TV Review: WandaVision, S01

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Julian Chua

Last year, audiences were starved of blockbuster content in theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many film corporations were affected by this, one of the most notable being Marvel Studios, the company producing one of the most popular franchises of this generation: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2020, the MCU was completely missing from theater release schedules for the first time since 2009. However, one year later, Marvel Studios has finally made its grand return to relevance in the form of a streaming series on Disney Plus – a series that might be one of their greatest creations yet.

Having started in January 2021 and concluded in March of the same year, WandaVision is the first ever original series produced by Marvel Studios. The nine-episode limited series follows the superpowered couple of Wanda Maximoff and Vision in a sitcom TV show set in a town called Westview. Of course, this is no ordinary sitcom; soon enough, the series descends into utter Marvel madness.

It’s quite fitting that Marvel Studios’ first television series is quite literally a spin on American family TV. And surprisingly, the gimmick works. The first three episodes drop the audience right into the middle of a sitcom that feels so authentic. Every part of this show that takes place in Westview feels so true to the sitcom it’s mimicking, whether that be a black and white 40s show or a 70s technicolor episode. It’s so well executed that it feels off for an MCU project – and that’s part of the fun. In these episodes, WandaVision sprinkles a few moments that feel off and unsettling to make it clear that not everything is as it seems. The mystery of what’s truly going on is part of what got me invested in this show.

But WandaVision is not just a sitcom. After the fourth episode, the series becomes a half-comedy, half sci-fi drama. The sci-fi drama part follows SWORD, a military organization outside of Westview investigating what is happening in the town. I feel like SWORD was introduced into the story a little bit too quickly. The sitcom half of the story was something very creative and interesting, and to spill the beans on what was really happening in just the fourth episode felt a bit off. I wish the show spent more time with only the sitcom for at least one more episode. That being said, I did find the SWORD subplot to still be entertaining, even though it was less interesting than the sitcom. We get to spend time with some charming characters outside of Westview, which makes the show a lot more fun.

Another thing I like about this show is what it’s able to expand about the MCU. For example, we’ve only seen a bit of the MCU’s magic side in the 2016 film Doctor Strange. In this series, we get to see more of how sorcery works in this universe through the witch powers of Wanda Maximoff herself. Speaking of which, I also love how they expanded Wanda’s character in this show. The films only scratch the surface of who Wanda Maximoff really is. This series really delves a lot more into how her life is like, and how the traumatic events we see throughout those films impact her as a person. WandaVision elevated Wanda to being one of my favorite characters in the MCU, and I’m excited to see more of her in the future.

Of course, WandaVision is not a perfect show. It falls into a couple of the MCU’s common traps. For example, the ending episode feels mostly like a generic final battle. A lot of that episode is the standard CGI laser fight that’s nothing new to Marvel, and I wish they had gotten more creative than that. Another issue I have with this show is that it doesn’t stick to its premise enough. This show has a very creative idea, but I think that we just didn’t get enough of it.

However, even though the series has some low lows, it also has the highest of highs. WandaVision is a landmark achievement from the MCU, and it shows that the franchise clearly has not reached its full potential yet. I hope that Marvel Studios can learn from this series’ failures and successes. This show gets a 9/10 from me.