By Stephen Nichol, Grade 12, Staff Writer
Is it possible to enjoy scheduled television in a world of streaming? Well, if you asked most viewers of “WandaVision” at the High School of American Studies, the answer would be a resounding yes. Even several weeks after the series finale, students still debate whether or not it was a good show, if the ending was sufficient, and what it means for our favorite superheroes’ future.
The release of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s debut television show on Disney+ went off without a hitch. How could it not? The studio had a budget of up to 25 million dollars per episode, totaling around 200 million dollars for the entire season—spanning just nine episodes.
In many cases, that money was well spent. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, who played the lesser-known avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision, respectively, delivered outstanding performances that made viewers invested in superheroes they probably had not cared about in earlier Marvel films.
Following the blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, “WandaVision” focuses on love, grief, and family—themes not often touched upon in typical Marvel productions. The show also does an incredible job at emulating both vintage and modern TV comedies like “Bewitched,” “The Brady Bunch,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Full House,” and “Modern Family.” The fact that Dick Van Dyke consulted on the show further exemplifies the golden age of television’s influence.
The attention to detail is also astounding, as each set piece can be broken down into hours of YouTube fan theories. From the diploma arrangements to a soapbox’s shape, the Marvel Universe seems to hinge on every little detail. There is even a different theme song for each episode, all to a similar tune.
However, the question remains: Did all the time and money pay off for viewers? Well, according to George Koral, a senior at HSAS, it certainly did. “It was brilliant! The end of every episode had me waiting until 3 am the next Friday, eager to see how the story would unfold,” he said,
However, others seem to disagree. “It was bad,” said Leo Reale, a senior at HSAS. “I liked the style of the beginning and how it was kind-of a divergence from what Marvel’s usual shtick is, and how everything was a mystery. But, towards the end, it just felt like another carbon copy Marvel franchise.”
Ben Gordon, a junior at HSAS, had a completely different view: “During the first few episodes I got bored because they were stretching out the sitcom theme a bit too far, but once you pass those episodes, if you know about the Marvel Universe, it got very good and was action-packed.”
Daniel Giraldo, a senior at HSAS, also weighed in, saying, “I think the pacing was all off. There wasn’t enough conflict initiation or resolution in each episode, which made it feel like one long movie. That’s something Marvel does well, but it doesn’t work when they only release one episode a week.”
It was not all bad for Giraldo, though. “I thought the casting of some characters was very creative,” he said. “Jimmy Woo is a god. I thought the premise of a perfect television world and Wanda’s powers was really interesting, and I enjoyed the fake-commercials that would play during the show.”
Overall, the school-wide reaction was certainly mixed. Some thought the show was the best piece of media Marvel has ever produced, while others viewed it as an unoriginal product of the Disney machine. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, many students at HSAS care about the show, whatever their opinion may be.
Ultimately, to understand the hype, one must experience WandaVision for themselves. Only time will tell if Marvel’s next show, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which released its first episode on March 19, will meet the same standard.