“WandaVision” is the first Marvel original series released on Disney’s streaming service Disney+. Its release cycle began on Jan. 15 with the release of the first two episodes and will continue with weekly releases until Mar. 9 with a total of 9 episodes. Each episode runtime is roughly over half an hour.
So far, the premiere has revealed the show to be an eccentric but competent sitcom that celebrates television’s past.
The series follows Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they attempt to fit in a suburban community. As they continue in this endeavor, they are hit with situations that point toward the fact that things are not as they seem.
Despite the atypical scenario, this show is a continuation of the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and the first Disney+ series that is part of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are the inner-workings of establishing a broader connection to the MCU as this series is supposed to connect with the film “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
The show itself is presented in an old-school sitcom format. It is initially in black and white and sections were even filmed in front of a live studio audience. These creative choices grant the show a unique aesthetic to set it apart from the rest of the MCU.
In a press conference, creator of the series, Jac Schaeffer commented on the research that was done in order to capture the aesthetic of old sitcoms. She explained that “it really was almost like doing an accent or period piece. Especially with the ‘50s and ‘60s, we would compile these big lists of sayings of the era… there were adjustments and improvements for all those little textual things… And then, as we move forward, the sitcoms of the ‘90s are burned into my actual DNA, so that was not much of a challenge.”
The influences and bases of the show are clear, not only due to visual aesthetic but also due to references and nods to different nuances of the past. There is a visual gag in episode 2 centered on the separation of the couple’s beds in reference to the early industry’s squeamishness toward showing married couples in bed, like the separated beds on “I Love Lucy.” Episode 2 also features an animated intro which is likely in reference to the series “Bewitched.”
The composer for the series is Christophe Beck, known for his work on “Ant-Man,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Frozen.”
In a production brief, he explained his approach, “For each (TV) era, the music is a loving homage to the sitcom scores typical of the time period.”
According to Beck, “this involved not only the instrumentation, but also the composition style.”
He also mentioned that he found it “exciting to find ways to connect scores together even as they span the stylistic variety across all episodes.”
It is a wonder that Disney approved such an unconventional show. Wanda and Vision are not flagship characters of the MCU and there are no traditional action scenes in the first two episodes.
The show is a refreshing change of pace from the traditional Marvel formula. The series grants an opportunity to slow down and explore the characters of Wanda and Vision who often got neglected due to the larger picture of the Marvel franchise.
The setting is a great choice, and its jovial nature helps punctuate the odd and unsettling moments that are breaking through Wanda’s utopia. The running gag of in-universe commercials and their connections to different MCU organizations is a great addition.
Hopefully, the series will continue to build off the base of these first two episodes without changing direction too far.