Since 2007 there is a name that all fans of films, comics and TV series, Marvel and otherwise, know: Kevin Faige.
Who doesn't know the president of Marvel Studios? Nightmare of WB and DC Comics, Faige has created an empire around him that has also earned him an Oscar nomination for Black Panther, the first superhero movie to receive a Best Picture nomination. The successes are many, the criticisms countless. While rivers of ink were used to review the films, amidst furious criticism and unrivaled successes - Endgame it won the highest grossing title in history - there is much more to be said about the TV series. 

2021 saw, in rapid succession, the release of: WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If (animated series which we will not talk about in this article), Hawkeye until the 2022 success of Moon Knight. Other titles will follow, with the very specific purpose of introducing new characters to the general public, essential now that Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are no longer part of this universe.  

The titles already released are united by a huge success with the public, but also by furious, and often too harsh, criticism from fans of Marvel comics. The first question we ask ourselves when we read some of these titles is:

Did we really need it? 

We must answer this question by asking ourselves both as spectators and as readers. 

It's easy to judge Marvel TV Series when you're not inside

On the one hand if we were just one or the other our life would be easier and judging these jobs, a breeze, but those of us who cover both roles know that life is not that simple. 

For those unfamiliar with comics, the TV series is essential, even if only understanding who will become what in the near future is this cinematic or just for the use and consumption of streaming platforms. 

For those, on the other hand, who know comics, the series serve above all to remind us that MCU is a parallel universe, a multiverse if you will, which borrows characters and changes their background, origins, loves and deepest affections to give them. as a meal to a wider audience.   

Some of these series have been created to be self-contained. The word end to a parable that leaves the baton to the new generations. This is the case with Hawkeye. Clint Barton has nothing more to say or give to the superhero world. He has had his second chance and he doesn't want to waste it. Or at least he would like to be there for his family at Christmas, until Kate, a girl with innate talents and a sloth's survival instinct, breaks into his life.

It carries with it ronin, the mercenary who for five years became Clint's alter ego. We already know how he was born, we know why he was born and how he evolves, until the moment when Black Widow brings Clint home. The series loses the opportunity to tell the origins, the problem is that Ronin would have been more interesting than Clint. We know every aspect of him or so we believe. In Clint's case, the struggle between seriality and continuity is expressed by the character of Yelena. Natasha's sister, in the film Black Widow one of the cornerstones of the relationship between Clint and Natasha is questioned. If they really are the two best spies SHIELD had to offer, why is Dreykov still alive? 

In this case, canonical continuity has been sacrificed in the name of the introduction of the new Black Widow who, like Kate, is called to replace a hero.  

Clint shouldn't be the main character, this is the story of Kate and how she takes her first steps in her new role. It would like to be a story in the making, but it remains anchored in the past because after more than ten years, when you think of Hawkeye you think of Clint and the attention shifts to him.    

Kate is the new one who advances, but who struggles to make his way through our imagination to take the place that even the comics have reserved for her. 

The series that has perhaps passed most unnoticed is also the one that works best.

Its strength lies in a good fluidity of the story that goes well with a respectable cast, but without exaggerating. The actors don't obscure the plot, they complement it. Even the episodes we would call fillers aren't boring, or at least not boring enough to make the viewer stop watching. There are moments of actual hilarity that are not forced, but they suit the character of Clint who as a hero has never taken himself too seriously. Too bad that this strength is lost in the final. Not so much because it is taken for granted but because it makes ridiculous what has been one of the best villains of the Marvel TV series up to now. Kingpin is the pale shadow of the character we've come to know with Daredevil.

Seriality of the past, Seriality of the present

The seriality of the past collides with the series of the present. On the one hand a product created for Netflix, on the other series designed to be broadcast on Disney +. The streaming platform changes and the content of the stories told also changes. Disney finds its users among families and children and we know how dangerous it is to expose such young and impressionable minds to multifaceted and three-dimensional characters.

If already a God who is knocked to the ground by the Hulk over and over again does not bleed, we can be sure that an evil, perverse, yet at the same time vulnerable and human for this Kingping, cannot find a place on this new platform. If all this can be forgiven by the viewer who just wants to enjoy a TV series to pass the time, the same does not happen for those who, with a critical eye, look at a self-contained series and realize that the ending does not conclude anything, indeed it opens to new questions that risk being left unanswered once again.  

A separate case is represented by WandaVision. The first series to have come down to us. If Wanda is the character who most of all strays from the origins of the comic - no one has forgotten as a Age of Ultron his character has been distorted - but also what has been less understood. Either you love her or you hate her, there is no middle ground.

