The mystery of “WandaVision”


Photo courtesy of Google Images

On Jan. 15, the world of entertainment shifted in a major way. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney’s $23 billion franchise, made its first venture into streaming television. The show, titled “WandaVision,” isn’t exactly what the average audience member would expect. When someone hears “a TV show based on Marvel characters,” they wouldn’t think of a comedy-drama series that forces the viewer to figure out what’s going on. Long gone are the days of formulaic action films about saving the world; “WandaVision” has more in common with “The Truman Show” or “Twin Peaks” than any of its predecessors. 

Opening on a title sequence right out of a 1950s sitcom, “WandaVision” takes the typical Marvel structure and turns it on its head. Instead of having everything spelled out to the viewer, the show opts for a more “off the beaten path” approach to its material. The first three episodes don’t explain anything, instead acting as a seemingly normal sitcom about characters from “The Avengers” trying to attain a suburban lifestyle. The result of this eccentric form of storytelling? A show that gracefully departs from the blandness that plagues much of the Marvel Studios filmography and genuinely tries something new. 

In many ways, “WandaVision” is the return of so-called event television. Its week-by-week release schedule and ever increasing mysteries allows the show to be the subject of conversation. What executive producer Kevin Feige has done here is remarkable; but, like many stories based around questions, the overall quality of the program is entirely dependent on the quality of answers. Will “WandaVision” meet the expectations presented by its numerous set-ups, or will it flounder and disappoint its large audience?

So far, “WandaVision” has been an interesting viewing experience that expertly weaves its narratives of grief and perplexity with the detailed world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully it pays off its many mysteries and continues to innovate the existing Marvel Studios formula.

“WandaVision” was created by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, and it can be seen on the Disney Plus streaming service.