in the present day.
- Cameron Britton as Hazel, Cha-Chas partner, a fellow assassin disillusioned with his life as an agent, who plans to leave the Commission after falling for doughnut store-owner, Agnes.
- Ellen Page as Vanya Hargreeves / Number Seven, a meek violinist with no apparent supernatural abilities, which somewhat alienated her from her siblings. In reality, she possesses the power to convert sound waves into destructive force, an ability her father suppressed with drugs to keep others out of danger. T.J. McGibbon and Alyssa Gervasi portray Vanya as a teenager and a 4-year-old, respectively.
- Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves / Number Three, a celebrity with the ability to control minds with the phrase "I heard a rumor.". Eden Cupid and Jordana Blake portray Allison as a teenager and a 4-year-old, respectively.
- Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves / Number Six season 2, recurring season 1, a boy who can summon tentacled horrors from his body. Ben is deceased but appears regularly to Klaus and helps him occasionally. Ethan Hwang portrays a younger Ben.
- Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha, a Commission agent partnered with the character Hazel, she is "ll-business" and the more sociopathic and ruthless of the two assassins.
2.2. Cast and characters Recurring
- Yusuf Gatewood as Raymond season 2
- Rainbow Sun Francks as Detective Chuck Beaman
- Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace Hargreeves / Mom, a robot built by Reginald who acted as the Umbrella Academys adoptive mother. She was built after Vanya kept assaulting nannies with her powers.
- Sheila McCarthy as Agnes, Hazels nascent love interest, the waitress and baker at and owner of Griddys Doughnuts.
- Peter Outerbridge as The Conductor
- Ashley Madekwe as Detective Eudora Patch, Diegos former romantic partner.
- Ritu Arya as Lila season 2
- Kate Walsh as The Handler, the head of the Commission and Fives former boss.
- Marin Ireland as Sissy season 2
3.1. Production Development
A film version of the comic book series The Umbrella Academy was optioned by Universal Studios. Originally, screenwriter Mark Bomback was hired to write the screenplay; Rawson Marshall Thurber reportedly replaced him in 2010. There had been little talk of the film from that time. In an interview with Newsarama at the 2012 New York Comic Con, Way mentioned that there have been "good talks" and a "really good script", but that it was "kind of up to the universe".
On July 7, 2015, it was announced that The Umbrella Academy would be developed into a television series, rather than an original film, produced by Universal Cable Productions. On July 11, 2017, it was officially announced that Netflix had greenlit a live-action series adaptation of The Umbrella Academy premiering in 2019, with Way and Ba acting as executive producers. Jeremy Slater wrote the script for the pilot episode, and Steve Blackman serves as showrunner. The first season of The Umbrella Academy was released on Netflix on February 15, 2019. On April 2, 2019, the series was renewed for a second season.
3.2. Production Filming
Filming for the first season began on January 15, 2018, in Toronto, and concluded on July 18, 2018. Additional filming took place in Hamilton, Ontario.
Filming for the second season began in June 2019 and concluded on November 23, 2019.
On April 16, 2019, Netflix announced that the series had been streamed by over 45 million viewers on its service within its first month of release. It was the third most popular TV series on Netflix in 2019.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 77% approval rating with an average rating of 7.27 out of 10 based on 78 reviews. The websites critical consensus reads, The Umbrella Academy unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble, but the series dour sensibility often clashes with its splashy genre trappings." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 62 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Some critics pointed out similarities between The Umbrella Academy, DC Comicss Doom Patrol and Marvel Comicss X-Men series, both positively and negatively.