Or is she considered a "child" like Rogers who justifies her actions by defining her and her brother "Good kids " or you think of her as a terrorist who has never paid the consequences of her actions. The series did not aim to look to the past, but to the present. What became of Wanda afterwards Avengers Endgame?  It had to be only one season to answer this question. Yet it's not exactly a self-contained series. It only concludes part of Wanda's journey but opens the door to something different.  

There is a lot to be said about a series that got everyone in agreement, even those viewers who don't particularly like Wanda. 

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Marvel TV series of the past

The WandaVision case

First of all we have to commend the writing team who really show they know about television and its history. 

An example above all is how the length of the episodes varies according to the historical period they recall. Yet even here there are problems. WandaVision represents the striking example of how the relationship, at times too close with cinema and at times not close enough, so as to contradict theses and theories made canon on the big screen, does not help to make the series a product in its own right, even if they would like be. 

WandaVision is the road that leads to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Wanda begins her descent to the dark side, becoming Scarlet Witch and if she is understandable on the one hand, on the other she just infuriates us. Maybe we can get answers in the film. Perhaps the characters introduced will in turn become protagonists or villains of other series and films.

Perhaps too many and too few answers risk confusing the viewer and leaving him with a bad taste in his mouth. The relationship between the series and the second film in the Doctor Strange saga is so close, and the temporal distance so close that the film seems like a second season never announced openly rather than a film dedicated to the Sorcerer Supreme. There is continuity in this case, but to the detriment of the seriality that would like to put an end to a story that is only at the beginning, even if seven years late from the first time we met Wanda in Sokovia.

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Marvel Wandavision TV series
A good example of a Marvel TV series: WandaVision

Marvel TV series can we forget about Loki?

Loki it is the first series to openly be the start of something longer. We do not know how many seasons will be shot, but we do know that at least the second will be made. The series brings back to the attention of the public an Owen Wilson in splendid shape, after dark years that have kept him away from the scenes. The chemistry between him and Tom Hiddlestone is undeniable and works great. By themselves they keep the viewer glued to the screen, even when things get confusing and difficult to follow.  

The Infinity Stones are nothing more than paperweights. The Multiverse exists but is systematically frayed. Loki is a temporal anomaly in all its variations, so why wasn't he stopped earlier? All this theory and the very existence of TVA undermine the continuity between the first Thor movie and The Avengers. Seriality has destroyed canonical continuity.

He told us how even though this Loki is the same one we have come to know in the movies, at the same time he is another entity that cannot go back into his timeline, because no variant can. They become agents, without knowing that they have in turn been torn from their own realities, from families, from friends, from loved ones. So Loki is different, more dangerous, because each variant of him represents a danger for each timeline in which he is born. And then let's go back to where we started, with all due respect to the continuity that at this point is crying in a corner. 

Marvel Loki TV series
Did you know that the Marvel TV series: Loki has been renewed for a second season?

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Falcon and the Winter Soldier evil evil

With Falcon and the Winter Soldier the painful notes for the Marvel TV series open.

Unlike the series already mentioned, this one leaves us perplexed both about its usefulness in continuity and in the way in which it has been addressed. In this case the only reason why we can talk about seriality is because it has six episodes, which are badly managed from the point of view of the plot. To know who would take Captain America's shield it would be enough to take a look at the comics. For over fifty years Sam Wilson was Steve Rogers' right hand man. He also becomes the first black Captain America. 

And here the problems begin. In the MCU Sam Wilson has always been in the shadows. A shoulder used to highlight Rogers' charisma and all the characteristics that made him Captain America. More of a fanboy than a real soldier, without any personality, a series had to be created in order to introduce the concept that his character would evolve into the new Cap. 

An experiment that was never completely successful. First of all, put in close contact with Bucky Barnes, even if in the watered down and tormented version of him, he immediately goes into the background; the fault of a writing that, even unwillingly, makes the spectators more involved in the torments of the former Winter Soldier than in the voyage of self-discovery that Wilson undertakes. 

Yet the character who overshadows him most is Zemo, the mastermind behind Civil War, the man who lost everything and who destroys the Avengers from within. Again, with a few simple scenes, the viewer is more interested in him than in Wilson. Memorable is the scene in Madripoor in which Wilson unwittingly demonstrates how privileged and detached he is from the reality that African Americans experience every day. In fact, he mistakes the dress that Zemo makes him wear for something that could be worn by a "protector" ignoring how it is instead a dress by an African designer that takes up tribal motifs to be proud of. How can someone who doesn't even realize his privileges - soldier, friend of Steve Rogers, Avenger - represent the redemption of an entire community from which he is so distant? We don't have an answer to offer, and sadly neither does the series.     

