Plot: What’s it about?
There was somewhat of a lull in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (referred to as the “MCU” from now on) with the Covid pandemic putting a damper on our viewing pleasure. Thankfully Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, had a little something in store for us. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, we maintain the consistency of the MCU all the while focusing on two of its major characters. This was the first in what is now a slew of Disney+ shows that have produced varying results. For every WandaVision or Loki, we’ve got Ms. Marvel and Secret Invasion. I know the latter has its followers, but it truly was awful. And, so, the stage was set with Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and her thought-to-be-dead husband, Vision (Paul Bettany). They’re now living in Westview, New Jersey back in…1950? Let’s get started.
Those familiar with the television shows of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s will feel right at home as we get a very Dick Van Dyke or Leave it to Beaver atmosphere, complete with full-frame and black and white cinematography. We see that Wanda and Vision seem “trapped” in Westview which is a result of Wanda’s hex in the form of her grief. We do see some familiar faces with Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) who we last saw in Thor: The Dark World, FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) from Ant-Man and the Wasp and Monica. Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) from Captain Marvel. With some tips of the hat to their characters, we also get a little more on Wanda’s backstory which was briefly touched upon in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Add to this a new face in Agnes/Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) who just may or may not be her savior or her worst enemy.
The season has nine episodes as they gradually span the “time frame” of several decades. If black and white isn’t your thing, it’s OK – just wait a few episodes. The thing that I loved about the show is that it seemed to have a light-hearted atmosphere with some more sinister things brewing underneath. And as we all know, nothing is ever as it seems. There are several questions that are answered, but there are several more things that are brought up that left this viewer scratching his head (what happened to White Vision?) and so forth. But, this did set the standard for the forthcoming Disney+ shows that might have been a mixed bag. Whatever your comments are on the show, if you’re a fan of Vision and the Scarlet Witch, this one is most assuredly for you.
Video: How’s it look?
Of all the titles I’ve reviewed over the years, this one might be the only one that checks all the boxes. The show takes place through several different “eras” from the somewhat monochromatic earlier episodes (in black and white) then on to the more Technicolor-oriented color palette of the later episodes. Add to that the various aspect ratios that span from 1.33:1 to 1.78:1 and finally filling out the screen in 2.39:1. The good news is that they all look great. Splendid. Perfect, actually. Colors (in the later episodes, of course) are technically spot on, though we do get a “Brady Bunch” effect with a couple of them, but by and large I found detail to be top notch and a great and faithful representation of what we’re seeing. This is a good-looking set.
Audio: How’s it sound?
There aren’t too many instances in which the DTS HD Master Audio gets to flex its muscle, but they’re used wisely and effectively. By and large this series is dialogue-driven and vocals sound pure, rich and crisp. Surrounds are used sparingly, but effectively. Given the “time frame” of some of the shows, the audio somewhat mimics the period in time that the particular episode is representing. There aren’t any misses here, rather it’s a fairly standard “by the book” audio track that gets the job done.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Through the Eras – The cast and crew discuss how the series moves through different sitcom eras.
- Gag Reel – Watch some fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of WandaVision.
- Deleted Scene: Ankle Bracelet – Ralph/Pietro snips off his ankle bracelet toward the end of the series.
- Deleted Scene: Mouth to Mouth – Agatha has a friendly banter with the police.
- Assembled: The making of WandaVision – Join Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and more as they invite viewers behind the scenes of this groundbreaking series.
The Bottom Line
Though the selection of Marvel television series has exploded since the release of WandaVision, this might be said it’s the “one that started it all.” It offers some new insight on what we thought we already knew and sets up a few interesting things for the MCU. Disney’s technical merits are top notch and for any fan – this is an easy and worthwhile recommendation.