Tag Archives: TV

We Love Wandavision (Part 1)


I already reviewed the first 4 or 5 episodes of WandaVision on the page. Searching for the post to add the link confirms that it was 5 episodes of the show. The title is not a lie. This show took our family by storm and became must watch viewing from episode 1. We love WandaVision Part 1 implies that there might be more than one article in this series. While I can’t promise that’s the truth, I have a lot to say about this show.

Based on this post on my Facebook, others have a lot to say, too.

While it may seem awkward, some of the sections in this post will come in the form of reactions to the responses I received on that post. Since the page doesn’t quite have the reach I always hope it will, I can’t respond to anyone here. Hopefully some of you reading out there will have some of the same reactions and it will feel like we are having a conversation about this really great show.

In this post, I plan to address the first couple of episodes, the overall theme of the show, the fan theories that almost all went kaput, and where do they go from here? Before we get too far into it, though, a word of warning. I neither care nor respect the culture of “No spoilers”. I won’t actively spoil anything, but I won’t be careful about what might be considered a spoiler. You’ve been warned. Let’s see why we love WandaVision Part 1.

Those First Episodes

What is with this show? Why are they ripping off Dick Van Dyke? Where’s Hulk Smash?

I probably addressed this is the previous article. But, we are nothing if not thorough around here. I constantly repeat myself in case an article picks us up a new reader or two. Several people in my orbit (and by orbit, I mean one of them is a famous individual who I follow on social media) came away from the first two episodes disappointed.

Having possibly watched two of the most epic movies ever made (Infinity War and especially Endgame are in my top 10 movies of all time, MCU or not), they wondered why two of the most powerful heroes from those movies now played house in black and white complete with the messed up dinner and messed up magic act in the talent show trope. I implored the friends over who I believed I might actually have influence to stick with the show. It will pay off, I promised.

I’m not going to be disingenuous and say that I’m not here to gloat. I’m totally here to gloat. After all, it’s the sole reason for this post. Whereas other comic book “fans” went off about Mephisto this and X-Men that, knew. I knew about pain, suffering, loss, and grief. Let’s just leave it at that. I knew.

The Overall Theme of the Show

The show finally accomplished what Marvel has been trying to do since they rebooted their most popular heroes in the early and middle 2000s. It brought a new audience into the Marvel universe. My wife, Christine, who often sneered at us when we talked about how excited we were about the latest Marvel cinematic offering and went out of her way to avoid the movies like the plague, bought into this show from the first scene. The mother of one of Aiden’s friends also found herself watching the show with her son.

Here’s the thing. They both became curious about the backstory behind these characters. We ended up watching Infinity War and Endgame to give the most recent history. Then, Christine actually asked to go back to watch the chronological order of the movies. We are currently at an impasse because she wants to skip Iron Man 3 and the 2 GotG movies and our boys aren’t letting her. Hopefully, soon, we can resume because the GotG are my favorites, but I’m staying out of it.

The mother mentioned earlier said she had some of the same questions as Christine, so I summed it up for her thusly. Wanda is a witch. Vision is an extremely powerful AI given humanoid form. They are in love. Vision is killed by Thanos who looks to balance the scales on a cosmic level. Infinity War and Endgame, if you want the backstory, but not crucial. Her brother was killed by another villain named Ultron. That’s Age of Ultron, again not crucial. Driven a bit crazy by the death of her brother and lover, she created this alternate reality to have the life denied to her. And, guess what. Yep, gloating time again. I mean, honestly, people, it’s in the bloody title.

Fan Theories that Ultimately Fizzled

I admit that I paid little to no attention to these. Along with Star Wars, there is a sect of Marvel fans that became insufferable about the MCU and tolerates no deviation from the comic stories that they know and love. It started with organic web shooters during the Toby Maguire era. Like most of these underground internet communities, it grew into an unnatural den of anger and suffering.

Though, I admit to flirting a bit with the dark side after Spider-Man 3. It took the Avengers to get me back on board with the MCU.

