At this rate, Netflix is like that high school student who started freshman year a little uneasily, but thanks to some unexpected successes with original programming, it's become a popular upperclassman who is more confident to try anything. Such a comparison holds true to one of the streaming platform's latest original series, but if Netflix is that popular senior, this new show proves that it's also the kid who doesn't mind going against the current. The trailer for Netflix's The Umbrella Academy is delightfully odd, but it might be the perfect balm for the world's currently rocky times.
Slated for a Feb. 15 debut on Netflix, The Umbrella Academy is based on a series of comics and graphic novels created and written by My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way. Way's name undoubtedly reminds many TV lovers of their middle school emo phase, but his Umbrella Academy partnership with artist Gabriel Bá has led to award-winning content. The comics earned a 2008 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series, but just as Downton Abbey eventually broke out of the Emmy Awards' Limited Series category, Way and Bá later released more comic series under the Umbrella Academy brand. Netflix's TV adaptation also comes after years of rumors about the story hitting the screen in some form.
The streaming service's synopsis for the humorously dark series reads:
On the same day in 1989, forty-three infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by a billionaire who creates The Umbrella Academy and prepares his "children" to save the world. Now, the six surviving members reunite upon the news of their father's passing and must work together to solve a mystery surrounding his death. But the estranged family begins to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities, not to mention the imminent threat of a global apocalypse.
The series' official trailer introduces the members of the Umbrella Academy both as children and adults but first explains the circumstances in which the mysterious billionaire finds and raises the unique children. Gifted with abilities that are "beyond the ordinary," the children are placed on a public pedestal in the years before their rich guardian's death. Once he's passed, the Academy members recognize the billionaire's monstrous side, but as they soon discover, his death might not have been as simple as it seemed. One of the siblings has also jumped forward in time to the world's end eight days later, but he senses that an opposing force is working to stop his efforts in preventing the apocalypse.
Fitting Netflix's rise through the high school hierarchy of streaming platforms, The Umbrella Academy is almost as if the Avengers went to Hogwarts, but details scattered throughout the trailer promise a unique world. Based on these clips, we can anticipate an anthropomorphic monkey, the Academy members' bizarrely designed home, and plenty of impromptu dance parties.
The cast includes Oscar nominee Ellen Page, Misfits' Robert Sheehan, Hamilton alum Emmy Raver-Lampman, Game of Thrones actor Tom Hopper, and even Oscar-nominated recording artist Mary J. Blige. Within this cast, you can probably find plenty of connections to the Harry Potter and Marvel movie casts. It's about time we find a successor to those phenomenons, but The Umbrella Academy's magical flavor might make it a natural fit for that role.
While Way and Bá have released the comic series gradually over the years, they reportedly have plans for more content if The Umbrella Academy continues for several seasons. It's too early to tell if the show will be an instant hit, but The Umbrella Academy's dose of kooky bonding among a family with special powers might just be the special ingredient to help viewers cope with the long winter ahead of them.
Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy premieres on Friday, Feb. 15, on Netflix.