WandaVision

wandavision season 1 poster review
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Clever use of visuals to tie into the storytelling

Intentionally slow start, so-so final episode

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What show is this week?

Westview has new residents.  Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are moving in and trying to keep their abilities under wraps…but something is odd in Westfield.  Time seems rather fluid and everything resembles old sitcoms.  Outside of Westfield, questions are growing and a team is trying to find out what is happening in the town.  Wanda can fix everything…but someone else might be pulling the strings.

WandaVision is a Marvel Comics TV mini-series airing on Disney+.  The series was met with positive reviews and quickly gained a following.  Episodes were released between January 15, 2021 and March 5, 2021.

Scarlet Witch and Vision were always really oddly unattainable characters.  Wanda’s powers were rather questionable and Vision’s abilities seemed to always fit the situation that they needed.  The first big Disney+ outing looked to wrap up ideas started in Avengers:  Endgame and combined it with a unique stylized premise.  Due to aspects of the show, a ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

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Let’s get retro

The series started out a bit slow which led to initial turn offs from some viewers.  It was easy to forget that WandaVision was a TV show and that the show moves at a different speed than the movies.  People had to wait…which was a struggle.  The show went from very classic sitcom based plots to high concept stories starting with the third episode…and then every episode became a must see.

As a fan of comics, WandaVision is also a reminder that the series isn’t based on comic books, but a version of the comic books.  Agatha Harkness has traditionally been a “good guy” in the comics and the saga of the “white” Vision played out very differently.  I will say that this series is a better homogenization of the comic world and the MCU while making something entirely new.

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Fun Fact: This is Paul Bettany’s actual skin tone

The cast is good.  Both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany finally get to demonstrate more acting “chops” that they didn’t really get to demonstrate in a bigger ensemble cast of the Avengers movies (and they have the ideal roles of getting to play different roles each episode).  I look forward to seeing what is done with Teyonah Parris’s Monica Rambeau (a favorite character of mine), and it was good to see Randall Park back.  For Thor and Thor: The Dark World, I found Kat Dennings kind of annoying, but I found her charming in this series.  The introduction of Evan Peters as Quicksilver raises questions (although the final episode cancels it).  The “breakout” star is longtime character actress Katherine Hahn who always brings great presence to series but finally gets more recognition here in her turn as Agatha Harkness who like Bettany and Olsen gets to have more range with her character.

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The age old question…how powerful is the Scarlet Witch…and what exactly are her powers again?

The real star of WandaVision is the visuals.  The show cleverly dips into different aspects of sitcoms from everything from what made humor at the time (a lot of groan-worthy humor in the early episodes) and how they evolved.  The show goes as far as changing aspect ratios and of course going from black-and-white to color.  Even on episodes like the birth episode (“Now in Color”) to play with how sitcoms cover up pregnancy with their female actors.  The evolution of standard three camera sitcoms gives way to shows like Modern Family…it becomes fun to trace the different sitcoms hit upon and how they are interpreted.

WandaVision was a great watch.  It was a high concept show that managed to be really accessible for the audience without dumbing it down.  The final episode does fall into Marvel Universe movie territory with an extended fight, and that is a bit disappointing.  Largely the non-traditional final play out of the series kept it from feeling like a rehash of the films, but though once again, the main characters literally are fighting almost duplicates of themselves in the end (and Agatha does not seem to have a very logical master plan).  The series built it self a bit too big to please everyone, but I can forgive a lot of that simply because of the overall creativity of the show.  WandaVision might be over, but it has given me hope on what Disney can do with future shows…and the idea that they can take chances that the movies do not allow.  Bring on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier!

WandaVision—Season 1 Review and Episode Guide:

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“Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”

Episode 1       Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience Release Date:  01/15/21

It is Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s anniversary, but Vision (Paul Bettany) has forgotten.  The problem is amplified when Vision’s boss Mr. Hart (Fred Melamed) and his wife (Debra Jo Rupp) are scheduled for dinner…but is something else happening in Westview that Vision and Wanda don’t understand.

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“Don’t Touch That Dial”

Episode 2       Don’t Touch That Dial Release Date:  01/15/21

Westview is having their annual talent show, and Wanda is out in another attempt to fit in.  Unfortunately, Wanda’s magic show could face problems when Vision accidentally swallows a piece of gum.  The magic show might turn into a bust which could anger the organizer Dottie Jones (Emma Caulfield Ford) and expose Wanda and Vision’s secret.

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“Now in Color”

Episode 3       Now in Color Release Date:  01/22/21

Wanda is pregnant…and the pregnancy is happening a lot faster than expected.  With the unexpected pregnancy progressing at an unnatural pace, Wanda and Vision must hide it from their neighbors including Geraldine (Teyonah Parris) who stops by for an unexpected visit…at the same time as the stork.  Vision learns that the neighbors Herb (David Payton) and Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) have suspicions about Geraldine.

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“We Interrupt This Program”

Episode 4       We Interrupt This Program Release Date:  01/29/21

Monica Rambeau returns from the Blip to discover her mother dead, and S.W.O.R.D. more important than ever.  When she is sent to investigate the disappearance of the town of Westview with Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), she is sucked into the missing town.  Meanwhile, Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) is called in to investigate the situation with other government agencies and discovers a strange broadcast from the missing town…leading to great suspicions about what is occurring in Westview.

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“On a Very Special Episode…”

Episode 5       On a Very Special Episode… Release Date:  02/05/21

Wanda and Vision’s children Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne) are growing fast and Wanda is getting tired of hiding.  Monica tries to find a way back into the “hex” and finds herself at odds with Director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) who wants to treats Wanda as a terrorist.  Vision learns from his coworker Norm (Asif Ali) that things aren’t all as perfect in Westview, and Vision has some questions for Wanda.  An unexpected visitor arrives in the hex.

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“All-New Halloween-Spooktacular!”

Episode 6       All-New Halloween Spooktacular! Release Date:  02/12/21

Hayward is taking over the project, and Darcy, Rambeau, and Woo are trying to see what he is up to…even if it could be detrimental to Monica’s health.  Wanda adjusts to the arrival of Pietro (Evan Peters) and questions why he is different than she remembers.  Vision begins to question Wanda’s actions and finds a darker side to Westview.

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“Breaking the Fourth Wall”

Episode 7       Breaking the Fourth Wall Release Date:  02/19/21

The anomaly has expanded and Darcy finds herself trapped inside.  Wanda is having a bad day, and the world around her seems to be falling apart.  Vision knows what Wanda is controlling the reality as he finds himself in a circus after barely surviving his encounter with S.W.O.R.D.  Billy and Tommy visit Agnes and question what is going on around them.  As Monica forces her way into the anomaly against recommendations, the true villain is revealed!

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“Previously On…”

Episode 8       Previously On Release Date:  02/26/21

Agatha Harkness has had her eye on Wanda and her abilities for a while.  With Wanda’s children as her prisoners and Wanda already proving she’s willing to do anything to protect her family, Agatha dives into Wanda’s past and seeks to see what has made her so powerful and how she has been able to accomplish in Westview.

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“The Series Finale”

Episode 9       The Series Finale Release Date:  03/05/21

Wanda and Agatha show off in final battle and the fate of Wanda’s version of Westview hangs in the balance.  Vision finds himself faced with the original Vision and learns that stopping Hayward’s programming could release something else.  With her magic tied to her family, Wanda must make a decision…and Agatha might be unstoppable.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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