What on earth is this, an entire audience asked as this limited series began in the style of a 1950s sitcom starring two Marvel heroes who had last been seen in Infinity War and Endgame. As the series continued, there were additional faithfully created homages to sitcoms, moving through the history of television, but soon we also learned more about what was really going on, setting up an explosive showdown between the grieving, dangerous Wanda and an enemy who was hiding in her sitcom world. Playful, wildly inventive and gorgeous to look at, with strong performances by Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn.
2021-U.S. 350 min. Color-B/W. Created by Jac Schaeffer. Directed by Matt Shakman. Cast: Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Paul Bettany (Vision), Kathryn Hahn (Agnes/Agatha Harkness), Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings.
Trivia: Originally shown in nine episodes. The story was continued in a feature film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).
Last word: “I thought, how interesting to do sitcom, sitcom, sitcom, and then shatter that and be in a different genre. But once we got in the writers’ room, we stayed with family sitcoms and sitcoms that were on the brighter, optimistic side of the spectrum because it is a fantasy. That meant things like All in the Family and Roseanne got shunted to the side. I had an episode that was The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and it was about Wanda’s work-life balance. Those are spectacular shows and say so much about our culture and ourselves. But we stayed in the zone of aspirational family sitcoms and that helped us find the focus of the show.” (Schaeffer, The New York Times)