Covid restrictions and production shutdowns meant that WandaVision was the first out the gate for this new age of MCU television shows.
And what better show to start with than one where the characters themselves are in a different sit-com episode to episode.
But one of the biggest talking points that has come out of the show isn’t anything to do with the plot, rather whether it should have dropped all at once or week to week like it has.
Even though Disney Plus did the same thing with both seasons of The Mandalorian I saw a fair few people online shocked that after they finished the first two episodes that originally dropped they couldn’t binge the rest of the series in one go.
So was this a smart thing for Disney Plus and has it benefited WandaVision?
Was Disney smart to release WandaVision episodes weekly?
First of all, let’s look at how the show itself is structured; Relatively short episode running times by today’s standards, tackling a new era of sit-com per week, and a slow burn of intrigue revealed as each episode progresses.
The argument could be made that due to the nature of the show, dropping the first two episodes (which are more or less just straight up sit-coms without much else compared to later episodes) with a week between the next could have put certain viewers off and made them not return for the next installment.
Had this been dropped all in one go the likelihood that those people would have stayed for the course probably would have increased?
I think where you stand on that point depends on what you want from this show.
I enjoyed the sit-com aspect so much I was quite happy to spend as much time in this fake show as possible and found myself wanting the weekly escapades of Vision and Wanda navigating suburban life to be a real show! But I know not everyone shares those views and wanted more actual plot from those early episodes.
Personally, I prefer to not binge any show, not just WandaVision.
I’d rather let each episode have the time to breathe in my head before moving on to the next so it’s no surprise that I’m happy with the weekly visits to the Maximoff household.
But even if I was a fan of binging, I still think dropping each episode individually was the right call for this show.
We’re talking about WandaVision every week!
One of the main reasons is that it’s a talking point each week.
I enjoyed not knowing what’s going on with Kathryn Hahn and having to wait a while before I found out.
Evan Peters showing up was a big deal and I think having a week in between that cliff-hanger and a full episode with him helped with the excitement.
If all the episodes had been released at once then his return would have got audiences talking for sure, but speculation and intrigue wouldn’t have been on the same level.
Would the events of episode four, We Interrupt This Program, have had the same impact if we could jump straight back into the narrative? I’m not so sure.
As much as the show suits itself to being watched all together, I think it’s been a nice change in this Netflix era to have a new major release be a slow burn and have audiences anticipating the next installment.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have been absolute tour de forces for the whole run, their individual range and chemistry together has been a joy to watch, and seeing how they change up their performances each episode depending on the comedy era that installment is taking inspiration from has been a highlight of the show.
And each break only adds to it, letting us appreciate every layered portrayal that bit more.
Whether this was a good move for Disney Plus is a different question.
It just so happens to have the same answer: yes.
Disney Plus doesn’t have loads of new content every week
Unlike Netflix, Disney Plus doesn’t have 20 new original pieces of content to drop each month.
They can’t afford people to sign up for one sitting of The Mandalorian or WandaVision and then cancel their subscription.
They need members and they need them to stay.
Dropping seasons of shows across the course of two or so months not only secures the revenue from new members that they want to keep, it also keeps people talking about their shows for longer.
As big as the likes of Stranger Things are, that’s talked about widely for maybe two-three weeks.
With this model Disney has a much longer window of exposure, leading to potential new members of the streaming service.
And while the pandemic has shifted their release plans for other original content, the fact of the matter is that once WandaVision airs its last episode, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is only two weeks away, and more than likely the same timeframe for Loki after that, with Hawkeye looking set for later in the year also.
It’s a constant stream of content for viewers to stay for and is the perfect business model for the still relatively new streamer trying to find its place in the market.
And the non-stop release of new content means that they can keep their already impressive numbers increasing.
It’s been really interesting to see a number of reviews coming out in recent weeks criticizing WandaVision for going episode to episode padding along without any real payoff or closure.
Which is a very strange position to take. Surely people haven’t already forgotten how TV used to work.
Would we all like to watch a whole series of Line of Duty in one go? Absolutely. But part of the enjoyment is the time between episodes.
The talk and the speculation and the unanswered questions.
We will be doing a binge re-watch of WandaVision on Disney Plus
A binge re-watch of WandaVision will be a very fun thing, watching the story play out in its entirety, but for the first experience, having that time to let each episode settle and process and not have all of the questions answered immediately will make the finale more satisfying and, I think, make viewers look back at the show and the experience of watching it more fondly.
What do you make of this feature? Have you been enjoying WandaVision on Disney Plus?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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