WandaVision: Disney+’s foray into sitcoms

WandaVision+promotional+poster.

From Disney+Originals

The promotional poster for WandaVision.

After over a year of drought, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has returned. WandaVision is the first in the line of over a dozen series planned for the Disney+ streaming service, and is a great start to what looks to be a promising future for the Marvel canon, both in film and now in streaming television.

WandaVision is presented in the form of a sitcom, at least for its first three episodes. Each episode pays homage to a sitcom (or multiple sitcoms) from a certain era of American television, including shows from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The show stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, both reprising their roles of Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively. Scarlet Witch’s alter ego, Wanda Maximoff, and Vision, who appears in human form, find themselves living in a suburban 1950s environment when we meet them in the first episode of the series. They seem to be confused about where they are and why they are there, and we soon find out that nothing is as it seems. 

Based on the first five episodes of the series, I have found this show to be very enjoyable. While I have not seen any of the sitcoms that WandaVision pays homage to, I have seen bits and pieces of other shows from the same era and shows that have come since, and I appreciate the satirical approach to their homages. They often will use a laugh track for moments that are not funny, a common issue with shows of the 50s and 60s, and they filmed the first two episodes in front of a live audience in a single-camera format, just like old sitcoms did. The sitcom homages do get a little old, but the payoff in the fourth and fifth episodes almost make up for the overuse of sitcom tropes.

Without going into spoilers, this show does clear up some of the questions you have in the initial few episodes pretty well. Some parts of the show, however, verge on being too demanding of the viewers. I tend to prefer comic book movies to be completely engaging, regardless of how well someone knows the comic books, but WandaVision struggles with walking the thin line between being for all audiences and being for just die-hard Marvel fans that have read lots of the comic books and seen all of the movies. 

WandaVision is an enjoyable show, sitcom trimmings and all, but could stand to be written a little more clearly. I give the first five episodes of WandaVision a B+.