Anytime someone involved with a TV show says something like, “This isn’t really a TV show, it’s a 6/8/12-hour movie!”, I get a little nervous. Netflix does this all the time, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. More often than not, it results in some lopsided, poorly paced TV. But that’s not going to stop the folks behind WandaVision, darn it! The series is apparently taking the “movie broken into a TV show” approach according to cast member Teyonah Parris. But not just one movie, oh no. According to Parris, WandaVision is like “six Marvel movies packed into” a sitcom.
People are missing Marvel movies right now (2020 is the first year without an MCU film in approximately 5000 years, according to a figure I just made up), but WandaVision is coming to pick up the slack. Because not only will the show bring viewers back to the MCU, it’ll pack enough material for six MCU movies into one show.
Speaking with EW, Teyonah Parris, who plays the adult Monica Rambeau – the kid we met in Captain Marvel – said: “I was like, ‘Oh, I thought we were doing a little show,’ but no, it’s six Marvel movies packed into what they’re presenting as a sitcom.”
Co-executive producer Mary Livanos added: “It’s really incredible to be able to tell a long-form story the way the comics did. In a sense, [a TV show] is a multi-issue comic-book run, which is something that, from the Marvel development side, we totally do understand.”
Livanos does have a point in comparing this long-form story to a comic book approach, so I really don’t want to complain too much. But as I mentioned above, whenever TV episodes forgo being, well, episodic, I tend to get nervous. Think of Mad Men, or Breaking Bad, or The Sopranos. Hell, think of Frasier or Cheers. Or The Simpsons. Or E.R. These are some of the best TV shows in the history of the medium, and they all have one thing in common: they’re not trying to be 12-plus hour movies. Do some of the episodes carry over into others to tell one narrative? Sure, but they can also stand alone. I know this is apparently a controversial statement, but here’s the thing: TV isn’t the same as movies. They are different mediums, and it’s best to treat them that way.
At the same time, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige does assure potential viewers that you don’t need to be well-versed in all-things-Marvel to jump into WandVision. “If you haven’t seen any of them [Marvel movies] and just want to step into this weird thing because you love The Dick Van Dyke Show, it’s going to work,” Feige told EW. “But if you’ve been tracking the 23 movies we’ve made and following along the stories into Phase 4, there’ll be a wealth of rewards waiting for you as it all unfolds.”
WandaVision hits Disney+ in December.
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