WandaVision took the world by storm as fans looked forward to the premiere of a new episode as much as they did a Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
Every week, it was as if we were watching an MCU movie in the form of a television show.
Marvel has never released content like this before. Sure, they produced shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil, but they have never taken their big-screen characters and brought them to the small screen. It was a huge success.
Disney took a gamble with WandaVision, and it paid off tenfold.
It quickly became the number one television show in the world, rightfully so, and it was all anyone could talk about.
If a story about the Scarlet Witch and the Vision living in a sitcom world created by the former's immense grief can succeed, what can't Marvel do?
There really is no stopping the studio from branching out and telling different stories outside of the typical hero-versus-villain formula.
At this point, it's hard to predict the impact of WandaVision as its finale -- WandaVision Season 1 Episode 9 -- aired fairly recently. But there's no doubt that its triumph will factor in how Marvel produces and releases its upcoming projects.
While WandaVision was not planned as the first entry of Phase Four of the MCU, thanks to COVID, that's the way it played out.
In a way, it was a blessing in disguise because it's the perfect television show to usher in a new era of this massive franchise.
WandaVision has set the tone for the future of Marvel. And if it is any indication of what the other television shows and films are going to be like, we're in for a treat.
After Avengers: Endgame premiered in 2019, it signaled an end to many of the characters and stories that we have known and loved for over a decade.
It was up in the air how Marvel was going to move forward to create new content that was just as entertaining, while not repeating what it's already done. Now, we know.
WandaVision beautifully told a story that shined a light on familiar characters who didn't get a lot of screentime in previous films.
The writing and development of these characters proved that each hero we have come across is deserving of fantastic storylines that bring them to the front and center of the action.
And not only did the exploration of these seemingly minor characters work, but WandaVision's deviation into new territory for the MCU did as well.
Writing WandaVision around the five stages of grief has raised the bar for the franchise.
These are new waters that the Powers That Be haven't delved into deeply before. And since most of us can agree that WandaVision was a massive win for Marvel Studios, it opens up the door for more unique storytelling possibilities.
The comic book studio's slate of productions is full of TV shows and feature films. It's a pretty diverse roster that ranges from sequels of beloved characters to Disney+ shows introducing new heroes.
With these multiple projects, it's difficult to balance them when they each revolve around one central theme -- superheroes. After a while, it's possible that these stories could become repetitive. WandaVision proved that's not true.
It masterfully used the themes of classic sitcoms to tell the story of a grieving superhero. No one would have thought that this bizarre combination would be a massive triumph, let alone make any sense to its audience.
The MCU can no longer rely on surprise appearances, humor, or twisty comic book stories. They have been there and done that.
With WandaVision, Marvel is starting to produce television shows that are high-quality in the eyes of not only loyal fans but also critics and those who never enjoyed the previous films.
WandaVision was loved by all, from devoted Marvel enthusiasts to those looking for a new show to watch in quarantine.
Thanks to the attention it's getting, there is serious talk about numerous awards nominations, including the Emmys.
Marvel productions, and superhero films and television shows in general, have rarely been recognized at award shows outside of achievements in visual effects and stunt choreography.
So, the potential for WandaVision to be nominated for the big categories, like acting and writing, would be a game-changer for the MCU.
Hopefully, this would mean more compelling and varied storytelling from Marvel going forward.
Not only has WandaVision changed the game for the content that comes out of Marvel Studios, but it also has altered the way we watch it.
With WandaVision, we were treated to one episode a week outside of its two-episode premiere rather than Disney+ dumping the entire season on one day.
The one-episode-a-week formula is the classic way to go when it comes to television, and the series thrived on it.
It allowed us to discuss each half-hour installment in its entirety instead of analyzing the work as a whole. It also built up anticipation as we waited for the next episode to air.
As various MCU Disney+ shows roll out, it's obvious that they will adhere to the same schedule as WandaVision. If it's not broken, then don't fix it.
While this formula doesn't work for every television show, it works well for the MCU because there's almost a guarantee each episode will end on a cliffhanger.
In doing so, fans take to social media and talk about every possible direction the show could take. They come up with theories about who might show up and what will happen next.
You can't do this when you're sitting in a theater watching a film in its entirety.
As the MCU continues, it will be interesting to see the ratio of films to television shows. As of right now, it looks like it's about even.
What do you think, WandaVision Fanatics?
Did WandaVision leave an irreversible mark on the MCU and television? What upcoming Marvel projects are you looking forward to?
And which do you prefer -- a Marvel film or a Marvel television show?
Let me know in the comments!
Sarah Little is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.