TV EYE : UMBRELLA ACADEMY SEASON 2 (NO SPOILERS)

Previously…
In season 1, we were introduced to our protagonists – seven superhuman misfits (Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five, Ben and Vanya) mentored by an idiosyncratic and eccentric gent in the style of the X-Men and the Doom Patrol. Copping story elements from the Dark Phoenix saga, the Umbrella Academy succeeded in improving on its source material and in engaging an invested audience before delivering a satisfying cliff-hanger of an ending.

Losing the Plot …
Sadly, season 2 is unable to live up to the quality of writing demonstrated in the first series. Plot holes abound and distracting sub-plots are pursued without regard to the main narrative. The premise of splitting the group at the beginning was promising but the writers were not able to exploit this opportunity in any meaningful way. Worse still, the series employs the dreaded deus ex machina to provide the obligatory twist in the season finale. Ugh.

Character Assassination …
The main strength of the first season was undoubtably the well crafted characters and the relatively logical portrayal of powers. This valuable resource was thrown out completely by the writers in order to service the convoluted plot. Thus, we were not given any development of the individual characters and most were reduced to their most basic stereotypes. In addition, replacing Hazel and Cha Cha with the Swedish triplets was a severe miscalculation that the series never recovered from. Pity.

Sticking the Landing …
Typically the most difficult part of any series, the writers elected to present an utterly illogical conclusion that when coupled with the sloppy characterisations resulted in a total failure of the suspension of disbelief. Not only that but the manner in which the ultimate problem is resolved – that saves the day for the group – simply does not make sense in the context of what has been presented before. When writers break their own story rules, it clearly proves that they have run out of ideas.

In the Final Analysis ….
Like I said before, season 2 was a missed opportunity to build on the characters and to allow that development to drive the plot along organically. However, unlike the first season, the writers obviously decided that the characters needed to accomodate the plot narrative, no matter how much that upset the characterisation they had put in place. Season 2 ended on a cliff-hanger but one that is less fulfilling than that in the first run. Certainly, a season 3 has been contemplated but based on the disappointment this time round, I am not sure if it would be worth the effort.

★★

The Umbrella Academy is streaming at Netflix. Check out the trailer below.

still there’s more

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