The My Chemical Romance fandom is buzzing once more due to a new Netflix show inspired by work from ex-lead singer Gerard Way. In 2007, along with Gabriel Bá, Way launched comic series The Umbrella Academy, which was eventually picked up by Netflix for a TV show, with the first series being released in February 2019.
One day, 43 women around the world give birth to babies with supernatural abilities, but none of them were pregnant when the day began. Seven of these children are adopted by the same curious man, who raises them collectively as ‘The Umbrella Academy’. The show begins years later, when the death of their adopted father reunites the long separated siblings. One of the siblings suspects foul play in regard to their father’s death, and along with the revelation from another sibling that the end of the world is pretty imminent, the audience is set up for a dangerous and risky journey.
However, The Umbrella Academy, in the early episodes at least, maintains a much lighter tone than you may expect when dealing with the aforementioned topics. The opening of the first episode is reminiscent of the mood of early 2000s dark Disney movies; an intense montage is juxtaposed with a lively soundtrack and the suggestion that nothing should be taken too seriously. Dark, gloomy shots are counteracted with upbeat music and lively action scenes. It’s no surprise that the show has an excellent soundtrack, featuring songs by Queen and arrangements by violinist Lindsey Stirling.
The introduction of the seven siblings in the first episode means that there should be a character for every viewer to latch onto, whether you favour eccentric Klaus, solitary Vanya or suspicious Luther. The large cast of characters can be confusing at first, and even two episodes into the ten part series, I still feel as though there is a little settling down to do and character development to be desired.
That being said, I think The Umbrella Academy appeals to an exceptionally wide audience. The show features a large family with interesting character dynamics and a mysterious past, but if you’re more into superhero style powers and action scenes, it has that too. The early episodes promise a secure and well-rooted plot and are accompanied by a humorous and imaginative script which may well please pickier viewers. I’d be incredibly surprised if watching the TV trailer didn’t spark interest in the show for the majority of Venue readers.