It has been revealed that The Umbrella Academy's fourth season will only include six episodes. That represents a significant change from the first three seasons, which consisted of 10 episodes apiece, with the average episode lasting between 50 and 60 minutes.
On Twitter, showrunner Steve Blackman acknowledged the modification but insisted the new episodes will still be fine.
It’s true. But you’re going to love them. https://t.co/jV9ysCcPK0— Steve Blackman ( SteveBlackmanTV) December 14, 2022Advertisement
The Umbrella Academy could need some weight loss, especially after the last season, which felt incredibly dragged out. However, as Netflix looks to cut costs, it is almost certain that this decision was made for financial reasons. It is a compromise between, a full 10 episode, 10 hour order, and cancelling the renewal entirely, which is not impossible in this day and age of streaming and has happened before with Netflix shows like GLOW. A real finale will be given to The Umbrella Academy, which is more than many other Netflix series can offer.
The Umbrella Academy's first two seasons were unexpected sleeper hits on Netflix, but season three seemed like a step back. In addition to what appears to be a decline in viewership, season 3's audience ratings fell precipitously. Rotten Tomatoes gave seasons 1 and 2 ratings of 85% and 88%, respectively, whereas season 3 received a harsh 55% from viewers. People just didn't like the season, rather than there being a targeted review bombing operation based on certain specific faults.
The length of the six episodes has not yet been announced because larger episodes may be used to make up for shorter seasons on occasion. However, predict that they will be of normal duration and that this season will generally be shorter than the previous three, which could be advantageous.
Overall though, allowing The Umbrella Academy to wrap up a plot it's been working on for three years is a smart move by Netflix. Even though the compromise is a smaller number of episodes, more shows should have this opportunity. Instead of ending on a severe cliffhanger like so many other killed-too-soon shows on the service, at least there is some time to wrap things up.