TV Reviews

TV Reviews: Umbrella Academy S1E1

The Umbrella Academy S1 E1

“We Only See Each Other At Weddings And Funerals”

Series Trailer via Netflix (YouTube)

I realize that the hot ticket Online is reviewing Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way’s comic-turned-television-event. To do this, however, I would have to watch Season 1. Let’s see if I end up running out of steam.

Before I start this review, I want to be clear about a few things-

  1. I know what’s going to happen plot-wise. Like, not the details, just the major beats. As someone who struggles with certain types of thematic imagery in media, I tend to need trigger warnings for specific content. I knew enough about the series (through friends, art, etc.) that I knew that I might be upset, and I took the time to read about certain characters and their narrative journeys. When Season 1 of the show released, I wasn’t in a place where I could engage with it. Which is okay! I’m glad that I waited, and that I get to enjoy this now.
  2. I haven’t read the comic. I might someday. We’ll see.

With that out of the way, I can now share that this is the first episodic TV review I’ve ever written, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. So… let’s talk about some kids.

I guess The Umbrella Academy is about a bunch of kids who got the short end of the stick of life. Their eccentric dad wanted them to be superheroes, they aren’t, everyone has feelings about it. Also some of them seem like they have superpowers?

Technically, I love a lot of the work to create the feeling of this series. I did see that iconic dollhouse-esque “we’re all dancing along together” sequence, and it was nice. There’s an intensely personal feeling to so many scenes in a derelict and terrifying house. I want to be clear: I hate the lighting. I am not a fan of low light being a mood (it isn’t). The music is everything I expected and then some, including a beautifully twisted fight sequence to They Might Be Giants in this episode.

All seven (or six) of these kids didn’t get names, just numbers, and wow that’s a potent metaphor. I also cannot be bothered to learn their names, as I didn’t adopt them, so I’ve been referring to them by the most loving nicknames I can come up with. I’ll do my best to write a semi-coherent description for this first summary, but then all bets are off.

Number One- Luther, also known as Moon Boy. He was being sad on the moon in the beginning, and I hope he becomes a little less sad. He’s very large. I enjoy how large he is. I keep staring at his back, but also all he does is lurk and stick his foot in his mouth.

Number Two- Diego, also known as Knife Boy. I don’t like him. Everyone on my timeline is so thirsty for him, and I respect it, but he’s so… angsty. He fought Moon Boy at their dead Dad’s funeral. I want him to be happy, but his vigilante superhero bit isn’t my thing.

Number Three- Allison, also known as Gossip Girl (xoxo, love gossip girl). Real talk, she’s wonderful. How cool is that power?? Rumor-mill factory. Paparazzi queen. She seems like a complex character and I am excited to see what happens and oh boy does she have some weird relationship with Moon Boy and nope.

Number Four- Klaus, also known as Drug Boy. That’s all he does. Drugs, and talking to the dead. And honestly… good for him. If I could talk to the dead and I were rich I’d be doing the same thing with all of my free time.

Number Five- Number Five, also known as Time Boy. He threw himself back in time somewhere and I don’t think he had a great time (sorry, I had to). He is, absolutely, my favorite part of this show so far. He’s awful and also very old but trapped in a teenage body. I think he got into a mess or whatever in the future?

Number Six- ??? Ben ?? Ghost Boy, buddies with Drug Boy. That’s all I have.

Number Seven- Vanya, also known as Best Girl. Have I been in love with Ellen Page since I saw her in Hard Candy years and years ago? Absolutely. I guess she wrote a book about how much everyone sucks (they do). I’m glad she did.

I’m planning to keep watching the series, and I really have enjoyed it so far. There’s such a neat sense of music as a place and time, and as a feeling in these characters’ lives. The narrative seems a little haphazard at times, but we’re all here for the cute kids and fights, right? It’s giving me what I signed up for, and I can’t complain.

Rating (Episode 1): 3/4 Stars

What To Watch

What To Watch: April 13

Welcome to the first entry of my semi-regular column, What to Watch, where I go on and on about the weird things I’m watching and how all of you might like to watch them too.

Here’s what’s been stuck in my brain for the week of Monday, April 13th:

Lucy, The Daughter Of The Devil (Adult Swim)

Lucy is, in fact, the daughter of the devil. The product of a one night stand between the aforementioned devil and her poor, normal human mother. She’s the Antichrist but also forced to work at her Dad’s chain restaurant and wants to date this DJ her Dad doesn’t like. It’s a whole thing.

I used to DVR this as a kid, way back in the day, but I’ve never had a chance to watch the entire show. I’ve found it so funny and easy to watch in short bursts, and I love Loren Bouchard’s style of humor. Bouchard is the iconic dude who made Home Movies and Bob’s Burgers. Also, yes, you’ve got your H. Jon Benjamin here in full form as the devil, and I am not sure how well this show would work with anyone else’s voice.

Lucy, Daughter of the Devil is available to watch on the Adult Swim app via Roku TV, with a participating cable provider subscription.

Bar Rescue (Paramount Network)

I kind of can’t believe this show exists. I was skipping channels and kept seeing the promos, and I absolutely love crap, so I decided to watch it. This guy, Jon Taffer, shows up at somebody’s bar “randomly”, screams at them and tells them they can’t run a business, and then brings in weird experts to make the bar over?

This hits every mark for me, but especially since I quit my service work job in March. You ever just get into the mood where you want to watch some reality TV awful nonsense? This is for you.

Bar Rescue airs on Paramount Network, check your local listings for details.

Poyopoyo (Crunchyroll)

Poyopoyo is a slice of life anime about a rural girl, Moe, who gets drunk in Kabukicho (Shinjuku) and wakes up on top of a cat. She decides to keep the cat and brings it home to her family’s farm… except no one knows Poyo is a cat because he’s so incredibly large and round. It’s so sweet.

The show is composed of 4 minute episodes, each with a small central plot and lots of character development. It’s great background for playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons or just spending time with your own pets at home right now. The show also has a lot of clearly presented information about life in Japan and rural customs, if that’s something you find personally interesting.

Poyopoyo is available to watch for free, with advertisements, on Crunchyroll.