Zemo wins over everyone

Little characterization, little attention to his inner journey, little interest in his character, make the series boring and at times unbearable. A scene with Zemo walking among the vials of Supersero is enough to realize when Sam Wilson is, despite him, just a name that sometimes escapes us. 

The future Captain America disappears before a man who questions the very legitimacy of his existence. Do we still need Captain America? Perhaps the answer will be revealed in the new film. The series forgets who its real protagonist should be and the viewer knows this and does not accept it. 

In addition to this weakness in the script and in the development of the character, there are too many unsolved doubts. Cliffhanger isn't always the best way to finish a series, especially if it's self-contained. The mechanism created to push the viewer to want more, in this case has the opposite effect and only creates dissatisfied spectators. 

The only really positive note of the series is having introduced, perhaps without really wanting it, the concept of Antihero who is not the villain of the story. Too bad that not many have grasped the nuance, but that of US Agent is the most concrete example of this difference. John Walker, the anti-hero is the result of a multifaceted writing, which takes into consideration the reality in which we live and which is characterized by the thousand shades of gray that make up the personality of each of us. 

A wasted character, just as the combination with Lemar was wasted. There is more chemistry between them than between Wilson and Barnes. The first two have been friends forever, they served together and Lemar is John's own conscience. Wilson and Barnes shared some light moments on screen, representing Steve Rogers' friends, but they were part of his life at different times. What unites them is having met a man about whom they can tell anecdotes. An opportunity thrown to the winds across the board. Too bad for Daniel Bruhl who deserved better for the exit of his Baron Zemo. 

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Marvel Meme Zemo TV Series
Zemo dances in the Marvel TV series: Falcon and The Winter Soldier

A wild Moon Knight appears in Khonsu's shadow

Up to the latest success of the Marvel TV series: Moon Knight.
The latter departs from the path drawn up to now. The cast takes over everything. Oscar Isaac attracts everyone's attention to himself. He's not lacking in his charisma and his acting skills are exceptional, this is no surprise. His presence also distracts us from the small inconsistencies that follow one another from episode to episode. 

Next to him Ethan Hawke. A splendid villain that makes us restless since his first appearance. His motives, however extreme, are understandable. The world would indeed be a better place if the very concept of evil and crime could be eradicated from the lives of the righteous. 

Sure it's a utopian concept that works on paper, but Harrow doesn't stop to think about the downside. What would make these righteous few who would inherit the world different from slaves? If the very possibility of committing evil were canceled, wouldn't they all be puppets with no choice? Yet he bewitches us with the iron conviction of him that even leads to accepting that Ammit may deem him unworthy. He is a villain ready to sacrifice himself for what he believes in, therefore the most dangerous of all. 

The problems of this series arise immediately. First of all, the completely wrong pace. Over a series of six episodes, the first four talk too generally about what will be resolved in the last two installments. The second point that leaves the viewer perplexed is the confusion that fills the episodes. Third, the development of the characters, almost non-existent if we exclude the characters of Isaac and Hawke. 

In the rush to create the first Egyptian superhero, they forget to give Layla a bigger breath. While the actress is good, the character suffers from hasty writing. So we see how a woman who discovers she is married to a man who is not only technically dead, but also has two other personalities inhabiting her body: one of whom convinced she is the main one, becomes Scarlet Scarab without a fluid enough narrative line. to explain or at least justify the reason for this choice. 

Marvel TV series Moon Knight

Conclusions on the Marvel TV Series

Marvel has accustomed us to seeing characters that comic book lovers have always known, change before our eyes. So we are not very surprised to see how the first true North African superhero becomes the first Egyptian superhero. We have honestly seen worse. Only one thing though: adding the word scarab is not enough to delude oneself of having successfully tapped into Egyptian mythology. 

This is perhaps the series that most of all stands out from the cinematic universe. Therefore it is inscribed in a universe of its own, but it is not clear whether it will be an experiment that will be continued or not. Oscar Isaac has only signed for one season, perhaps frightened by the infamous seven-year contracts that all the stars of the films have signed. We just have to wait and see, but at least this time the ending is really conclusive. Should the sixth episode be the last, viewers can rest easy. 

In conclusion, in the struggle between continuity and seriality, in the end seriality wins, and not just for numbers. In our humble opinion, this victory will have a completely negative impact on continuity. Already now it is difficult to take stock of the situation as to how Phase Four will proceed. A linearity that is perhaps not clear even to those who created it. We can only sit back and see how it turns out.