The last ten years or so has seen an explosion in binge watching, fuelled by the decline of media consumed via ‘traditional’ means. Entertainment has, for the most part, not been consumed to a schedule as it has been in the past – a transformation in our lives, partly due to the way that content can be made available in large chunks instantaneously but also because there’s no need for us to be in a certain place at a certain time to watch TV shows means that we rarely have those ‘water cooler’ moments – where we discuss the noteworthy event television of the previous night with colleagues – rarely happen.
It doesn’t help that there’s not been much in the way of true ‘event’ TV either. I’m old enough to remember the questions and mystique thrown up by new episodes of The X-Files or Lost; TV that truly provoked discussion face to face, before social media became so prevalent.
In many ways, WandaVision feels like a return to that kind of TV show; the kind of show where you have to make really sure you’re talking to someone who’s seen the latest episode before you dare divulge any details about what you’ve just seen.The weekly schedule meant that you were eager to watch it when it was ‘on’, rather than wait to watch a recording – and though of course WandaVision being made available simultaneously worldwide means that people in different time zones will be watching at different times, you just know that everyone will be doing their utmost to watch it as soon as they can.
The nature of the show makes it incredibly hard to review, as I’ve reflected on in previous weeks, but you just know that anyone who’s still on board by now – the fifth episode – is going to have their jaw on the floor by the end.
After last week’s info dump of revelations, with a true grounding of events within the well established timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we return somewhat to the sitcom pastiche of Wanda and Vision’s world, this time with an 80s theme (the Family Ties-esque title sequence is absolutely wonderful, it must be noted). As ever with the TV sitcom style scenes, the attention to detail is both impeccable and very impressive indeed, particularly when you consider that it’s changed and updated week on week since the start. The little nods to period appropriate sitcom styles, not to mention the general fashion and styles of the decade-of-the-week are just fantastic, as they have been from the opening episode.
There’s more of the ‘real’ world here too, with the Rambeau/Woo/Lewis dynamic being particularly compelling – there’s a sense of a team coming together with those three at the core and it’s extremely welcome.
That’s the extent of the detail I’m prepared to go into this week; so much of the joy of WandaVision is seeing just where things are headed next, with creepier moments layered into the light-hearted sitcom scenes and characters finally realising that things are not what they seem to be. The climactic scene here really is a stunner, though it does rely on knowledge of movies outside of the MCU for maximum impact (which I’ve no doubt most viewers of the show will have, though a certain percentage will be a little lost). It feels like a true game changer for Marvel going forward though – and once again it leaves me unbelievably hungry for more, as well as to have water cooler moments with people, albeit on social media, to discuss the incredible final moments of episode five. It’s been quite the rollercoaster so far and I can’t wait for it to continue.
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