Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
The Umbrella Academy
Netflix Original Series
On October 1, 1989, 43 children were inexplicably born around the world to mothers who had not been pregnant that morning. An eccentric billionaire named Reginald Hargreeves sought out these special children and adopted seven, which later revealed had special powers to save the world and made a superhero squad called “The Umbrella Academy”. In their teen years, various issues arose and the team disbanded. Years later as they reached their 30’s, Hargeeve’s passed brings the surviving six of them back together to work through their shared challenging experiences from their childhood and to save the world from a rapidly approaching apocalypse.
Number 1 “Luther” (Tom Hopper) had superhuman powers derived from a near death experience when Hargreeves brought him back to life and was an astronaut living on the moon. Number 2 “Diego” (David Castaneda) was super skilled with knives and blades and spent his time listening to the police scanner to help victims. Number 3 “Allison” (Emmy Raver-Lampman) could plant thoughts in people’s minds. Number 4 “Klaus” (Robert Sheehan) could see entities that had crossed over into the Afterlife, though struggled with drug addiction to deal with his gift. Number 5 (Aidan Gallagher) had disappeared when he was 13 years old, his gift being able to move invisibly through space. Number 6 “Ben” had giant tentacles that would appear when he was forced to fight that passed away in his teens, though became a constant spirit companion of Klaus. Number 7 “Vanya” (Ellen Page) was a talented violinist who was always taught that she was not special and had no powers, taking medication to control her nerves. She wrote a book about being Number 7 that exposed many family secrets and was shunned by many of her siblings.
Though they called him father, Reginald Hargreeves was cold and distant, using the children primarily for experiments while controlling the use of their powers and formally named them “The Umbrella Academy”, publicly wearing school uniforms with masks. As teenagers, he they would be sent on fighting crime missions to thwart things like bank robberies using their individual special skills, except for number 7, who was constantly told that she just wasn’t special. The grew up with a nurturing cyborg mom and Pogo, a humanized chimpanzee that was somewhat of a caring father figure to them, though was loyal to their father.
On the day they all return for their father’s funeral, a vortex appeared and out fell 13 year old Number 5, who had traveled through time to warn them that there was an impending apocalypse happening in 8 days that they had to prevent. Number 5 had learned to travel through time and was 58 in his mind, but appeared back into a 13 year old body. His father warned him that jumping through time was extremely challenging and forbid Number 5 from trying it, though of course that’s exactly what Number 5 did. Unfortunately, he traveled to a time just after the apocalypse and got trapped there for 17 years family time, though 45 years in time travel.
Number 5 had one clue, a prosthetic eye, and determined that there was a single person that needed to be taken out in order to avoid the apocalypse whose name was Harold Jenkins. Harold Jenkins was actually the past identity of Leonard Peabody (John Magaro), Number 7’s new boyfriend who unbeknownst to her had found their father’s journal and was grooming her powers that she was unaware she even had since her father hid them from her. The group decided that regardless of the issues between them, they needed to work together to find a way to stop the apocalypse, along the way finding out many unknown truths about their past with their father.
Along with some intriguing super hero creation stories, The Umbrella Academy is filled with relatable family dynamics, dark humor and unpredictable plot twists interestingly revealed.
10 Episodes – 60 min each