WandaVision (2021)

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In this latest episode, Chris and Alex sit down with the Disney+ series WandaVision (Jac Schaeffer, 2021), a spectacular fantasy of U.S. television history that continues the citational practices and narrative complexities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet does so by working through the industrial, cultural and stylistic lexicon of the sitcom. Topics for discussion in this episode include the reflexive gestures made by WandaVision to canonical American television, from mid-century staples I Love Lucy (Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, 1951-1957), Bewitched (Sol Saks, 1964-1972) and I Dream of Jeannie (Sidney Sheldon, 1965-1970) to contemporary hits like Malcolm in the Middle (Linwood Boomer, 2000-2006) and Modern Family (Christopher Lloyd & Steven Levitan, 2009-2020); how the animated title sequences (that recall graphic traditions of the Hanna Barbera studio) fit in with the series’ rhetoric of self-consciousness; distinctions between the ‘complex’ and the ‘complicated’ when it comes to serial narrative engagement; emotional catharsis and Wanda’s ontology as a television ‘showrunner’, including her reconstruction of identity when trapped in a small-screen format of her own making; questions of nostalgia and audience appeal; and what WandaVision as an audiovisual product says about Marvel’s own potential future in relation to television programming.

79 episodes