Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy are two of Netflix’s most popular shows to have come out in recent times. Considering how close their release dates were, fans wondered which one to watch first. On the other hand, people who haven’t started the show asked questions such as, “Which one’s more popular?” Well, look no further for your answers.
In terms of viewing hours, The Umbrella Academy is more popular than Stranger Things. However, Stranger Things is a much better series when it comes to the plot, screenplay, and originality.
If you look at both these shows, they’re pretty different in terms of the basic premise, the characters, and even the tonality. On one hand, Stranger Things takes you back to the ’80s and depicts the world from the perspective of pre-teen kids. On the other hand, The Umbrella Academy is a story of cynical superheroes fighting their traumas while reluctantly saving the world.
From a broader perspective, both fall under the sci-fi genre, but even in that, the core concepts are entirely different. However, the main difference lies in the originality. Stranger Things is an original tale written and created by the Duffer Brothers, whereas The Umbrella Academy is based on the comics by Dark Horse Comics.
Based on Nielsen’s viewership numbers, The Umbrella Academy is right at the top, with about 2.5 billion minutes watched as of July 21. Stranger Things comes in second with about 2.3 billion minutes. This indicates that the show of anti-heroes is clearly more popular among fans. But does this make it any better?
Now, I’m just going to go ahead and say it—Stranger Things is the better show. Not just the latest season, but even when you look at it as a whole. The storytelling, character development, and even the use of background score are far superior.
Yes, Season 3 was a huge letdown, and I was pretty skeptical about watching Season 4, but who knew what the Duffer Brothers had in store for us! The horror element was cranked up and genuinely freaked us out. The way each character was depicted made us invested in their story and emotions. Don’t worry; I didn’t forget how good Vecna was as the show’s main villain.
Everything fell in place almost perfectly with the latest season, and I had very few complaints. I do understand the advantage this show has over The Umbrella Academy.
It is an original story nearing its end, meaning there are more answers than questions, more payoffs than setups, and we’ve never seen something like this before. This immediately makes any series a better watch.
On the other hand, The Umbrella Academy is a story of anti-heroes adapted from the comics. So, there are going to be comparisons with the source material. If that wasn’t enough, the show was released at around the same time as Season 3 of The Boys.
The Boys is not exactly an anti-hero story, but it does take an offbeat path to tell a superhero story. So, fans would naturally compare the Netflix show with it, and naturally, The Boys would come out on top in every possible way.
But despite these comparisons, even as a standalone show, The Umbrella Academy seems to have a few gaps. After the first season, the second and third felt repetitive, where the plot and narrative tropes were reused and recreated. This did put me off a bit.
From an overall plot perspective, the show already portrayed a world-level threat in Season 1. So, Seasons 2 and 3 should have raised the stakes or taken a different direction to depict something new.
However, I do think the character work is better in this show. Considering they’ve gone through a lot in life, there’s so much more to build upon, unlike Hawkins’s pre-teens. The writers capitalize on that and give us some interesting characters, such as Viktor and Klaus Hargreeves.
Overall, The Umbrella Academy seems to be facing the same problem Stranger Things did in Season 3—a lack of plot which barely moves the story ahead. Hopefully, it will get better in Season 4. The creator said that Season 4 would make a grand culmination to the show, but we don’t know if it will be the final one yet.
So, if you’re a fan wondering what to watch, here’s my verdict. Both these shows are worth a watch. In fact, Stranger Things is a must-watch if you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s.
About The Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy is an American superhero series based on the comic book series of the same name written by Gerard Way. The series was created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater.
The series revolves around seven children gifted with superpowers., who billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves turns into a team called The Umbrella Academy. The superhero siblings reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death and the threat of an imminent apocalypse.
About Stranger Things
Stranger Things is an American sci-fi horror TV series created by The Duffer Brothers for Netflix. It stars an ensemble cast of Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Sadie Sink, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery and Maya Hawke as key characters.
Set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the show follows the story of a young girl called Eleven, who has superpowers and her adventures with her group of friends. These dangerous adventurers contain surviving in and saving a town that has an evil parallel universe attached to it.
The show will have five seasons in total. Season 4 was on a break and will return with volume 2 on July 1.