The great thing about a world with an abundance of superhero series–last year we had more than ever to choose from–is you have a choice. Two television series from 2019 about superheroes that fell far from our “best of” list were The Umbrella Academy and The Boys. Both adaptations of comics and graphic novels, they were bleak and lacking in any hopeful or spirited messaging, choosing instead to continue the search for the next Frank Miller or Alan Moore shocker. One featured Ellen Page as an emotionless sort-of sibling in an apocalypse and the other the rape of a young new superheroine among an irredeemable story reflecting as many real-world horrors as the creators could find. Oddly (and probably not coincidentally) the two competing networks Netflix and Amazon Studios released Season 2 trailers for their dueling superhero shows both on the same day this week.
I reviewed the first season of The Boys here at borg and The Umbrella Academy here. I found The Boys exploitative and despite the always impressive acting prowess of Karl Urban, ultimately a show to skip, and The Umbrella Academy slow and boring with weak writing. Ultimately if one is salvageable it would be The Umbrella Academy, which had a few promising characters even if it lacked in the production value department (it also has a stylish international marketing campaign). But it also is going back to the well, returning to the tired trope of the JFK assassination a la Watchmen. Frankly, in a year of bleak reality, I’ll be skipping the substance-deprived darkness. For my money I’d rather re-watch episodes of CW’s spectacularly good, escapist Stargirl series for my superhero fix, and if I want dark I’ll re-watch WB’s sci-fi/fantasy Swamp Thing or Netflix’s fantasy/horror Chilling Adventures of Sabrina–each far superior to what we’ve seen in these series.
No surprises in these trailers, it looks like much more of the same. Here are the two new trailers (NSFW for The Boys):
There’s no law of fandom that says fanboys and fangirls are required to watch everything the studios throw our way. Use your own discretion on whether you return for these two series. The Umbrella Academy returns July 31 and The Boys returns September 4.
C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg