TV Thread

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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11111Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Wandavision 7 (Modern Family style)

Without real spoilers please, but also don't read this if you're not there yet.

Like some of the internet, I expected this from the start. I was surprised at how they handled it though. Very unsubtle, like a late Simpsons episode. I guess, why be subtle about it when you could just put it all out there in an unsubtle way and get a laugh. Tonally it caught me off guard and I had to rewatch it.

(It's nice to get a different sitcom reference in though. And good kitsch/aesthetic/meme value. The facial expressions are great throughout, with better than usual work from the Lopezes.)

Tonally a lot is riding on how the next episode handles it, now.

Also, the SWORD scenes got boring or awkward fast so I'm glad that Darcy and Monica are being separated off from that stuff. Elizabeth Olsen's performance has been solid. She shifted into Julie Bowen Modern Family mode here accurately. This show changes so much from week to week that seemingly important characters get dropped. Emma Caulfield and the rest just have silent cameos here!

spoiler:
https://twitter.com/TygerbugGarrett/sta ... 5024190466
https://twitter.com/fetussatann/status/ ... 9394157572
https://twitter.com/TygerbugGarrett/sta ... 6267111424
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11114Post Garrett Gilchrist »

#WandaVision: Although the first three episodes are structured as the 50s, 60s and 70s episodes respectively, they are all primarily based on shows which first aired in the 1960s (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched and The Brady Bunch).

WandaVision 8: The most emotional episode yet, as we delve into Wanda's backstory. Elizabeth Olsen nails it, and we also stick the landing after THAT ending last week, not getting too silly and heading into straight drama territory, with two big comic-related reveals at the end.

It reminds me of how many movies they waited to say "Avengers Assemble," knowing it would have more impact later. It's starting to feel like THAT cast member (absent here) wasn't actually the massive crossover we thought, but who knows. There's a lot to wrap up next week!

This is really the origin story Wanda didn't get the first time round- having been introduced in an overstuffed Avengers film which didn't have time for all that. There's some retconning too, probably because Marvel can use mutants now. So Wanda had a certain amount of dormant power all along. No sign of her Romani Jewish heritage though, which is more usual for the comics. They're still going with her as a Sokovian refugee.

Wanda has had so many period and casual looks in this series, and felt more like a real person. So it's become seriously weird to flash back to her Age of Ultron look, which was just Joss Whedon Main Character Cosplay.

People are always complaining about having to watch all the Marvel movies to catch up. Not sure how they'll handle 6-hour television series which use Marvel movies (and their canon) in their "Previously on ..." montages and flashbacks. Liking it though.

Someone's theory:
https://hlsentertainment.blogspot.com/2 ... -post.html
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11118Post Garrett Gilchrist »

(Cleveland Show theme)

I'm Wanda Maximoff
And I am proud to be
Back in my old home town
With my new family

There's new friends and old friends
From Ant-Man and Thor
I'm having a breakdown in television form

I'm headed to a town
Where everything is fine
Or else they'll tear it down
It's WandaVision time
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11120Post Garrett Gilchrist »

The Wandavision finale sticks the landing, wrapping up the storyline and delivering a superpowered showdown in full Marvel movie mode.

Social media had obsessed over every little detail and easter egg in the show, and wondered how they could wrap it all up in one episode.

As it turns out, the finale is almost alarmingly straightforward. It doesn't introduce a lot of new ideas and new characters. It's not full of cameos, and all the fan theories will have to remain just that- theories. The storytelling is ruthlessly economical.

In places it falls a little flat, but it also delivers what the series needs to conclude its story. I wouldn't even call it rushed, since the tone here is very much that of an MCU movie (which are rushed as a matter of course), and we've had plenty of time to develop the characters of Wanda and Vision prior to this. The finale delivers some of their most emotional moments, and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are just as good as they have been all series.

Wanda and Vision were pretty much afterthoughts in the Avengers films they appeared in. Bettany always gave a solid performance as a supporting player, and Olsen showed some potential. But in a six-hour television series (about two movies' worth with credits), they've really been given a chance to shine, and as a leading character Elizabeth Olsen delivers a memorable, emotional performance that goes well beyond what you'd expect from Marvel. She also shows some versatility, taking on different accents and impersonations of Mary Tyler Moore and Julie Bowen. She has matured into a role which wasn't introduced or explained well previously.

This is the "movie" Wanda Maximoff deserved all along, and the series knows it, radically rewriting her thin origin story from 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron into a shape that feels much more complete, making her the familiar Scarlet Witch from the Avengers comics. She even gets a new outfit, though it's a little too "X-Men movie" for my taste. Disney didn't own the X-Men film rights when Age of Ultron came out, and so Wanda couldn't be a mutant. She was given powers, whereas here she had powers all along. Her revised origin doesn't say the word "mutant" but avoids doing so only by a thin technicality. Which may explain why they don't fully revisit the origin of her brother Pietro.

And it is an achievement that the last few episodes feel like a Marvel movie as a television show. Half the time it even feels as expensive as a Marvel movie, although there's a television cheapness built into the format which is hard to shake. The first episodes of WandaVision had an old-fashioned 1960s sitcom aesthetic, and this settled into the look of a modern TV show shot cheaply on a backlot. (One Tweet said it had "Disney Channel Original Movie energy.") This sits alongside a storyline with Vision that looks like a Marvel film. The result clashes and ends up looking like a CW television show, but more polished.

It's an episode which gets right what it needs to get right.

What may rankle is the feeling that this series could have been something more. It's fair to say that WandaVision concludes its story efficiently, without exploring every possible angle of it. Just as Wanda and Vision were sidelined in the Avengers films, the other characters here deserved more exploration than they got. The result is somewhere inbetween a Marvel movie and a long-form TV show. By the end it's almost a commercial for the next Marvel movies, where we hope some of these characters will prominently return. We're used to that at this point, but there were moments where WandaVision achieved more than that.

The first three episodes cast Wanda and Vision in a 60s sitcom, resembling The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, and The Brady Bunch respecitvely, with unique and accurate aesthetics evoking the 50s, 60s and 70s -although all the shows referenced debuted in the 60s.

There were also creepy moments hinting that all is not what it seems in this world. Each episode was full of easter eggs and fans enjoyed the mystery of it all, as well as the sitcom shenanigans. At times it felt almost like a watered-down version of David Lynch's work, or like one of Adult Swim's experiments in deconstructing television tropes. With the sharp edges filed off, admittedly, but still intriguing. The answers to these questions turned out to be straightforward rather than scary, and the easter eggs were just easter eggs.

I would happily have watched more of Wanda and Vision in their sitcom worlds. We never got a late-seventies Mork & Mindy type episode, or an All In the Family spinoff. We didn't get Married With Children or Home Improvement, as there was no 90s episode. The show went through a new "decade" every episode without catching its breath.

It's also fair to say that the sitcom episodes didn't give Elizabeth Olsen as much to do dramatically as the later episodes. It almost feels like two different shows in the end.

I would have happily watched more from the show's strong supporting cast. Characters who are prominent in the early sitcom episodes become extras otherwise, like Emma Caulfield's Dottie, Debra Jo Rupp and Fred Melamed as the Harts, and David Payton as Herb. The series uses them as echoes of Wanda, and then moves on. Understandable given the show's storyline, but still.

The secret-agent scenes with SWORD feel like more military propaganda from Marvel and are the weakest thing about the series, but also have an interesting cast which deserved more exploration. We see Elizabeth Olsen live out her grief, but Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau also goes through loss and this is skipped right over to get back to military stuff. The series at least introduces her adequately for a role in Captain Marvel 2. The SWORD scenes mark a return to a "Marvel movie tone" and perhaps overexplain the show's mysteries.

Josh Stamberg as SWORD Director Tyler Hayward is initially friendly but does a villain turn which seems too exaggerated and sudden- perhaps a consequence of his brief screentime. Randall Park is nice to see back as Jimmy Woo (from the Ant-Man films) but his role offers few surprises. Kat Dennings has returned as Darcy Lewis from the Thor films, and is a pleasant addition to the episodes she appears in. It seems she wasn't around for this final episode, and is presumably greenscreened in for one line. This wouldn't seem weird if they didn't leave in a line later asking where she is. Both characters suggest what these Marvel TV shows should really be doing- giving more screen time to characters who didn't get it in the movies. (Perhaps Marvel's next series, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, will make us like Sharon Carter and Batroc the Leaper. Perhaps not.)

The ending also lets Wanda off a little too easily, even though it also represents the truest heartbreak for her. At one point, the people of the town confront her about what she has done. You can easily imagine a version of this series where Wanda is truly taken to account for her actions. She doesn't apologize here. Perhaps she feels there's nothing she could do or say to make it right. But we don't linger on that, and she focuses only on Monica, the outsider who has been ready to understand and forgive her all along. That's a little too easy. Is she really sorry enough for the pain she caused? The series punishes her, but it does so by taking her back to square one, although with a new origin story and knowledge of who and what she is.

But after all, the focus of the series is the relationship between Wanda and Vision. And that emotional throughline is done justice here. They also decide to explain, in full technical terms, exactly what this version of Vision was, exactly. Thankfully, somehow that doesn't spoil the moment.

Meanwhile Kathryn Hahn (spoiler) is the breakout character here. She's a scene-stealer who convinces in both subtle moments and very exaggerated, cartoonish ones. Her performance has inspired many memes, and hints at a more interesting character than "Agnes" ends up being. The idea of a character wiser than she lets on, who's often wacky and over the top, but also a genuine and serious threat to Wanda, without simply being "evil." There's a lot going on with Hahn's performance. She does a lot with small amounts of screentime, and less with a more straightforward "villain" role. She convincingly sells that the character has met a disturbing end but will also hopefully be back next time. The character has potential, along the lines of Loki in the Thor series. Perhaps in a mentor role.

