Connect with us

TV News

WandaVision Episode 1 – Review

Published

on

Golden ‘Vision’ or TV dog’s dinner?

WandaVision Episode One Image
Marvel Studios

Episode one of the long-awaited WandaVision series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, but is it any good, here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

WandaVision is the first new Marvel material since Avengers: Endgame and Spiderman: Far From Home in 2019. It’s also the first element of Phase 4 of the MCU. It was originally scheduled for release midway through 2020 but, needless to say, COVID delayed production.

Given the delay and the lack of new MCU material, anticipation around this series has inevitably been heightened. I’m sure that the episodes will be gobbled up by Marvel obsessives like Vision gobbles up…well, nothing because he’s an android.

The nine-episode series fuses the MCU with homages to iconic sitcoms from the 1950 to the present day. With Wanda Maximoff aka The Scarlet Witch and Vision playing the classic sitcom couple.

Needless to say, the couple gets themselves into the usual scrapes you’d expect from a mainstream sitcom. But this all happens as the reality around them starts to crack. Consequently, Wanda becomes increasingly edgy as she realises their idyllic sitcom existence isn’t real. These cracks become bigger & bigger as the series progresses. Although the series appears to take place in the 1950s, the date on their calendar is 23 August. That would suggest it takes place immediately after the events of Avengers: Endgame in August 2023.

Easter egg hunting

Half the fun of watching the MCU canon is looking for the references to other films and TV shows. The same goes when writing this review of WandaVision episode one. The powers that be have given us plenty of Easter Eggs in this series as well. Without making this article the length of War and Peace, or more appropriately, ‘Infinity War and Peace’, we can’t cover every single one, and that would ruin the fun for viewers looking for them. But there are some whoppers in there so let’s talk about those!

As the show ends, the credits roll and we pull back to reveal that someone is watching it like an old TV show in the present. We discover that the ‘episode’ was directed by Abe Brown, who is the name of one of Peter Parker’s classmates.

The person watching the show, although we don’t see their face, is almost certainly Darcy Lewis from the Thor films, played by Kat Dennings. Formerly the star of a sitcom herself, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there was a reference to 2 Broke Girls later in the series.

The person is monitoring the show and making notes in a S.W.O.R.D. notebook. S.W.O.R.D. is the sister organisation of S.H.I.E.L.D., with specific responsibility for dealing with extraterrestrial threats. The makers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted to incorporate S.W.O.R.D. in that show but were refused permission. It looks like now is the time Marvel has decided to bring S.W.O.R.D. into the MCU.

American TV cultural references

As regards the production itself, it is a love letter to classic sitcoms like Leave It To Beaver, I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. There are also references to Bewitched, although the references to that are even more pronounced in Episode 2. The decision to shoot in 4:3 rather than the modern standard of 16:9 to lend authenticity as sitcoms of that era pre-date widescreen.

There is a deliberate obvious canned laughter track, as has been used in sitcoms since time immemorial. This is despite the fact that there was apparently a studio audience watching filming in Georgia. I guess escaping reality to watch an alternate one is understandable in Georgia these days.

TV tropes

The commitment to the classic sitcom and TV tropes of the time is admirable. The 50’s style advert made for the ‘commercial break’ of the show featured the ToastMate 2000 made by Stark Industries. Stark Industries is Tony Stark’s company, created by his father Howard. The light on the appliance blinks red, which is the only thing in colour in the episode. This is a reference to the bomb that killed Wanda’s parents in Sokovia, which was also made by Stark Industries. The ToastMate, like the bomb and Iron Man’s suit, makes the repulsor sound as it starts up.

There is a wine bottle used at the dinner where Vision and Wanda are trying to impress his boss. The bottle is from ‘Maison du Mepris’, which is translated as ‘House of Contempt’. That is a reference to the House of M comics in which The Scarlet Witch creates an alternate reality for herself, which is the premise for WandaVision.

The show has a great supporting cast including Debra Jo Rupp, steeped in roles in hugely successful sitcoms Friends and That 70’s Show, and Kathryn Hahn. She plays Wanda and Vision’s neighbour Agnes, in another classic sitcom role of the slightly nosy, neighbourhood busybody. She is making constant jokes about her, as yet unseen, husband Ralf. Her name is an amalgamation of Agatha Harkness, who is a sorceress from the Marvel comics who assists The Scarlet Witch, Wanda’s alter ego. As the series progresses and the false reality splinters further, we may well see Agnes take on her true identity.

Sitcom or drama?

Is this supposed to work as a sitcom in its own right, or is it simply an amuse-bouche for the avalanche of MCU material coming this year? If it is the former, then I hope the scripts improve, as this was spectacularly unfunny. Although this is supposed to be a 50’s sitcom, the comedy in classic shows of that era still stands up as being funny today. Surely there was a way that some stronger jokes could have been written that would work in a contemporary sitcom, despite it being set over 60 years ago.

But for the millions of MCU fans around the world, this is manna from heaven for those starved of Marvel action. They will lap it up, no matter how deliberately hammy the acting or how weak the comedy is. It is immaculately produced, with a clear love & respect for the characters, fans and legendary comedy shows. A review of the first episode of WandaVision is tough if you’re not well versed in the world of the MCU, but we can assume that more will be revealed in the coming weeks.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of WandaVision episode one. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read more about the MCU phase four HERE.

Read IMDB information about WandaVision HERE.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TV News

Loki Episode 6 – Review

Published

on

Loki episode 6 image
Marvel Studios

Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

More to come

The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.

Introducing the big bad

We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.

She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.

Loki fight

Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.

Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.

Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.

Setting up season two

Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.

Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.

I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.

Phase 4 groundwork

It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.

There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.

But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our Loki episode five review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

Continue Reading

Trending