Just when it seems like Netflix is done doling out shows that instantly become classics, the public was hit with The Umbrella Academy, based on the comic series of the same name by Gerard Way. He turned out to be much more than just the orchestrator of the Black Parade.
From the excellent story that has equal parts gut-wrenching humor and tear-jerking drama to the Tim Burton-esque atmosphere and style, the show really is something that will stand out amongst the many things to watch these days. It’s smart, witty, and most importantly, has top notch characters.
They are what make this show so real. Throughout the course of the first season, you feel what they feel, as if you’ve known them as lifelong friends. Taking a note from The Haunting of Hill House, we got to see this tattered family (even though they’re mostly just a bunch of kids taken and kept in the same house, by the same creepy dude) when they were young and in the current day as adults. Well, minus Number Five. Poor guy.
With that said, it’s time to take this family of superpowered kids, and rank them in order of best to worst. As much as I love monkey Alfred, the likes of Pogo and other side characters will not be included. My only comment on them is that Hazel is infinitely better than Cha-Cha.
First up, the king of The Academy, is Klaus. Klaus is a character you’ll instantly attach yourself to as a viewer. He’s funny and sarcastic, but through the humor has so much hidden darkness that it makes you question what he’s really got going on inside that head. You can’t help but root for him. Plus, he can talk to the dead, which just adds to the amazing complexity of his character. I expect great things in future seasons for him, especially with his powers increasing.
Next up is Number Five. Five is a character you’ll get frustrated with, but also be behind every step of the way. He’s a little messed up from his long past, as evidenced by his infatuation with a mannequin. But he’s lovable nonetheless. You’re always kept wondering what trick he has up his sleeves, or what plans he has next. Coupled with the fact that he’s portrayed by an amazing actor who really nails an old man trapped in a kid’s body, Five is easily one of the most intriguing and memorable characters.
Third, we have Vanya. Maybe this is a bit controversial, but Vanya is the definition of a well-constructed and well-rounded character. We watch her journey, from abused, to used, to villain, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. Her whole arch makes sense, and resonates so deeply, that even as she’s tearing the world apart in the end, you almost don’t want her to be stopped. She’s the character you can relate to, and she really does have the best plot line in the show.
Falling smack dab in the middle of the bunch, we have Luther. Luther was a character I struggled with in the show. At times he’s a lovable oaf and at other times you want to push his hulking frame off a cliff. He often is the character you yell at the screen for because of his decisions, but you can’t help but feel for him and what he’s been through. I really hope he starts to find his way more in further episodes.
Next up, we have Ben. I loved Ben, and the only reason he’s this low is because we don’t get enough of Ben in the show. His power is the most unique of the group and his death, while hinted at, is never fully explained. Now coming forward through Klaus, I expect Ben to get a lot more screen time in future seasons.
Second to last is Allison. Allison’s power, while memorable, is ultimately her downfall. The fact that she used it to create her tragic backstory ends up making that backstory less impactful on the viewer. She’s a bit of a one-note character, and while you really do root for her in terms of her daughter, there’s not much else going on. Honestly, if she had really been killed by Vanya she may have left a much more lasting impression.
Last, and certainly least, is the one and only Diego. Diego really was the definition of one-note, even more so than Allison. He’s this brooding jerk who really doesn’t do much except be mean and crass. While it’s a personality needed for the show, it almost automatically makes him a least favorite. The only saving grace for Diego is that he begins to lighten up in the finale, so hopefully that will continue on.
And that’s that, the current ranking of The Umbrella Academy after season one. Make sure to check this show out, and meet all of these fantastically created characters. It’ll pull you in right from the start, all the way to the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers. There is so much more yet to come from this group of superheroes.
Jackson Horvat is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree with his rankings? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.