TV review: The Umbrella Academy (Season 2)
Imagine if the X-men were a bit weirder and a bit more interesting.
Adapted from the comic book by former My Chemical Romance rocker Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy - which is currently streaming on Netflix - is a brighter, funnier and more inventive take on the superhero genre.
You have seven superpowered humans, who fell apart as a group and on a personal level, struggling to work together to stop the apocalypse.
If that sounds grim, it's also gloriously daft and camp too.
The first seven minutes of the second season alone gives us a full rush of our dysfunctional heroes' powers, as well as the end of the world.
In case you're wondering how they fill the remaining 9.9 episodes, there is some time travel involved.
As well as new love, civil rights, cult worship, coup d'etat, conspiracies, crossing time streams, forbidden love, double crossing, falling off the wagon, amnesia, evil step-parents, revenge and a small revolution.
This second season, while falling for some leaden tropes such as the silent Swedish henchmen, improves upon the first season.
Time with the characters is more equally distributed, particularly with Diego/Number Two (David Castaneda) - imagine a far less smart Batman.
Setting this series in a hot Dallas November of 1963 really helps with the aesthetic too.
This is a gorgeous-looking show with heightened colours, amazing sets, stylish costumes and for the most part, pretty good effects for small-screen streaming - just check out the guy with a fishbowl head.
The setting is of course key. The Kennedy assassination is the focal point.
This brings in the classic time travel quandary over intervening with events.
Among the time travel madness are more serious issues too, such as Allison/Number Three (Emmy Raver-Lampman) getting involved in the civil rights movement. This sadly proves very resonant with today's headlines.
The star, though, is Aidan Gallagher as Number Five - the youngest cast member at 16, yet utterly convincing as an old man stuck in a boy's body.
It seems completely natural that he is in charge as he orders people around and talks down to his much bigger co-stars.
The worst part of The Umbrella Academy is the lengthy gap until the next season. That, and that time travel is not possible, yet.
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SERIES: The Umbrella Academy 2
STARRING: Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castaneda, Justin H. Min, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher
THE SKINNY: Having escaped the apocalypse in 2019, our heroes find themselves in Dallas – just that they’ve each arrived at different times. They have also upset the timeline and caused another apocalypse. It is up to erstwhile leader Number Five (Gallagher) to go back in time, reconvene the group and stop the end of the world again.