It's glittery and cool, set in a Gothic film noir world where people wear gorgeous costumes and trade bon mots at a spitfire pace, and no one has heard of a computer or cell phone. But the plot holes are legion. Even in the first scene:
In October 1989, during the waning days of the Soviet Union (but that's not relevant to the plot), some stout middle-aged women are taking some sort of swimming-pool exercise class.
Meanwhile, a teenage boy and girl flirt with each other. They're obviously not part of the class. Why are they there? Well, at least the boy is wearing a swimsuit.
The girl is called into the pool (why? is she an instructor?). Suddenly we see clouds of blood. She wasn't pregnant a moment ago, but now she is giving birth.
The narrator informs us that at that moment, 43 women around the world, not pregnant before, gave birth. Shades of The Midwich Cuckoos! The births are never explained.
Eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreaves goes around to the women, offering to buy..er, adopt the babies. He gets 7. We never find out what happened to the others.
The seven grow up, with the help of Pogo, the chimpanzee butler, and Grace, their robot "mother," to become a teenage superhero team, The Umbrella Academy. They are famous, with games, toys, comic books, and a cartoon series. Shades of The X-Men:
1. Allison (Eden Cupid) can alter reality by telling "lies" that instantly become true. Whoa...wouldn't that solve every crisis? "The villain has reformed. The monster is dead. The captain of the football team thinks I'm hot."
2. Luther (Cameron Brodeur) has super strength.
3. Ben (Ethan Hwang) turns into a monster.
4. Klaus (Dante Albidone) can teleport and communicate with the dead.
5. Number Five (Aiden Gallagher, left) can move through time.
6. Diego (Blake Tabalis) can hold his breath, which I guess is useful underwater.
The seventh child, Vanya (T. J. McGibbon), doesn't get to be a member of the Umbrella Academy, because as her adopted father constantly tells her, "You're ordinary. There's nothing special about you."
Way to raise a psychological basket case! Especially when she actually does have a superpower.
When he is 16 years old, Number 5 moves through time too fast, and ends up stuck in a post-Apocalyptic future, where he lives on canned goods and cockroaches and forms a monogamous relationship with a department store mannequin. When he finally manages to return, 56 years old but in his teenage body, 13 years have passed in real time. The team has broken up and no longer stays in touch. When they do get together, at weddings and funerals, they bicker constantly about old wounds.
1. Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) is a famous actress. She got the job by altering reality.
2. Luther (Tom Hopper, top photo) is an astronaut with the body of a Martian ape.
3. Ben (Justin H. Min) is dead, but still appears to #4.
4. Klaus (Robert Sheehan, left) is a drugged-out gay partyboy.
6. Diego (David Castaneda) is a boxer by day and a Batman-like vigilante by night.
7. Allison (Ellen Page) is a mousy, reserved violnist. Her tell-all book about the Umbrella Academy has caused her brothers and sisters to shun her.
Five has to get them to stop their bickering and hurt feelings the Apocalypse, whch is coming in 8 days.
Except the Apocalypse is supposed to happen, so a duo of time traveling secret agents, Cha-Cha and Hazel (Mary J. Blige, Cameron Britton) have arrived to prevent the Umbrella Academy from stopping it.
1. The superpowers are irrelevant. Only Five's is ever used to solve the crisis.
2. The soundtrack is very loud and very annoying, popular songs blaring away so you can't hear what anyone is saying.
3. With the time-travel agency specializing in making sure that tragedies happen, like the destruction of the Hindenburg and the assassination of President Kennedy, wouldn't you get the idea that it does not have humanity's best interests in mind?
4. The beefcake comes fast and furious. Nearly every episode begins with one of the main characters or a walk-on with his shirt off.
5. Romance is literally everywhere. All sorts of weird, creepy romance:
Vanya romances her violin student Leonard (John Maggio).
Allison and Luther smooch up a storm, even though they were raised together as brother and sister
Hazel romances the lady at the donut shop, even though she's old enough to be his mother (in fact, Cameron Britton is 32, and Sheila McCarthy is 62).
I'd swear Diego is in love with Grace, his robot mother.
Five, in his 16-year old body, gets constantly flirted with by older women, including his boss at the time-travel agency.
What's up with the young man-older woman tropes?
7. The family bickering gets very boring.
8. What happened to the other special children? Where did they come from? Why didn't they show up to help in the end?