The Umbrella Academy makes a successful, retro-themed return

Kyla Jones, Centerspread Editor

The Netflix Original The Umbrella Academy follows the siblings of the titular Umbrella Academy as they attempt to prevent the apocalypse. This decidedly different take on the superhero genre is a far cry from Marvel, with dark humor and mature themes. Its two seasons, each ten episodes long, were released a little over a year apart: the first season was released February 15, 2019, and the second, July 31, 2020. The production of the second season was finished in quarantine, with the actors rerecording lines from their homes. The second season’s reception was warm: within hours, the show reached the number one spot on Netflix’s television top ten.

The show’s season two look is striking. Every scene of the show pops with bright color and dramatic lighting. The characters dress with flair and personality—fans were especially excited by Klaus (Robert Sheehan) with his new wardrobe and long hair. Other characters, like Herb (Ken Hall), were introduced with new, recognizable silhouettes.

Whereas season one was well-known for its wackiness and outlandish tone, season two tones down the whimsy. Its historical setting of Austin, Texas in the sixties requires a less zany tone in order to properly address complex issues like racism and homophobia. Even so, despite the real-world issues that the show covered, the show still had absurd elements—one of the characters is literally a fish. Time travel and its side effects result in hilarious situations throughout the season. Even with the potentially depressing situations, the show maintains a sense of levity.

Unfortunately, one side effect of adding levity is that the tone occasionally feels jarring. After all, the story jumps from a grounded civil rights story to a story about a bureau of time travelling assassins. That being said, these tonal shifts did not detract too much from the season as a whole. Even with the jarring changes, the show managed to have genuine emotional beats. The change in setting allowed the characters to develop in new ways, notably with Allison Hargreeves (Emmy Raver).

All things considered, the second season of The Umbrella Academy was a step up from season one. I rate this season 5/5. Fans now await the announcement of a third season.