The Netflix Highlight: “The Umbrella Academy,” Season 1. The new show debuted on Feb. 15.
Premise: Forty-three women in 1989 give birth simultaneously. None of these women had been pregnant and the births happen for seemingly no reason. An eccentric billionaire then adopts seven of these children while they’re still babies. Six of the children end up having superhero abilities and the billionaire gives his kids combat training. The seventh (played by Ellen Page) grows up as an outsider. Years later, as the siblings are in their 30s, the group reunite for their father’s funeral. Although they mostly hate each other by this point, they will have to work together to stop the coming apocalypse.
Sum Up: A steampunk version of “X-Men” with a large enough budget to make the sets and action sequences impressive. A CGI chimpanzee that talks and wears suits is a main character. Although the hourlong episodes drag with some questionable scene choices, a strong narrative saves the show. The story has a clear sense of conflict and real stakes in between all the fist-fighting and bullets.
Heads Up: As someone who doesn’t typically enjoy superhero stories and can’t comprehend the appeal of the steampunk aesthetic, I found little to love here. As the show tripped over itself trying to be overtly clever and edgy, while failing to be either, I just kept thinking this is a dumb version of “Watchmen.”
Will everyone be talking about this? Begrudgingly, I’ll say that I believe this will be a huge hit. “The Umbrella Academy” has the same lack of wit and middling creativity of those CW superhero shows, but with an insanely bigger budget. As those CW shows (such as “The Flash,” “Arrow” and “Supergirl”) are massively popular and the Netflix algorithm should get this out to the superhero lovers, I think this will be watched by many.
Other Notes: This is an adaptation of the comic book series with the same name. Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, wrote and created the original series. He didn’t write the adaptation.
Read on for more recommendations and news from the week.
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Here’s the trailer:
What Else Is New This Week On Netflix
“Patriot Act,” Volume 2 ― Comedian Hasan Minhaj breaks down various news stories with jokes and charisma, while borderline dancing on a high-tech stage of video screens.
“The Breaker Upperers” ― A New Zealand movie about two women who do breakups for hire. As this is a comedy, the two best friends and business partners tend to choose wacky methods to separate the clients from their significant others.
A Couple Of Netflix News Stories From This Week
1. Netflix may debut a “Breaking Bad” movie in the near future, with Deadline reporting that the film will likely join the streaming service before it airs on AMC. Vince Gilligan, the creator of the original TV series, is set to write and direct. Aaron Paul’s character, Jesse Pinkman, may be the narrative focal point. It remains unclear when the movie will premiere.
2. Kevin Reilly, the overseer for the upcoming Warner Media streaming service, claimed that “Friends” will probably leave Netflix when Warner Media launches. “I think for the most part, sharing destination assets like that is not a good model to share,” Reilly said. “My belief is that they should be exclusive.” The beta version of the service could launch by the end of the year. Netflix reportedly paid $100 million for the rights to stream “Friends” through 2019.
And here are the shows and movies that joined Netflix throughout the week:
- “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” (Volume 2, Streaming Every Sunday, Netflix Original)
- “Flavorful Origins: Chaoshan Cuisine” (Netflix Original)
- “Little Women”
- “Dating Around” (Netflix Original)
- “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho” (Netflix Original)
- “Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy” (Netflix Original)
- “The Breaker Upperers” (Netflix Film)
- “The Dragon Prince” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix Original)
- “Yucatan” (Netflix Film)
- “Black Sea”
- “Studio 54”
- “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”