How The Umbrella Academy Brought 1960s Dallas Back To Life

Unlike in the movies, time travel does not yet exist — film and television continue to serve as the closest thing we have to a time machine. Hollywood pulls it off thanks to a funny little French phrase, mise en scène, which is the overall look and feel of a production. This is done brilliantly in season 2 of the Nextflix series "The Umbrella Academy," where early 1960s Dallas, TX is brought to life.

The season opens with the dysfunctional superhero siblings transported back in time to prevent the end of the world. Herein lies the magic of Hollywood. How do you film in a time and place that no longer exists? In this instance, you head north of the border. Or in the case of "The Umbrella Academy" production team, you stay north of the border, as the series is filmed almost entirely in Toronto, Canada. Remarkably, only one sequence from the entire season was filmed in Dallas. How did they do it?

Looked More Like Dallas Than Dallas Did

Unfortunately for showrunner Steve Blackman, re-creating historic Dallas was not as simple as filming in Texas. In an interview with, Blackman explained how the production team couldn't find a street in Dallas that looked anything in 1963. Instead, they found it in Hamilton, Ontario of all places. Blackman said:

"...we found a street that looked more like Dallas than Dallas did. And the wonderful thing about the street is, it was sort of stuck in the 1960s, it really had a lot of beautiful character. We put up some signs and a few things, but we didn't have to do a ton to the street."

This is where the magic of mise en scène comes into play. The production design team put up signage from the era, lined the streets with period cars, and focused a lot of attention on costumes. Blackman told That Hashtag Show they got lucky because the locals played along and let them dress up their storefronts. Because of this, the art and production department was able to feature practical effects rather than less-realistic computer-generated visual effects. And with that, you turn a sleepy little Canadian town into 1963 Dallas.

The impressive transition to a bygone era was documented in photos here by The Hamilton Spectator, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the production.

Blackman also dropped a shocking surprise about season 2. The only scene filmed in Dallas was the scene on the Grassy Knoll, from where President Kennedy is assassinated. The shoot took a couple of days and Blackman called the experience at the location "humbling."

The More Things Change...

Despite being set nearly six decades ago, the narrative of season 2 ominously mirrors the present day. Vanya, played by the recently transitioned Elliot Page, struggles with their sexuality. Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) finds herself thrust into an intense civil rights movement. This wasn't done by accident. Blackman purposely chose 1963 as the landing spot for the siblings, pointing to the chaotic period for the country and the conspiracy theories that emerged from the Kennedy assassination.

The departure from Dallas at the end of season 2 offered no reprieve for the family. The siblings were in for quite the surprise upon returning from the 1960s to the present day, finding a fractured reality and alternate versions of themselves. Fans of "The Umbrella Academy" won't have to wait long to find out what's next for the Hargreeves. After the immediate success of season 2, Netflix ordered a third season, and recently released posters reveal some of the new faces and characters joining the show. Season 3 is slated to debut sometime in 2022, with no official release date set.