Of course I’m eagerly awaiting the second season of The Umbrella Academy, but what I really want is a Klaus and Ben spinoff series.
With frequent drop-ins from Diego, obviously.
As much as I enjoyed the ensemble cast of The Umbrella Academy, my favorite episodes were those which heavily featured Klaus and Ben, with many of my favorite character moments coming from Klaus and Diego’s interactions.
And I’m far from alone in this.
Even just a quick scroll through Twitter or a cursory glance atThe Umbrella Academy tag on Tumblr immediately highlights Klaus as being the far and away fan favorite.
Part of this comes from Robert Sheehan’s performance as Klaus, which is his best since his last role as a superpowered misfit — Nathan Young, from the show Misfits.
And, on the surface, Klaus’ sarcastic hedonism easily draws comparisons to Nathan.
However, the characters diverge pretty quickly in terms of their depth, and by The Umbrella Academy’s fourth episode, it’s obvious that Klaus’ smart mouth and dumb decision-making mask the burden and suffering associated with his powers.
As Sheehan himself describes, “[Klaus] is completely burdened by pain, so that’s what the dead are, that’s what drugs are trying to temporarily salve. He’s a very, very fragile creature.”
With Klaus, we’re given a superhero who is a complete and utter mess of a person and uses sarcasm to cover up his trauma.
No wonder we millennials love him so much.
And of course, to love Klaus is also to love Ben.
In fact, one of the ways in which The Umbrella Academy improves on the comics is by expanding Ben’s role, both as an individual and in relation to Klaus.
Among the seven siblings, Ben is the lone member of the family who — from the very beginning of the series — cares about Klaus’ well-being.
Whereas Klaus’ other siblings constantly brush him off, ignore him completely or forget about him entirely (like after that gunfight at the mansion, for instance), Ben sticks by his brother, encouraging him to sober up, comforting him, and generally just being a good, supportive brother.
And, yes, part of this probably has to do with the fact that Klaus’ powers allow him to actually be one of the few — if not only people — with whom Ben can communicate, but you likewise get the impression that Ben and Klaus have had a strong relationship with one another even before his untimely death.
If anything, his death only strengthened that relationship. Justin H. Min, who plays Ben, believes that “Ben chooses to stay” even as you see him start to gain “a sort of independence and agency” as the show goes on.
Ben doesn’t stick around because he has to or because he has no other choice — he does it because he cares about his brother and wants Klaus to get better and stop throwing his life away.
How could you not love him?
With Ben and Klaus, we actually get to see a relatively functional familial relationship within the wildly dysfunctional Hargreeves family.
Sure, it’s between a long dead ghost and his drug-addicted brother, but hey, that’s the Hargreeves for you.
The relationship between the two provides depth to Klaus, who is a character that could easily become one note and predictable without broader emotional depth. It also makes Ben more than just the brother who died or a mysterious plot point that needs to be addressed and answered at some point.
These are two brothers who actually act like brothers — meaning that they often tease one another and sometimes get on each other’s nerves, but there’s never a moment where you don’t believe that they’d absolutely go to bat for one another.
Their relationship is characterized by love and empathy, rather than the lack of or avoidance of it, and it’s that relationship between the two — along with their individually engaging and likable characters — that makes us want more of them.
And undoubtedly, the second season will make good on that.
However, The Umbrella Academy is an ensemble show with a pretty big and ambitious aim of saving the world.
The second season will probably address some of the bigger questions that we’re left with at the end of the first season — how did Ben die, what is the full extent of Klaus’ newfound abilities — but it only makes sense that the show as a whole can’t (and shouldn’t ) focus solely on the individual character arcs and adventures of Klaus and Ben.
But boy, would I watch the shit out of a spin-off show that does.
I’d love something slightly less weighty and ambitious than a show about saving the world. Something that would play to the strengths of both the characters, literally and figuratively — like an off-beat detective show.
Klaus’ ability to talk to the dead isn’t necessarily great in a battle, but it sure would be helpful when trying to track down murderers and other such perpetrators if you could talk to the dead victims.
And if he did need to kick some ass? Well, then that’s where Ben would come in.
We’d get to see Klaus snark up and down crime scenes, obviously with Diego in tow at least once or twice, watch as Ben figured out the culprit and try to filter his conclusions through Klaus (with hilarious results, I’m sure), and enjoy some badass fight scenes when it was time to take the bad guy down.
A smaller spin-off like that (or not like that — I’ll really take any sort of spin-off) would give us more of that brotherly dynamic that was so great in The Umbrella Academy, while also giving Klaus a sense of purpose, Ben a sense of agency and the audience more great content.
So, get on it, Netflix! Make all our dreams come true and give us the Ben and Klaus centered spinoff we all deserve!
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