‘The Umbrella Academy’ is back with a better apocalypse

The Netflix show’s second season sticks to what it knows, but makes significant improvements

New season is as wacky as the first.
Credit: 
Netflix

The first season of The Umbrella Academy ended with the Hargreeves siblings hurling themselves through space and time in a desperate bid to save themselves—and the world—from a devastating apocalypse. 

Season two picks up just moments after the previous finale—and 56 years in the past. 

The family of heroes, launched backward in time to 1963 Dallas, spend the season navigating a Civil Rights Movement, hippy cults, and, of course, the assassination of JFK, all with another apocalypse hot on their heels.

The first season of the Netflix original, adapted from Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s comic book series, was a smash hit, its nonsensical plot and wacky aesthetic making for a lighthearted weekend watch.  

Superhero adopted siblings Luther, Vanya, Allison, Deigo, Five, Klaus, and Ben are an entertaining—if a little ridiculous—crew of protagonists. Season one introduced viewers to the Hargreeves family, each born with a unique ability and trained by their adoptive alien father to save lives and fight crime in their adolescence. 

At its core, the plot of the show’s second season is almost identical to its first: round up the ragtag hero siblings, grapple with alien daddy issues, and stop the end of the world. 

The latest season of The Umbrella Academy is undeniably better than its debut season, but that achievement is made less impressive when you consider season two as a second try at the formula of the first. While the new setting allows the newest episodes to feel unique enough, rehashing conflicts from the first season detracts from the freshness and unconventionality that drew so many viewers to the show in 2019.

The Umbrella Academy finds a better foothold its second time around not through its originality, but through its superior execution. Better pacing, diverse storylines, and stronger characterization elevates season two’s somewhat familiar story to a season that’s worth taking your time on instead of binging. 

While the show’s first season felt monotonous and sluggish at times, season two of The Umbrella Academy is imbued with enough bizarre villains and head-spinning conspiracies to propel the story along at sometimes breakneck speeds.

Although the new season leaves behind some of less successful elements of its first ten episode run, it capitalizes on what it knows works. Like its first season, the latest addition to the Netflix series features violent fight scenes juxtaposed with a cheery soundtrack, witty one-liners, and irresistible characters you love to hate. 

Whether you’re watching the Hargreeves siblings attempt to foil a group of aliens plotting to assassinate the President of the United States or just dance around a barber shop, season two improves on the unpredictable and outlandish charm that makes The Umbrella Academy stand out.

 

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