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Josh Reviews WandaVision

Marvel Studios has kicked off what looks like a vast array of Disney+ shows with the nine-episode WandaVision, and I couldn’t be happier.  This series was a delight; it was everything I wanted it to be.  It shined a well-deserved spotlight on two characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wanda and the Vision, who were important, well-loved characters who nevertheless hadn’t actually gotten a tremendous amount of screen-time in the movies.  The series flowed smoothly from where the movies had left off, and in fact was drenched in fun connections to the movies.  It also stood on its own, as an interesting and satisfying story in its own right.  We got movie-quality visuals combined with the adventure, humor, and character-based drama that has made the MCU such a success.  What more could I ask?

I was excited about WandaVision but also nervous.  Marvel has tried several times before to spin off its movie successes onto our TV screens.  When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. launched on ABC in 2013, I was excited for the unprecedented idea of a TV series that would run in continuity with the movies.  The pilot was even written and directed by Joss Whedon (coming off his triumph as the writer/director of The Avengers)!  And yet, I never got into the show.  I watched for a long time — three seasons — but then finally threw in the towel.  I never found the characters or stories as interesting as I’d hoped; there was an (understandably) made-for-TV cheapness to the look of the show that distanced it from the films; and after catching up to the Hydra reveal from Captain America: The Winter Soldier late in the first season, the show and the movies didn’t have much to do with one another (a result of the corporate schism between the TV and film departments at Marvel).  A few years later, an entirely separate series of Marvel shows launched on Netflix.  Here too, I entered into the experience with great excitement, and the first seasons of the first two series, Daredevil and Jessica Jones, were spectacular!  These were serious, adult shows, and I was enthralled.  But then the quality dropped; the subsequent seasons and other series weren’t as good, and the big crossover series The Defenders fizzled.  The shows were all cancelled in 2018.

And now comes a new wave of Marvel shows.  For the first time, these series are being overseen by MCU boss Kevin Feige.  There’s certainly a hugely exciting slate of shows in development for the next few years!  So that all bodes well.  Would WandaVision actually be any good?

Thankfully the answer is a big YES.

First off let me … [continued]