TV + Movies

The Umbrella Academy has quietly become Netflix's biggest show right now

by Isaac McIntyre

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The Umbrella Academy may have flown under the radar during its Netflix debut in 2019, but it can no longer be denied after an explosive, time-warping second season ⁠— the quirky superhero series has now been solidified as one of the streaming giant’s biggest breakout hits.

The tongue-in-cheek superhero romp, adapted from a comic series of the same name by Gerard Way, first debuted on Netflix in August last year. The opening season was fairly well-received, but failed to truly set the online world alight.

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The show's second season failed to follow suit, in the best way possible. After the (spoilers!) apocalyptic end to the first season, Umbrella Academy’s sophomore showing promised to be bigger, bolder, and even zanier than the first. And, in time, the Netflix adaptation delivered in spades.

It wasn't just on-screen that it delivered either. The Umbrella Academy has kept Netflix on top for another year, with monster-sized viewing numbers.

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When you think of super-sized streaming hits, older shows like The Office, Parks & Recreation, and Shameless spring to mind. In the latest Nielsen's Top Streaming Shows in the US list, however, The Umbrella Academy handily beat them all.

The Umbrella Academy turned the dial up to 11 in its sophomore season.
Netflix
The Umbrella Academy turned the dial up to 11 in its sophomore season.

The list, focusing a month back on the week of August 3-9, revealed the top ten shows being watched on streaming services across the US. Big hitters like Grey’s Anatomy (918m), The Office (897m), and Supernatural (315m) all appeared.

It was The Umbrella Academy that cleared the Top 10 pack, clocking up a whopping 3.01 billion minutes viewed across its opening week. To compare, Grey’s Anatomy in second had a huge 1.13 billion minutes ⁠— still 1.88 billion less.

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The Umbrella Academy’s first and second seasons were watched more than the next three on the list combined. Here’s the full Nielsen list breakdown:

The Umbrella Academy leads Nielsen's Top Streaming Shows

  • The Umbrella Academy, 3.01 billion
  • Shameless, 1.13 billion
  • Grey’s Anatomy, 918 million
  • The Office, 897 million
  • Criminal Minds, 697 million
  • NCIS, 524 million
  • In the Dark, 418 million
  • Dexter, 316 million
  • Supernatural, 315 million
  • Parks and Recreation, 304 million

In house, The Umbrella Academy is following in the footsteps of a number of other Netflix shows too. Last year Stranger Things led the list on release, and the debut season of fantasy epic The Witcher trailed close behind in second.

Netflix's Umbrella Academy has been picking up steam since its shocking Season 1 finale.
Netflix
Netflix's Umbrella Academy has been picking up steam since its shocking Season 1 finale.

Unfortunately, Netflix has yet to lock in a third season for the smash-hit superhero series, despite its huge record. Season 3 does seem inevitable though, especially considering there is so much still to learn about the Hargreeves kids.

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Netflix usually has an 18-month turnaround on follow-up seasons so Umbrella Academy fans can expect Season 3 to have an early 2022 release date. This may be a little off due to all the 2020 shutdowns, however. We’ll keep you posted.