And as for the villains, what a relief that the methods by which they're defeated are clever ones. Wanda and Vision face a serious threat, and outwit that threat, which really strengthens them as characters. That's not something that Marvel always gets right.

The (spoiler) casting of Evan Peters was either going to be an inside joke, or set up a huge mega-crossover with FOX's X-Men franchise, which Disney now owns. In the end, the series didn't have time for that, and merely hints at something which may or may not happen in the future. To his credit, Peters really goes for it, giving a ridiculous and memeable performance which unfortunately gets lost in the mix with everything else that's going on here. He was, presumably, trying to match Kathryn Hahn's mix of silly and threatening.

Peters' casting means very little at the moment, and it will anger some fans like the Mandarin reveal in Iron Man 3, done because otherwise the character would be a stereotype. That's also something that Marvel walked back later. If Marvel is opening up the Multiverse in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home and Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness, it doesn't really matter what they've done with Wanda's family at this point. They can bring them in from other universes. Peters' casting does not close the door on that.

Sam Raimi, of the original Spider-Man and Evil Dead films, is directing Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness. In this episode, a theater is showing Raimi's 2013 film "Oz the Great and Powerful," and there's a post-credits scene here which is shot in a Raimi-like style, and features Dr. Strange's musical theme.

I hope that Wanda gets a lot to do in that film. After this kind of starring role it would be a shame for Wanda to go back to the sidelines.
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11122Post Garrett Gilchrist »

https://heroichollywood.com/matt-shakma ... e-changes/
https://youtu.be/qFxn1q-KqW8?t=7567

"Matt Shakman explained to Smith and Bernardin that originally, a sub-plot was filmed involving the twins, Monica, Darcy and Ralph Bohner as they attempted to steal the Darkhold from Agatha Harkness’ basement. It sounds like it would’ve teased more monstrous things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the director confirmed that Agatha’s rabbit, Scratchy, would’ve been revealed as a demon. Shakman also confirmed that the earlier tease about the aerospace engineer was purposefully included – but a scene paying off the reference was seemingly taken out when audiences began speculating about Reed Richards arriving on the show."
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11130Post Garrett Gilchrist »

#FalconAndTheWinterSoldier Ep1 has some very good character work for both leads. Otherwise I found it tough to get through. The US military propaganda stuff was the worst part of #WandaVision and it's looking like that's a much bigger part of this series, which is worrying. We'll see.

I spent much of the episode concerned that it was going to take a turn into anti-left politics. The show's politics are very vague, and this hangs over scenes with Don Cheadle's Rhodey and a young military operative, which fall flat because of it. Sam Wilson's action scene as The Falcon is feature film quality- impressive but also uninteresting. For awhile it seems like the show isn't dealing with real-world politics, but then Sam says something like:

"Trust me. Every time something gets better for one group, it gets worse for another."

Which sounds like very extreme right-wing propaganda. So does this:

"They're called the Flag Smashers ... they want a world that's unified without borders."

There is some grounded character work with Sam Wilson's sister, who is struggling financially, and with Bucky Barnes' attempts to come to grips with his past as brainwashed assassin The Winter Soldier. These scenes hint at a better show, and at this early point it's unclear which tone will win out.
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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11148Post Garrett Gilchrist »

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Re: TV Thread

Post: # 11152Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Some thoughts on the "villains" of Wandavision.

Hayward and Agatha both do pretty sudden heel turns into "evil villain" territory and it's the least interesting part of the series. Pretty clearly a choice to make Wanda look better because her antagonists are worse.

Is Wanda the villain?

Maybe there's a grey area in there, and that's where she operates. The creators have said that grief is the villain. Maybe that's a cop out and maybe it's not.

Agatha has always sought knowledge and power. She's a trained witch. She killed Sparky to test the limits of Wanda's powers. She is annoyed that Wanda is untrained with so much power, and using it for this nonsense. Agatha seeks to steal that power, as someone who "deserves it."
Agatha, who's lived for centuries without drawing attention to herself, could actually use the power safely. Unlike Wanda who mindfucked a town by accident.
That's certainly Agatha's opinion of things.

Underestimating Wanda, who then goes into training later.

Agatha would also have killed Wanda, full stop.

Wanda is confused during the entire series and in a disassociative episode. Otherwise she wouldn't have accepted her dead brother being (sort of) a different person, or the other strange aspects of her "TV show."

When she's feeling "like herself again," she lets Westview go. The rushed nature of the finale makes this a grey area, and Monica forgiving her is a bad scene.

She doesn't alter Westview's memories, but locking Agatha as Agnes is one of the nastier things Wanda does in the series.

I have a suspicion that the finale was difficult to finish due to Covid, and they focused on one-on-one scenes (like Monica and Wanda) to band-aid it together.

We don't need to consider Wanda's actions heroic, but we can understand them. And Agatha would have killed Wanda.

I would have liked to see Agatha and Wanda meet on more equal footing, and maybe we'll see them have more of an understanding of one another in the future. Agatha certainly could have been a mentor, but only knows the "TV housewife" version of Wanda and thinks she's worthless, underestimating her.
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