The Umbrella Academy: Gerard Way's comic book creation is Netflix's next big superhero family saga

From how to watch on Netflix to who the cast and characters are, we reveal everything you need to know about "delightfully odd" superhero series The Umbrella Academy.

In the market for a superhero saga with quirky characters, flawed families and a touch of emo? The Umbrella Academy should be on your watch list.

Created by Gerard Way (former singer with the band My Chemical Romance) and starring Ellen Page and Mary J. Blige, the show launched on Netflix earlier this month.

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Here’s everything you need to know about The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, including the cast and characters, its comic book history and what the fans are saying...

When is The Umbrella Academy on Netflix?

All 10 episodes of The Umbrella Academy season 1 are available to stream on Netflix now. BT TV customers can find Netflix under the Players & Apps tab on their TV box.

What’s it about?

Gerard Way

The Umbrella Academy is the TV adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, created and written by Gerard Way (above), illustrated by Gabriel Bá, and published by Dark Horse Comics.

An adaptation has been in development since 2015, having originally been penned as a film.

The Umbrella Academy tells the story of the gifted Hargreeves siblings - raised as superheroes by their eccentric adoptive father - who reunite as adults to stop an apocalypse.

On the same day in 1989, 43 infants were inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who had shown no signs of pregnancy even the day before.

Seven are adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire industrialist, who creates The Umbrella Academy, naming them One to Seven, and prepares his 'children' to save the world.

But not everything went according to his plan. In their teenage years, the family fractured and the team disbanded. But after Hargreeves dies, the six surviving thirty-something members are reunited.

Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Vanya and Number Five work together to solve a mystery surrounding their father's death.

But the estranged family once again begins to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities, not to mention the imminent threat of a global apocalypse.

Gerard Way also serves as the Netflix show’s co-executive producer.

Who are the cast and characters?

The Umbrella Academy

Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves / Spaceboy / Number One

English actor Hopper (Game of Thrones, Merlin) plays an astronaut with super strength.

David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves / The Kraken / Number Two

The Mexican actor (Sicario 2: Soldado) plays a rebellious troublemaker with enhanced breath-holding abilities and gifted knife-throwing techniques.

Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves / The Rumor / Number Three

The Umbrella Academy is Raver-Lampman’s first major TV role, following stints on Hamilton in Broadway. She plays a celebrity with the ability to manipulate reality by lying.

Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / The Séance / Number Four

The Bafta-nominated Irish actor (Fortitude, Misfits) plays a drug addict with telekinesis and the ability to communicate with the dead.

Aidan Gallagher as The Boy / Number Five

Gallagher (a long-running cast member on Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn) plays a time-traveller who has recently returned from an apocalyptic future and retains his teenage appearance.

Ellen Page

Ellen Page, above, as Vanya Hargreeves / The White Violin / Number Seven

Canadian actress Page (Juno, Inception), plays a violinist and the only member of the Hargreeves family without superpowers. She’s named Number Seven because the siblings' adoptive father numbered them 1-7 in usefulness, and she’s the least useful as she has no super powers.

Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves / The Monocle

American actor Feore (Chicago, Thor) plays the Umbrella Academy's adoptive father, a billionaire industrialist who prepares his 'children' to save the world.

Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha

The Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning actress/singer (Mudbound, The Help), plays a ruthless and unorthodox assassin who travels through time to kill assigned targets.

Cameron Britton as Hazel

Britton (Mindhunters, Stitchers) plays an extremely violent assassin.

Three reasons to watch The Umbrella Academy…

1. The stellar ensemble cast

There’s power in numbers when it comes to superheroes.

Like The Avengers, the Runaways, and the Titans, The Umbrella Academy are a group of superheroes who band together to save the world.

And the group of actors who have been cast as the family of superheroes are fantastic. Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) is perfect as anxious Vanya, while Mary J. Blige, below, is superb as time-travelling hitwoman, Cha-Cha.

Drug-addicted Klaus (Robert Sheehan) gets much more screen time than comic fans might expect.

Mary J Blige

2. The quirky spin on superhero sagas

Most superheroes on the big and small screen today - with the exception of perhaps the X-Men, and TV shows like The Runaways - are pretty idealistic.

But as The Umbrella Academy comic books are weird and wacky and the family flawed and imperfect, it would have made no sense for Netflix to play down some of the more peculiar elements of the story.

Good news - the show is “as delightfully odd” as the comic, writes Vox.com, and “captivates its audience with this particularly dysfunctional family of super-weirdos”, according to Den of Geek.

Umbrella Academy

Take one of the characters - the family’s talking chimpanzee friend, Pogo (Adam Godley). You wouldn’t catch him in The Avengers!

Netflix’s decision to keep the TV show as weird as the comic is part of a wider movement by the streaming service to “nurture the weirdo within”, according to Independent.co.uk, which cites Russian Doll as another example).

The result? The Umbrella Academy is “every bit as barking as you would expect a series adapted from a graphic novel by an orange-haired emo singer to be” and is “utterly gloriously, unapologetically cuckoo".

3. The scene-setting soundtrack

You know the music in a TV show is good when it’s released as a soundtrack.

And when the show’s creator is My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, music’s got to be an important element of the series.

It’s no wonder then that The Umbrella Academy soundtrack album will be released on the same day as it’s available to stream on Netflix (February 15), according to filmmusicreporter.com.

The album will feature selections of the original music from the show’s first season composed by Emmy Award winner Jeff Russo (Fargo, The Night Of).

The music on the show plays a key role in setting the scene. It tends to follow a pattern of music cue followed by comedic interlude followed by acrobatic violence, writes Vox.com.

There’s also a playlist of music from and inspired by the Netflix show and the comic books available to stream on Spotify.

And of course it includes My Chemical Romance!

You'll love The Umbrella Academy if you liked…

Marvel’s Runaways, DC’s Titans, DC’s Doom Patrol, X-Men, Misfits, Fantastic Four.

What are the fans saying?

Needless to say, Gerard Way fans are very excited for this comic book adaptation to hit the small screen:

And the fans that have already watched it are crying out for a second series...

Is there a trailer?

You can watch the official trailer for The Umbrella Academy below:

The Umbrella Academy is available to stream on Netflix now.

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Images: Netflix / Rex Features