The first season of The Umbrella Academy has kicked off with rave reviews from both fans and critics alike, and a second season is already in the works. But what are some lessons the Netflix series could’ve learned from the original comics? Making an adaption out of a beloved work is never going to be an easy venture. There are many sacrifices that need to be made in order to bring a work of fiction alive on-screen. So with that in mind, let’s talk about all the things in the Netflix series that we’d have just kept the same for the purposes of some pretty cool storytelling.
7 The Extent Of Hazel & Cha-Cha's Madness
One of the major changes that the show’s producers decided to make was giving both Hazel and Cha-Cha a bit of a lobotomy, so to speak. In the comics, Hazel and Cha-Cha are as skilled as they are psychotic. They’re the kind of people that take a sentence like, “You’d have to tear me limb from limb to get that pie recipe.” literally. Not to mention that they kill Klaus.
Meanwhile, the Hazel and Cha-Cha of the series (while still clearly very violent and capable of doing all kinds of terrible things to get the job done) feel a little like bumbling bureaucrats too unhappy with the direction of their meaningless time-displaced existence to execute the job (Five) properly.
6 Alien Hargreeves
While the Netflix series kind of alludes to the fact that Hargreeves may or may not be precisely what he seems, it’s never as upfront about it as the comics are. There is, of course, one scene of him leaving his wife behind, but the whole 'alien' part takes a backseat to the 'crazy dude experimenting on kids' part. Maybe that’s because they have plans for the character later on down the road, but it's definitely a noticeable difference. In the comics, one of the reasons that Hargreeves has such wealth and influence is because of all the things he’s provided our humble blue dot with by using his alien intelligence to help humanity advance as a race of people.
5 The Extent Of Five’s “Corrections”
For the better part of the Netflix series and most of the comics up to this point, a lot of Number Five’s backstory after leaving the Umbrella Academy isn’t addressed all that much. In the Netflix series, we get a brief montage of what happened after The Handler found him. Number Five recounts how the brought him in, sent him out on missions, trained him, and “corrected” him until he was time’s perfect assassin.
What they fail to mention is that Number Five went through some massive surgeries while in service to Temps Aeternalis. He had the DNA of time’s most famous killers’ fused with his own. They removed his emotions and empathy so that he would have no qualms taking life at their beck and call. It would have been great to see those surgeries and the lack of empathy created by the agency, if there was time.
4 Temps Aeternalis
Okay, so the Netflix series didn’t exactly get rid of Temps Aeternalis. They took what was useful to the story, corporatized it, and made it run like a well-oiled machine called “The Commission”. But honestly, “The Commission”? Really? “The Commission”? May as well have called them “The Corporation” or “The Antagonists”. From latin, Aeteranalis translates as “Eternal” or “Everlasting” and Temps, a French word derived from the Latin tempus, which can mean time or necessity. So there is an organization called either Time Everlasting or maybe something like Necessary Eternal. And then it becomes The Commission. It certainly doesn’t have the same ring to it.
3 The Scope Of Hargreeves Influence
While the Netflix series doesn't exactly make it clear just who or what Reginald Hargreeves is, it does a pretty good job of showing the audience how wealthy and powerful he is. Once he has adopted the children of the Umbrella Academy it seems like Reginald Hargreeves is on the up and up. What the Netflix series doesn't really go into, however, is the massive impact that Hargreeves’ arrival had on the planet earth.
From granting chimpanzees sentience, to creating a levitation belt built to help the Umbrella Academy levitate towards danger. Or away from it. Potentially. It’s hard to find an aspect of daily life that Hargreeves didn’t improve. He even made the most important meal of the day better with Clever Crisp cereal.
2 Taking Out Vanya
The Netflix series seems to have a hard time matching the violent and often dark tone of the comics. There’s the stuff we discussed earlier like Number Five’s “corrections” and basically everything about Hazel and Cha-Cha, but something else they softened probably came for a much different reason. In the comics, when it comes time to handle the “White Violin” situation, Number Five, having had all of the “corrections” and none of the “empathy”, has absolutely zero problems with introducing the back of Vanya’s skull to his dear friend Mr. (or Mrs.) Hollow-point. Vanya doesn't die because of this, but she certainly isn’t playing -- or speaking like she used to. And basically what it boils down to is, you can't just waste Ellen Page like that. That’d be even worse than that whole Commission-naming fiasco everyone’s been talking about.
1 The Scope Of Klaus’ Power
Speaking of taking hollow-points to the skull - in the comics, when Hazel and Cha-Cha take Klaus in order to get closer to Number Five, they actually kill him. Like, bullet through the amygdala, having conversations with the big Sam Elliott in the sky - dead. But do you think that stops our old buddy Klaus? Nope. He pops back down from purgatory, hops in the body of Cha-Cha and paints the walls with Hazel’s brains before adding a nice Cha-Cha finishing coat. He also resurrects himself, telepathically stops the moon from destroying the earth, and sends his essence through the screen of a TV to wake up Spaceboy after he’s been taken. But the possession thing was just - just so so good.