It’s a family with skeletons in its closet. Siblings who hate each other. An unfeeling, abusive father. An oblivious mother. It could be any family drama. Except that every member of the Hargreeves family has a superpower. And such serious power spread across a dysfunctional family also spells serious trouble.
That’s part of the premise of Umbrella Academy, the new superhero series airing on Netflix from this Friday. It is the first major superhero series from the streaming video provider since news broke that the Marvel franchise, comprising most of the world’s most popular superhero movies and series, would disappear from Netflix.
Disney will launch its own video-on-demand service, Disney+, in September this year. Its most profitable entertainment franchises, Marvel and Star Wars, will be at the heart of the service – and no longer available to Netflix.
Umbrella Academy is evidence that the streaming giant is not rolling over and playing dead, however. It is both redefining the superhero genre, and creating a foundation for its own pantheon of heroes.
It is based on a comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics, the dark alternative to the Marvel and DC universes. It was created by Gabrel Bá and Gerard Way, lead vocalist of the rock band My Chemical Romance, underlining its credentials of cool.
Click here to read our exclusive interviews with showrunner Steve Blackman and actress Ellen Page, how creating shows for Netflix differs from creating shows for network TV, and how Ellen Page feels about her role in the series.