It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s the latest and greatest dead horse from corporate cash cow, Marvel Studios. It’s WandaVision! *cue one of many whimsical theme songs that will be the only thing you hear on TikTok for the next week*
If you’ve recently gotten one of your limbs and/or extremities stuck underneath a large boulder and haven’t had time to catch up with the latest episode, don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything. I’ll leave it up to the internet and your friends to do that.
Set in the fictional town of Westview (fictional both to us, but also in universe), this real TV show (real both to us, but also in universe) focuses on superhero couple, Vision and Wanda Maximoff. Following their daily life in a quaint suburban town, the duo gets up to all sorts of whacky sitcom style hijinks.
The unique selling point of the show, aside from being an actually good Marvel show, is the way each episode is based in a different century of television history; whereby it starts in the 1950s – 60s and generally goes up in sections of ten years for each episode.
Each episode really feels as though it could come out of that century, with all the appropriate tropes and clichés of that genre tactfully incorporated. It’s self-aware enough so that one can tell it’s a joke, but not so overused or obvious that it can still be genuine to the source material. The show, true to its sitcom tag, is still funny and at certain parts works as a standalone comedy.
The real appeal of the programme, however, is the mystery aspect. Not all is as seems in the small town of Westview. In a unique choice, I imagine inspired by season 2 of The Boys, Wandavision opts to release each episode on a week-to-week basis; a choice I whole heartedly back.
This harkens back to how television used to function, back in ye olden days before streaming, in which (dare I have to explain) you had to wait seven days before the next episode of your show was on the telly. An obvious choice given the inspirations behind it.
Additionally, this decision increases the overall experience and enjoyability of the mysteries behind the show; something which Netflix’s Stranger Things failed, in part, to achieve. Despite its popularity, and the unassailable success that this program became, it would really fall flat when it came to mystery. With all episodes available right off the bat, it’s possible to watch them all in one sitting. This leaves very little time to ponder the questions surrounding the show or for its fanbase to come up with interesting and entertaining theories.
Back when it came out in 1990, Twin Peaks was the talk of every town. Each week the public would come together, at work, at school, and at home, to discuss episodes as they came out and theorise about their inner workings and deeper meanings. For some it was more than just theorising, it was a sense of community and a hobby. This just isn’t possible when a show releases every episode at once. I don’t think there has been a show to come out since Game of Thrones that has managed to capture an audience’s attention in such a fashion. However, it appears that Wandavision has.
By releasing week by week, Wandavision hascreated more and more hype each week and become more popular and talked about as time goes on. Fans of the show are able to freak out about the twists and turn at the same time, there’s no way to watch ahead and get immediate answers or spoil it for people.
Of course, the mystery aspect is made redundant when you realise that every major plot point was revealed in the comics over ten years ago.
Overall, this is a great piece of television. It beautifully blends two genres together in a far more cohesive manner than I could have imagined was possible from a company like Marvel Studios. Even without an interest in any Marvel franchise, I would still recommend this to anyone who enjoys mysteries, has an appreciation for the history of TV, or who forgot to unsubscribe from Disney+ after finishing The Mandalorian.
Illustrated by Sofia Toi