January 15 marked the debut of WandaVision the latest Marvel series, and the first of several new long-form series that will stream exclusively on Disney+. Fans of the Avengers films will be very familiar with our leading characters, Wanda Maximoff and Vision, even if the setting is opposite of the slick, modern, and explosive Marvel Cinematic Universe films—starting in black and white and in front of a live studio audience, in fact.
WandaVision brings the MCU to the world of classic television, as Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) find themselves living as a married couple in a perfect suburban ideal. Set following the events of Avengers: Endgame (a fact that should immediately have fans of the films curious), the two super-powered beings are happily going about the domestic dream, albeit with some holes in their memories to the how and the why. They soon discover mysterious cracks in their reality and realize things are not quite right in this quiet suburb.
How to Watch WandaVision
Exclusive to Disney+, the first two episodes of the nine-episode series landed Friday, January 15, with new episodes due to drop each Friday following. Disney+ is available by subscription starting at $7.99 a month or $69.99 per year when paid in advance. Subscribers can stream all of the Disney+ content through the website or apps on most mobile technology, smart TVs, and streaming devices.
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What is WandaVision About
Stylistically, each episode takes the pair to another decade and genre of the family sitcom, kicking off with the black-and-white world of The Dick Van Dyke Show followed by Bewitched—complete with a live studio audience. The balance that the creative team struck between style and irreverence is one of the strongest charms of WandaVision so far. Clearly, a lot of attention was paid to the shows that it pays tribute to, from Ron Petrie’s living room on The Dick Van Dyke Show to the costumes, camera angles, and filming styles of each era. The dialogue is both spot-on in tone and just a little cheesy in all the right ways, even as Wanda and Vision joke about his non-human nature and her superpowers. And both Olsen and Bettany are nailing the range of delivery and physical comedy of their varied iconic television predecessors; it’s clear they are having fun stepping outside of the intensity usually reserved for our superheroes.
Hanging over all the sculpted hair, cheery smiles, and tongue-in-cheek sincerity is just the right hint of something ominous, which grows a little in each episode. As the series moves forward in time, through shows more like Family Ties, Family Matters, and even Modern Family, there is more than a little Twilight Zone going on behind the scenes. It will be interesting to see what’s really happening to Wanda and Vision and who is pulling strings.
What sitcom would be complete without a nosey neighbor popping in the back door or over the fence, intent on knowing all the neighborhood gossip, especially when one is trying to keep a superhero-sized secret? For Wanda and Vision, Agnes is played by familiar comedian and character actor Kathryn Hahn (Transparent and Parks and Recreation). The series also includes several Marvel film characters such as Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) from the Thor films; Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), Scott Lang’s FBI parole agent in Ant-Man and the Wasp; and an all-grown-up Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), the precocious daughter of Carol Danver’s best friend in Captain Marvel.
Marvel fans should also keep a lookout for several MCU Easter eggs, as well as a few threads that may come up later, particularly in the quirky faux commercial breaks in each episode.
WandaVision was developed and written by Jac Schaeffer (The Hustle, Timer) and directed by Matt Shakman (Game of Thrones, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Good Wife, and House) and marks the first series of Phase 4 of the MCU. So far, so good, too, with the first two episodes out of the gate hitting a 97% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 86% audience score.
Interested in more? Check out a fun behind-the-scenes featurette on the series:
If the first two episodes are any indication, the series is both going to be a delight to watch and an excitingly different next step for Marvel as a whole, not to mention for our heroes. New episodes of WandaVision arrive on Fridays on Disney+.
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