While it’s difficult to make a horror TV show that genuinely scares the audience, it has always been more difficult to make a show that truly unnerves the viewer. Some shows, like “The Twilight Zone” and “Black Mirror,” manage it by commenting on difficult aspects of society. It’s a bit harder to hit the same too-close-to-home notes with an action-packed and often lighthearted franchise, like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Somehow, the new Disney+ original “WandaVision” manages to perfectly nail the atmosphere of “something’s not quite right.”
The show is very carefully paced, with the first few episodes occurring in a vacuum: the viewer has no idea what’s going on, no clue how Vision (who died in “Avengers: Infinity War”) is alive and no inkling as to why the world seems to be in black and white. In episode four, “We Interrupt This Program,” the audience is finally given some answers, but I was deeply impressed by the way that those first few installments tantalized me, prompting constant theorizing and searching for clues, confident that the answers were right in front of me. It’s an unusual method of gaining audience investment, but it’s definitely effective.
When examined from a practical point of view, the show holds strong to the standard set by the rest of the MCU. The acting is engaging, though not Oscar-worthy, and the cinematography is interesting, with each episode being stylized into a different time period. The dialogue can be a bit forced, but that can be attributed to the intentional cheesy-sitcom style. All things considered, the show is well-made, but the emphasis is clearly on the story rather than the craft.
As of the writing of this review, seven of season one’s nine episodes have aired. While the craft and writing of “WandaVision” may not be particularly outstanding, the atmosphere it creates and the questions it raises will certainly keep you glued to your seat.