The Umbrella Academy Season 2 is on Netflix
I know it was well promoted, but the first season of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix was something of a sleeper hit for me.
I love a graphic novel adaptation, but I was surprised by how hooked I was by the trials and tribulations of the hyper-dysfunctional Hargreeves siblings. The first season ended with a cliff-hanger which all but guaranteed a second outing for the super family and happily that is now on Netflix.
The streaming service has done a great job with adapting existing source material (see The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Umbrella Academy is another addition to the catalogue, especially when you consider it is not a straight lift.
If you have missed out, the premise is that at the end of the 1980s 43 women around the world gave birth at the same time despite not being previously pregnant. An eccentric billionaire, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, adopts seven of the children, each of whom possess a superpower. He puts them to work fighting crime as The Umbrella Academy.
The first series dealt with the family coming back together following Sir Reginald’s death, and Vanya (Ellen Page) coming to terms with her previously unknown powers.
After failing to stop Armageddon in the first season, the second finds our heroes stranded across the 1960s, with another cataclysmic event to deal with.
The second season does a brilliant job of keeping much of what made the first a success, but creating a different tone and focus, which means this does not just feel like a rehash.
Robert Sheehan as Klaus and Aidan Gallagher as Five are still on excellent (sometimes scenery-chewing) form, while Tom Hopper, Ellen Page and Emmy Raver-Lampman carry much of the emotional weight. David Castañeda’s Diego is given the challenge this time of coming to terms with his actions and lone wolf outlook. Justin H Min gets an expanded role too, as eye-rolling ghost Ben.
The new series also adds some brilliant new characters as well as an expanded role for Kate Walsh’s The Handler. As with any second series, we explore the emotional depths of our heroes and we get a wonderful emotional ballast for Vanya in the form of Sissy and her son Harlan (Marin Ireland and Justin Paul Kelly), while the excellent Yusuf Gatewood appears as Civil Rights activist Raymond. The series’ cast of larger-than-life superheroes and villains is also expanded with the addition of Ritu Arya’s Lila and the maniacal Swedes (Kris Holden-Ried, Jason Bryden and Tom Sinclair).
In much the same way as the first season built from the original six-issue comic series Apocalypse Suite, the second works around the second comic run, Dallas. But it is refreshingly building something which is very much its own, rather than lifting the pages onto the screen.
This series does not have the social weight of some which are out there at the moment, but for pure popcorn fun and entertainment, you cannot do better.
And as for a Season 3? Netflix generally lets a season have a month before talking follow-ups, so watch this space.