WandaVision, Disney+, and the Binge-Watch Culture

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

By launching a weekly series like WandaVision rather than all episodes at the same time, Disney+ is making sure viewers keep coming back.

WandaVision and The Mandalorian both have viewers coming back each week.  One is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while the other is a Star Wars series.  At the end of the day, however, the episodes have viewers talking.  Unfortunately, they are also the type of series where you have to watch without going online.  I’ve been watching upon launch so as to be able to safely go online in the morning.  Honestly, there isn’t a good time to launch new episodes.  Maybe Thursday evenings at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT?  Finding the right time to launch new episodes is beside the point.

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and even the Disney-owned Hulu have spoiled viewers as an audience.  In dropping all episodes at once, it guarantees a conversation all weekend long.  But what happens after that?  Nobody even talks about Space Force anymore.  I was offline during the initial weekend because of Shavuot but nobody was talking about Space Force when I came back online.  The hope that more subscribers catch on and watch the series?  If it’s a new series, I personally want to know it’s coming back before getting too invested in the characters and story.  I’ve been late to watching series because I frequently get disappointed during the upfronts in May.  It’s not fun and happens every year but it is what it is.

The Mandalorian took viewers on a different ride every week.  Some episodes would get viewers talking more so than others.  You couldn’t not talk about the second season finale!  But with WandaVision, we are talking every single week!  If you do not watch at launch, going on social media becomes a risk.  This series is certainly following the traditional three-act structure.  The end of the third episode is where the second act begins.  It also opened us up to some of the mystery.  The middle three episodes are really where the series is going full Marvel.  And now?  The big reveal was left for the seventh episodes as things continue to unravel.  We’re finally starting to see some answers but the question I have is whether or not the season concludes with a cliffhanger.

We know that Elizabeth Olsen is appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.  Will Doctor Strange or another major Marvel character make a cameo before the season concludes?  Could the finale include a teaser for the sequel in the same way that The Mandalorian teased The Book of Boba Fett?  We have two more episodes to find out.  One thing is for certain: no matter what happens, people are going to be talking about WandaVision.  This cycle will repeat itself for a pair of 6-episode Marvel series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Loki.  Disney knows how to keep our eyeballs on their series beyond a single weekend.

In many ways, the binge-watching culture has spoiled us.  Until Disney+, Apple, CBS All Access, and HBO Max launched, we were used to all streaming episodes launching at once.  I think what they are doing is great.  It guarantees subscriptions beyond the free trial.  While Netflix is also launching many series per year, one thing they are doing in 2021 is streaming a movie of the week.  In this era of content galore, every provider has to do what they can to keep eyeballs on their service and have people talking about them.  If you excuse me, I’m going to be patiently waiting for 2 AM CT to hit on Friday for the newest episode of WandaVision!

WandaVision is streaming exclusively on Disney+.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.