If you’re planning to watch the series finale of WandaVision at some point this weekend and are now reading this, you’re in one of two boats: 1) a Marvel Cinematic Universe stan who has already seen the rest of the franchise multiple times or 2) an MCU newbie who just happened to like this show but still isn’t completely sold on Captain America: Winter Soldier or whatever. If you happen to be in that third boat of casual fans who now feel inspired to binge the entirety of the MCU, well, you don’t need a guide for that—just go binge those movies. You’re presumably paying for that Disney+ membership already. We’re not judging.
But for the rest of us who were drawn to the show for other reasons, here's a guide of what to watch (and read) next that deals with the worlds of old sitcoms, witches, and, well, the wonders of Elizabeth Olsen. These are all enjoyable on their own, but many also offer direct correlations to WandaVision that will leave you mulling over where the show really succeeded (and it did on many fronts) and where some of the themes and tricks it tried to pull off were more expertly executed elsewhere.
Available on Netflix
There’s this show about a young woman grieving the loss of family members who winds up in a kooky situation she doesn't understand; eventually, she ends up whirling through a series of highly stylized genre pastiches with a male companion. Now, we're not talking about WandaVision. We're talking about Netflix's still divisive 2018 miniseries Maniac—which is, honestly, the best direct comparison television has to offer to WandaVision.
The Emma Stone and Jonah Hill-starring show was met with initial positive reviews and a lot of hype, but seemed to fail to connect with audiences. That’s a shame, because there are some really fun moments in the show—plus, it's a joy to watch Stone and Hill have so much fun together. The episode where they play a couple in '80s Long Island caught up in a Lemur heist is a particular standout.
Ah, a rare film generally loved by Millennials of a certain age, but, for better or worse, not caught up in the constant churn of nostalgia content. Reese Witherspoon and Toby MaGuire play a brother and sister who wind up trapped in a 1950s sitcom, and while at first things seem idyllic, they quickly realize they're living in a world of bigotry, female repression, and censorship. If that doesn't sell you, Paul Walker, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, William H. Macy, Jane Kaczmarek, and a pre-Rilo Kiley Jenny Lewis fill out the cast.
The Vision by Tom King (2015)
I'm not an MCU completist, but ended up watching WandaVision. Similarly, I'm not a regular comic book reader, but the buzz around this 12-issue limited series was so strong that, at the time, I ended up seeking it out and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, many Marvel fans were convinced WandaVision would end up as a slightly re-written adaptation of this series. That's not the case, but they do share themes and a main character. It's one of the most revered comic book tales in recent memory.
In this world, Vision and Wanda have separated, and he's somewhat mysteriously been set up with a new android wife and two android children in the suburbs. The family does their best to fit in and secretly yearns to be fully human, but, tragically, that doesn't happen.
The series also offers newbies an introduction to the original version of Agatha Harkness (she's a bit different in the books). Oh, and Sparky the dog, which many viewers might not have even noticed until Agatha announced she had killed him, is basically an Easter egg for fans of the series. (Spoiler alert: he also dies here, but it’s not Agatha who kills him).
BeWitched (1965) and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996)
Wanting to go back and watch old sitcoms after WandaVision is sort of obvious, but zeroing in on two beloved sitcoms that actually center around witches not only makes sense thematically, but evoke two different types of nostalgia for viewers who may be similar in age to Wanda herself. BeWitched was a staple of Nick at Night, whereas the Melissa Joan Heart-starring version of Sabrina carried ABC's TGIF block for a few years. Both engage in the sort of tropes WandaVision satirizes, but, actually, they both hold up.
The Umbrella Academy (2019)
Available on Netflix
This show seems to be as massively popular as any current Netflix original, but doesn't really get much buzz in the New York media. I'll go on the record as an apologist. Like WandaVision, it delves into complicated superhero family dynamics. Also like WandaVision, it traffics in pastiche, in that the whole thing is basically an extended tribute to Wes Anderson films with a few dashes of Quentin Tarantino thrown in. Plus Robert Sheehan, Kate Walsh, and young Aidan Gallagher all give the kind of electric performances that suggest they're truly enjoying themselves.
Available on Netflix
WandaVision is genre entertainment that fits itself into the contours of a sitcom. Community is a sitcom that frequently uses its episodes to fit itself into the contours of genre entertainment. Originally a simple show about a community college study group, it somehow managed to send up war films, space epics, mafia series, Law & Order, 8-bit video games, Christmas claymation films, documentaries, and The Shawshank Redemption through its run. And that is not nearly a complete list. Plus, it introduced the wider world to the talents of Alison Brie and Donald Glover.
My Life as a Goddess (2018) by Guy Branum
Available on Amazon
A bit of an outlier here, but the standup comedian's memoir serves as a meditation of growing up as an outsider marked both by his weight and sexuality and finding refuge in old entertainment. "Bothered and Bewildered," the chapter about the power of old sitcoms, kept popping up in my mind again and again as I watched WandaVision.
The Love Witch (2016)
Available on Pluto for free.
Does it feel weird to put a little-seen but ultimately beloved feminist indie film on here? Eh. It's a film about a young witch that is also an homage to 1960s entertainment. It's a vibe you might just enjoy.
Ingrid Goes West (2017)
Available on Hulu
We'll keep our recommendations based on the cast's previous work short. We've already written an entire guide to the best of Kathryn Hahn. Still, maybe you need just a little bit more of Elizabeth Olsen's talents in your life. Martha Marcy May Marlene was her breakthrough film. Her previous television role was a critically adored but little-seen show on Facebook Watch (of all things) called Sorry for Your Loss. Though, for our money, if you want to keep your next dose of Olsen light and breezy, check out Ingird Goes West in which she plays a decidedly unlikable influencer opposite Aubrey Plaza's scheming striver. It shows a completely different side of Olsen's talents, and also may just end up going down in the books as the definitive film on Insatagram culture (despite the fact that Olsen herself is no big fan of Instagram).