The year is 1989. 43 women give birth to children simultaneously. No big deal, you say? It is, you see, because all these 43 women never showed any prior signs of pregnancy or going into labour. Of these 43, seven children are adopted by an eccentric tycoon who decides to raise them as superheroes with a robot for a mother.
Fast forward by some years. The children are all grown up. A time-travelling superhero comes in a ball of blue energy for their estranged billionaire adoptive father’s funeral from the future and informs his other superhero siblings that an apocalypse is imminent. The superhero siblings have to save the world. They cannot help it. The stakes are high: the world must be saved. Nothing less than the whole world for the superhero premise. This is the opening of the Netflix series — The Umbrella Academy.
A still from The Umbrella Academy on Netflix
While the science fiction plot sounds far-fetched, it has enough substance weaving through the plot to keep it relatable. The characters, including that of the robot, steal your heart from the word go. Each of them has their eccentricities and superpowers. They make you look inward and smile at your own eccentricity. Take for instance the character of teenaged Klaus — one of the superhero siblings. Klaus can talk to ghosts (of his brother Ben), has a drug problem, refuses to wear shoes and is embroiled in some foul affairs with a vampire chimpanzee crime boss. Or that of his brother — Number Five (yes, that’s his name) — who is the time-travelling aged man stuck in the body of a teenager. The character is played by 16-year-old Aidan Gallagher.
The show requires a certain suspension of disbelief, and pardon the sin of discontinuity. Beyond that, if you are the one who digs for superhero stuff, the two seasons of The Umbrella Academy will not disappoint you. Beyond the regular superhero stuff of saving the world and beating up the bad guys, the show also has subplots and undertones around politics and civil rights. However, none of them is overwhelming or overshadows the core theme of the show.
If you breathe in and thrive on the existence of superheroes and time-travel, the two seasons of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix is something you must not miss.