Season 2 of Netflix’ super-hero show The Umbrella Academy was released on the gargantuan streaming platform that I think you’re familiar with on Friday morning. In the current void of new entertainment, this represents a bit of a potential summer blockbuster for some and at least a vague “oh yeah” for others. I fall more toward the latter group, but in the absence of anything else to watch, I’m sure I’ll check out the new season.
If you haven’t seen the first season and you’re the indiscriminate binge-watching type who enjoys the genre, it might be worth your time to knock out the first season. With just 10 episodes there isn’t much to consume. The season was fine overall but didn’t really stand out amid a normal noisy summer of entertainment, sports and — what’s that thing called where we used to have friends and go out and do things? — normal life. There will be plenty in season 2 that will be borderline inexplicable if you haven’t seen the first block of episodes however, so a catch up is warranted if you’re just diving into this weird world.
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The Umbrella Academy mostly qualified in my memory as “exists,” but as I’m thinking about it before consuming any recaps, here are a few key elements that can help guide your decision whether you want to dive into this show. Here’s the official trailer for season 2, which is a bit spoiler-y:
7 Things I Vaguely Remember About The Umbrella Academy Season 1
It’s Another Super-Hero Genre Show
If you’re not into the genre, don’t bother, the show is based on a comic book series of the same name from publisher Dark Horse Comics and leans into comic book and sci-fi tropes without shame. The main group of protagonists were brought together as potentially super-powered children in our current story’s past and were turned into a group that functions like a knock-off X-Men.
Time Travel is a Major Element
I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, but I remember there being a lot of time travel in season 1 of The Umbrella Academy. This is one of the things that will be a bit tricky to unwind if you don’t watch the early episodes before jumping in. Also, if you’re not into the whole time travel thing or you get hung up on the details about time loops or paradoxes, I suppose it comes down to whether or not you enjoy being frustrated by that sort of thing as to whether you’d be entertained by this show or not.
They Have a Talking Chimpanzee Butler
I don’t really know how else I need to explain this one to you. If that’s not the sort of thing that piques your interest and makes you want to check something out for at least an episode to find out what he’s so surly about, I can pretty much guarantee that The Umbrella Academy isn’t the show you’re looking for. The refined gentlemanly butler serves as a father figure to the group and I think we find out how and why he came to talk and take on the habits of an English butler but that might also be a story I’m just making up in my head right now. Either way, chimpanzee butler!
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Ellen Page is in It
As far as I can remember she’s the biggest name in the cast and she is one of the main characters and members of the titular Umbrella Academy. This isn’t a situation where the big star face pops in for an episode here and there. Beyond Page the rest of the cast is a solid diverse group of fresh faces that I didn’t really recognize, but they did a good job with the material, handling some goofy lines earnestly and effectively. Sam’s brother Dickon from Game of Thrones is apparently one of the other main characters and Mary J. Blige is maybe the most famous name in the entire cast, though she plays a minor part. I remember enjoying both David Castaneda as the pain in the ass hero with an easy power and Emmy Raver-Lampman as one with a more interesting ability.
Body Transference, One Guy Goes to the Moon and Umbrellas Aren’t That Important?
I know for certain there is some displaced personality in a different body plot in this this show. It’s not exactly a Freaky Friday or Vice Versa situation, but if that’s your sort of thing it’s also not far off. I’m pretty sure one of the characters spends some time in isolation on the moon but I can’t remember why or if it has any relevance t the plot. It might have something to do with the cliffhanger that we get to at the end of season one. I also don’t really remember the importance of umbrellas to any of this, other than it being the marketing of their superhero group. Unless there’s a plot device in there that I’m forgetting, it’s about as relevant as naming the X-Men the Spatula People.
There’s a Struggle Between Good and Evil… I think
I’m pretty sure there’s an antagonist in the first season of The Umbrella Academy, I’m just struggling to remember anything about them. It’s certainly not a stand-out villain. It’s not like they were fighting climate change or the general concept of wrongness, there was a specific personified evil on the show, I just can’t recall anything at all about their motivations or actions. That probably isn’t a good sign. I do remember it basically keeping my attention throughout though, so there’s got to be something to it. I know there are apocalyptic circumstances and the show gets relatively violent at certain points. It’s an overall fun ride, just don’t sweat the details.
Should I Watch This Show?
It depends how much time you’ll have available with the return of sports and DFS action. If those aren’t the sort of things that fill your life and if you found some of these details at least a little appealing then sure, bang out a few episodes of season 1 of The Umbrella Academy and see how far you get. I’ll be here trying to decide if I have to start all over with season 1. Kind of seems like I should, no?