The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first foray into the world of television comes in the form of WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda Maximoff and Vision respectively. Daring and unique, the series adds a refreshing sitcom-style twist to the formulaic action and thrill of typical Marvel properties.
The show depicts Wanda Maximoff and Vision enjoying domestic life--hosting dinner parties, participating in community talent shows, and joining a swim club--through a series of sitcom-style episodes that pay homage to American classics such as “I Love Lucy” and “The Brady Bunch”. Each episode is tailored to play out like a zany sitcom, complete with cheesy humor and common television tropes.
While Wanda and Vision’s lives in the suburbs appear completely normal to them, the audience understands that something is wrong. What are two superheroes doing in a sitcom? Is there a sinister force responsible? Didn’t 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War see Vision killed at the hands of Thanos? How is he alive? Questions such as these can run through viewers’ minds as they witness the two Avengers live out their lives in oblivious bliss.
Wanda and Vision do face their share of hiccups, however--and some more serious than others. The series’ pilot, “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience,” sees Wanda and Vision hastily preparing for a dinner with Vision’s boss, Mr. Hart, and his wife--an evening which ends with Mr. Hart choking on his dinner and his wife dissolving into hysterics. The tonal shift is immediate; the camera’s wide angles change to uncomfortable close-ups, the cheerful background music immediately halts, and the horror-filled faces of Wanda and Vision instill a sense of dread into viewers.
Touches such as these expertly remind the audience of the more sinister undertones at play underneath WandaVision’s cheerful facade while heightening the sense of mystery surrounding each episode.
Should WandaVision continue airing episodes of such creativity and intrigue, the series will not only go down as one of the most revolutionary pieces of media to hit 2021, but will forever change the formulaic mold which has shaped superhero movies and TV shows of days past.