This is a series I’ve been really excited about and I’m so happy that the first episode had me gripped. Having not read the comic books written by Gerard Way, I’m going into this blind with no background information on it.
On the 12th hour of the first day of October 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth to a baby they were not pregnant with when the day began. An eccentric billionaire named Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopted 7 of these babies, generously paying their families off, and this is where our story begins! We are quickly introduced to the kids, who are now adults living quite separate lives, as they learn that their father, Reginald, has died. Luther (number one) is living on the moon, Diego (number two) is living life as a vigilante, Allison (number three) is a glamorous movie star, Klaus (number four) has just been released from rehab and Vanya, (number seven) is a musician. We learn that number five has been missing for over 16 years and Ben (number six) has died.
They all return to their family home, The Umbrella Academy, due to their Dad’s death. It becomes clear that there are issues between the kids and there’s especially a lot of animosity towards Vanya, who we later find out wrote a book full of family secrets. The dynamics between the family are brilliant and some flashbacks begin to tell their back story of being trained by Reginald to become a team not that different to mutant organisations such as The X-Men. We see Reginald showing them off to the world after they are first thrown into action to stop a bank heist. Luther has super strength, Diego is good with knives, Allison can control people’s actions, Klaus can communicate with the dead, Number five can teleport himself and Ben turns into some sort of monster. Vanya has no special ability and it’s quite clear that her Dad has no problem in being upfront and direct about how ordinary she is. These kids became a huge deal. We also see just how controlling Reginald was with them as well as how distant his relationship was with them. It’s also revealed that he didn’t even care enough to give them names, which is what their Mum did to stop them being referred to as numbers.
I must say that this show has been cast incredibly well. Robert Sheehan is fantastic as Kluas who is completely eccentric and reliant on drugs and alcohol. Is this just a defence mechanism though as it prevents him from using his abilities. Ellen Page plays Vanya and let’s face it – she’s mutant royalty. There’s clearly so much more to her character and it wouldn’t surprise me if she does have powers after all. Tom Hopper was so good in Game of Thrones as Dickon, a character which was taken from us way too soon. He literally is an all encompassing hero in Luther but there’s a secret he’s hiding. I’m glad we will see him be able to sink his teeth into this role. David Castaneda gives us a mean and moody crime fighter in Diego, not too dis-similar from Stephen Amell as The Green Arrow. He’s in possession of Reginald’s monocle and you’re left wondering if that incriminates him or if he’s just a lot more sentimental than he would lead you to believe. Emmy Raver-Lampman simply is elegant and glamorous as Allision who has a super cool ability and Aidan Gallagher gives a tongue in cheek comedic performance as Number five who brings some crushing news from the future … the world is about to end in 8 days and he doesn’t know how to stop it.
There’s also Adam Godley who plays Pogo. My first impression was that he acts as Reginald’s own version of Alfred Pennyworth, only in Chimpanzee form. There’s little given away about the kid’s ‘Mom’ played by Jordan Claire Robbins but she’s completely Stepford Wife-esque and is revealed to be a robot by the end of the episode.
Episode 1 is a great introduction to these characters and sets tracks for a story which will play out throughout the season. It’s quite rare to have a show give you something so addictive with a first outing and I’m dying to crack on and see where this goes.