Regarding WandaVision, the two most prominent theories I saw were a retelling of House of M, but instead of wishing mutants out of existence, Wanda wishes them into the MCU. With the acquisition of FOX, this made some sense. Then, FOX Quicksilver showed up and it looked like the old boys might have stumbled onto some inside intel. Alas, that rabbit hole proved too deep and Quicksilver is just our husband Ralph.

Apparently Mephisto fan boys (and girls?) exist because that’s the other one I heard bandied about from the beginning of the show. This one made the least sense to me. I suppose they derived inspiration from the Spider-Man story “One More Day” (I think that’s the one where Mephisto deals with Peter to give him back Aunt May, but takes everything else), so I give them credit for doing their homework. However, nothing else added up. My jaw dropped at the Agatha reveal like anyone else, but it made more sense that a rival witch showed up to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings than Mephisto and his meddling ass.

Where Do They Go From Here?

I won’t do an “explained” type post, though it would probably get me more hits if I did.

The protagonists “won”, Agatha rests in a flesh prison of her own design (Admittedly, not the fate I wanted for her, but an appropriate end all things being equal), the Vision is whole again, and Scarlet Witch (yes, they finally gave her name!) went the Thanos route and retired to a mountain retreat. I mean, yeah, she’s astral projecting and reading from and old gods cursed magic book. But, baby steps!

I’ve been trying to figure out Scarlet Witch’s character arc since the beginning of the show. It feels like they have been setting her up as a big bad to be redeemed. That only left when the redemption might actually happen. At the end of episode 9, it appeared that Wanda was at peace with her decision and willing to move on to bigger and better things. As a colleague noted, in the end credit scene, she looked to still be a little bit bad. Back to square 1.

What I can say for sure is that she will most likely be in a post credit scene in Spider-Man to set up for her next big starring role in Doctor Strange. Also, no matter her role in that film, it always seems like even when she tries to do right or good, it ends up blowing up into unintended consequences. Thanks for reading my recap of WandaVision Part 1. Stay tuned for a possible part 2 and maybe even a part 3 and 4 after watching the series two more times between now and next year when Doctor Strange releases.

Not sure what’s going on in our WandaVision Part 1 review? Go watch the show on Disney Plus! Know exactly what we’re talking about? Come watch it again with us!

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Appreciation


Welcome to my Umbrella Academy Season 2 Top 10 list. Sort of, but not really. I’m not much for lists, especially not top 10 lists. However, I wasn’t sure what to do about this article. Originally, I was going to have it be a review. The problem with that is (and I know I’m overwhelmingly positive to begin with) there wasn’t much that I didn’t like about the show. So, instead of calling it a review, I figured I’d just list everything I love about the show and this season.

I could have just cheaped out and listed all of the characters as 1-7. But, I respect you all far too much to pull that kind of nonsense.

I do love this show. I’ve watched Season 1 three times. I think I might have fallen asleep at times during the first viewing (mind you, that’s not an indicator of the quality of the show, just that I was working 60 hours a week and very tired) because I saw things the second time around that I’d missed. Then, I watched again because I thought that Aiden would enjoy the show. Spoiler Alert: He did.

And, so, we continue our travel through retro articles for the anniversary of the page with a brand new television show. Hey, I said I respected you too much to phone it in. I never promised that we’d actually stick to the topic at hand. Do stay tuned, though, because retro content is coming. I know I said this week. But, it’s getting pushed to next week. For now, let’s discuss Umbrella Academy Season 2!

The Hargreeves

I never read the Umbrella Academy comic. I never even knew it existed until I saw it on the Netflix menu. So, I took a chance on it. Completely sight unseen. I told everyone I knew about it after the first two episodes. I described it as a f***ed up X-Men. And, who are these f***ed up X-Men?

They are seven children, adopted by an “eccentric billionaire” shortly after they are born. They all have powers that are revealed through various vignettes and flashbacks in the first season. Moreover, they are all richly entertaining characters by themselves and in their interactions with one another.

At different times in the first season, I had a different favorite. As with most of you, I’m sure, number five remains my absolute favorite even if he was way more of a dink in the second season. However, I loved Klaus’ Vietnam story. I relate far too well to Diego as the one who always has to clean up the mess. Luther’s and Allison’s romance was great in the 2 “Days” episodes. Ben provides much needed comic relief and Vanya steals the show at the end.

