“The growing mystery that starts to pull the style of the show closer and closer to a more modern craft of filmmaking through a brilliant use of visual effects has me hooked,” writes streaming columnist NICK OVERALL.
DISNEY Plus takes the streaming headlines by storm this week with “WandaVision”, a television return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a fresh new twist.
Gotta give it to Marvel – after 23 films that make up its ever-expanding, billion-dollar brand one might think a bit of fatigue would set in.
However, “WandaVision” takes a bold new creative step forward. Featuring two of the more minor heroes of “The Avengers” – Vision, a half-man half-machine, and Scarlet Witch, a woman with telekinesis – the show was always going to have to do a bit more work to pull audiences in.
It’s done just that. Rather than a big, action, set piece we’re instead transported back to ’50s suburbia, where the two heroes live as a couple trying to hide their powers from the local neighbourhood.
In a brilliantly inspired twist, the show takes on the style and quirks of a ’50s sitcom – black and white, campy humour and charmingly drawn animations come together to make a wonderful homage to a completely different era of television.
Of course, nothing is quite as it seems. Strange events start disrupting the quaint reality of the couple. Random colour returning to objects in their monochromatic world makes the characters, and us as the audience, start asking questions about how this surreal reality fits into the rest of the Marvel Universe.
It’s an intriguing premise, and the growing mystery that starts to pull the style of the show closer and closer to a more modern craft of filmmaking through a brilliant use of visual effects has me hooked.
A common question though, especially with just how much plot now exists in the Universe, is can I watch this new show and enjoy it if I haven’t watched all the other films?
In this example, absolutely.
For those who have dabbled in the other films there are subtle nods and references that satisfyingly add to the mystery of it all, but I wouldn’t say they’re necessary to enjoy what’s on offer here.
JUST as January marks the start of this new blockbuster, it also represents the end of another of streaming’s biggest shows.
SBS On Demand has in the last week started streaming the final season of “Vikings”, which ended its six-season run at the end of last year.
“Vikings” stormed its way on to the streaming scene in 2013 channelling as much “Game of Thrones” energy as it could: violence, sex and a whole bunch of politics firmly in tow.
It follows the exploits of Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Viking from old Norse poetry.
The show doesn’t claim to depict the history of Vikings and their culture with 100 per cent accuracy. There’s quite a departure from the real-world history for the sake of that thing we call entertainment, but it has without a doubt sparked the interest of thousands of viewers in Viking literature.
The phenomenon of a hit show having a pop culture flow-on effect is something that’s regularly seen across the streaming world.
There’s a good chance Netflix subscribers have seen “The Queen’s Gambit”, a ratings record breaker about a young genius chess player named Beth Harmon who takes on the male-dominated world of the game.
Three weeks after the series had premiered it was reported that chess sets internationally went flying off shelves faster than they had done in years. That’s not to mention chess-strategy books, which some reports said sold up to 600 per cent more than usual because of the show’s influence.
Seems like “Vikings” has done for Vikings and Norse mythology what “The Queen’s Gambit” has done for chess.
WHILE on Norse mythology, I also have to mention “American Gods” that just started streaming its third season on Amazon Prime.
Based on the best-selling 2001 novel by Neil Gaiman, it’s a fascinating blend of fantasy, mythology, drama and crime served up in the scenery of a contorted US.
It’s hard to say much more about “American Gods”, other than it’s definitely for lovers of head-spinning plots full of layers and complexities.
That, or you could just continue to watch the daily news coming out of the US.