Netflix Is Cutting ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season 4 Down To Just 6 Episodes
While The Umbrella Academy, once a top-performer for Netflix, has managed to last all the way to season 4, its coming with a bit of a price for its final season.
It’s been announced that season 4 of The Umbrella Academy will be just six episodes long. That’s a huge departure from the previous three seasons which were all ten episodes each, with most episodes between 50-60 minutes long.
Showrunner Steve Blackman confirmed the change on Twitter, but maintains the episodes will be good:
I actually think that The Umbrella Academy might benefit from a bit of slimming down, particularly after last season which really felt like it dragged. But this is almost assuredly being done for cost reasons as Netflix looks to cut back, and is a middleground between say, a full 10 episode, 10 hour order, and reversing the renewal entirely, which is not impossible in this day and age of streaming, and has happened before with Netflix shows like GLOW. At least The Umbrella Academy will be allowed an actual ending, which is more than many other Netflix series can say.
The early seasons of The Umbrella Academy were dark horse sleeper performers on Netflix, but season 3 felt like a misstep. In addition to seemingly lower viewership, season 3 dropped significantly in terms of audience scores. Season 1 and 2 had 85% and 88% scores on Rotten Tomatoes respectively, while season 3 fell hard to a 55% among viewers. There does not seem to be a targeted review bombing campaign based around some specific issues (like Elliot Page’s transition storyline, for instance), but rather people just…didn’t like the season. And I’d certainly agree with that sentiment. It was not very good.
Right now, there’s no announcement on the length of the six episodes, as sometimes we see shortened seasons with longer episodes to make up some of the difference. But my guess is that they’ll be normal length and this season will simply be shorter on the whole than the last three. Which may be for the best.
Still, overall, it’s a good move for Netflix to allow The Umbrella Academy to finish off a storyline it’s spent three years building. More shows deserve this chance, even if the compromise is a reduced order of episodes. At least it’s some amount of time to wrap things up, as opposed to ending on a steep cliffhanger like we’ve seen from so many other killed-too-soon productions on the service.
Hopefully The Umbrella Academy can turn things around for season 4, and benefit from a bit of editing. We’ll find out this upcoming year.