Umbrella Academy Season 2 gives us more of all of it. Ben plays a huge role and gets one of the most emotional send offs I’ve seen in a television show. Vanya gets to be happy. Allison gets the socially aware storyline of the season. Diego is still cleaning up after everyone. The only stories that had minor quibbles with are Luther and Klaus. Especially Luther. I feel like he got robbed this season. Maybe he will get redemption in Season 3.

The Setting

My lifelong obsession with the Vietnam war and an appreciation of the hippie movement plus enjoyment of the music all notwithstanding, I’m not as much of a fan of the 60s as a decade. I mean, they’re better than the 80s and I liked the 90s, which were basically the 60s redux. Okay, maybe I like the 60s just fine.

However, I was born in the 70s. So, I guess it makes sense that I relate more to that decade than the 60s. Growing up, I loved Saturday Night Fever and I railed against anyone who would listen that disco wasn’t dead. 90s rap vindicated me on that one a bit when they sampled many disco beats. Speaking of retro, I also like 80s and 90s video games better. What do you mean they didn’t have video games in the 60s?

What’s the point? Who the hell knows anymore? Oh, right, the choice of the 60s as the setting for season 2. If I had any questions about the setting, I was wrong. For the most part, the stories were fund and entertaining in spite of the fact that they were simply trying to stop the apocalypse again. Heck, they even made the “Save JFK” story entertaining even though it’s been done many times before.

The Stories

So, other than JFK, what are the stories? Well, without going into too much detail, Luther is an underground fighter with ties to the mob (that already gives away a lot if you know history), Five is still dealing with the commission (and if you remember season 1, very familiar faces from the past/future/both?), Klaus is a cult leader, Ben learns that he can possess people, Vanya is working as a live in babysitter (it’s more interesting than it sounds), Diego finds love in the nut house (again, there’s more to it, but that about covers it), and Allison…

Allison finds herself in the middle of the racial strife of the time. Again, this isn’t a particularly original story. But, given the current political environment, it hit me pretty hard. Even Aiden said, “Why are people so dumb?” And, I never have an answer to that question.

I mean, I understand racism from a “scientific”point of view. However, I will never understand how things break inside of people’s brains and make them so angry, bitter, and hateful. Actually, that’s not entirely true. What I don’t understand is why people can’t change their beliefs when presented with contradicting evidence. No, wait, I get that, too. If I’m being honest, even though I understand each component individually, I don’t actually understand any of it. Does that make any sense? Probably not. Then again, neither does racism.

With all of that being said, the story was interesting. And, if can help some people learn that racial injustice didn’t start in the last year, or decade, or even century, then that can only be a good thing. I don’t know if a super hero show on Netflix can have that kind of impact, but I remain hopeful.

The Villains

Spoiler alert? Perhaps not because nobody is ever truly dead in a show like this.

One of the great things about this show is the moral ambiguity of many of its characters. You don’t truly know who is a hero and who is a villain in most cases. Sure, a guy like Diego runs counter to this theory. But, there will always be exceptions. What about someone like Hazel? Is he a villain because he is a hit man? Is he a hero for giving all of that up to be with the woman he loves?

Even one of my favorites, Number Five. He’s on the side of the heroes most of the time. However, he does fall in with The Commission and becomes one of their best assassins. Plus, as I said earlier, he’s just a dink overall. Some of that can be attributed to time travel “madness” or whatever, I suppose.

The point of it all is that characters that I would universally define as a villain like our lady friend that I used as an example up there are still compelling and worth watching. Yes, she is detestable. She is manipulative. Her only agenda is herself. And, yet, when her fate is revealed in season 2, I cheered because I genuinely like having her around. Maybe that says something about me as a person. But, admit it, you cheered, too.

The Verdict

Umbrella Academy Season 2 is an absolute success. Someone asked on Facebook if it was better than season 1. I responded that I wouldn’t say better, but a different energy and still fun. I haven’t watched it a second time to see if I missed anything. But, winter is coming and coronavirus has halted all production, so season 3 won’t be around for a while now. I have time to watch a second, third, and then binge the whole series a 4th and 5th time if I want.