Just last year, Netflix had released a list of its most popular series, compiled using a metric that has raised some industry eyebrows: in order to count as a view, a title has to only have been played for two minutes by an individual account. Take a grain of Umbrella Academy, a comic book adaptation about a family of wayward would-be superheroes, is reported to be among Netflix’s most popular shows watched by 45 million people in the first month of the release.
The series has been adapted from Gerard Way’s comic book former Fargo writer Steve Blackman and it has been developed by Jeremy Slater, is a sci-fi and fantasy tropes, a busy assemblage of references that make up an erratic but a satisfying collage. While the story of the show is new, there is something both cozily and annoyingly familiar about The Umbrella Academy.
It is a noisy machine, smashing bits of pop culture together without much concern for originality, and yet it runs pretty well. well, the product is solid, consumable in large doses, and just artistic enough to give it a soupcon of prestige.
The Umbrella Academy is a dervish of fan service that stumbles as often as it sings. In many ways it is a deeply cynical show, pandering so relentlessly on so many vectors. The performance has their winning touches, though young Mr. Gallagher often runs laps around his adult co-stars.
The first season of the show lurches and leaps around, juggling comedy, action, and mystery. The pace of the show is frenetic until it suddenly slows and gets stuck in plot eddies, the writers struggling to create consistent characters instead of malleable ciphers that can be bent to fit any particular episode’s circumstances.