WandaVision (episodes 1-3)
Now that the Baby Yoda Show is on hiatus, it’s time for another Disney-owned brand to step up to the plate. The first new Marvel Cinematic Universe content in the pandemic era is also the first of many limited series that MCU mastermind Kevin Feige is producing for the streaming service. It focuses on two supporting characters who never got much screen time in the Avengers movies: Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), an Avenger with very vaguely defined powers, and her android boyfriend Vision (Paul Bettany), who died in the third Avengers movie and was hardly ever mentioned again until now. The two of them are, for reasons unlikely to be fully explained in the first episode, happily married in some kind of alternate reality, based on sitcoms Wanda watched in her childhood; the story is likely to be a mash-up of several different Marvel comics storylines with Feige’s self-confessed addiction to Nick at Nite.
Disney has not provided episode titles or descriptions, but they have revealed that parts of the first episode were shot with a real sitcom studio audience, who were all forced to sign Disney’s strict non-disclosure agreements.
Friday, January 15: Episode 1
Friday, January 22: Episode 2
Friday, January 29: Episode 3
Earth to Ned: Part 2 (Friday, January 1)
While most of Disney’s series (like the Baby Yoda Show) release episodes weekly, this series from the Jim Henson company is delivered in Netflix-style batches of 10 episodes. It’s a parody of late-night talk shows where an alien named Ned (voiced by Paul Rugg, best known as the star of Freakazoid!) is sent to conquer Earth but decides to host a talk show and interview B-list Earth celebrities instead.
Episode 11: “Dream a little Dream of Ned” – Ned learns about the Earth concept of dreams with guests Ginnifer Goodwin and Alan Tudyk.
Episode 12: “The Neddies” – Ned creates a new award just so he can win it. Guests: D’Arcy Carden and Oliver Hudson.
Episode 13: “Transcendental Neditation” – Guests Yvette Nicole Brown and Jack McBrayer introduce Ned to stress-relief techniques.
Episode 14: “Party Like It’s Nineteen Ninety Ned” – Ned succumbs to 1990s nostalgia with the help of 1990s relic Kevin Smith and actor/director Aisha Tyler.
Episode 15: “Alien vs. Nedator” – Ned learns about conspiracy theories from guests Sherri Shepherd and Penn & Teller.
Episode 16: “Ned Over Heels” – Ned falls in love, and turns to guests Ben Feldman and Alyson Hannigan for guidance.
Episode 17: “Ned vs. Food” – Guests Brenda Song and Chef Roy Choi teach Ned about why food is so important on Earth.
Episode 18: “CyberNedics” – An accident interrupts Ned’s attempt to interview Margaret Cho and Mayim Bialik.
Episode 19: “Growing Up Ned” – A Cloned Living Organism of Destruction (CLOD) runs away from Ned, and guests Molly Ringwald and Chris Colfer help him understand why.
Epidoes 20: “Like Father, Like Ned” – Jason Ritter and Tig Notaro help Ned prepare for a visit from his dad.
No movies have been added for January
Marvel Studios: Legends (Friday, January 8)
Disney is very good at self-promotion, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the arrival of new Marvel Studios content on Disney+ will be preceded by the launch of a promotional series about the characters who will be featured in this new content. The first two episodes will set up “WandaVision” by focusing on Wanda and Vision, respectively, explaining who they are and showing clips of their screen time up to now… which, considering how much screen time they’ve had, may not take very long.
Extras – Beyond the Clouds: Where It All Began
And here’s a series offering weekly promotion for something that already dropped: the movie Clouds has been on Disney+ since October, but the making-of segments are just getting started.
Friday, January 8: “The Anatomy of Emotion” – Director Justin Baldoni explains that Tom Hanks’s film That Thing You Do! was an inspiration for how he directed the lead actor in Clouds.
Friday, January 15: “The Concert of a Lifetime” – Baldoni and his crew try to find a place to shoot the final concert scene.
Friday, January 22: “The Finishing Touches” – Baldoni works with the composer while trying to decide the fate of his film after COVID-19 scuttles its theatrical release.
Friday, January 29: “A Promise Kept” – Baldoni and his crew reunite in honour of the person the film is based on, the late Zach Sobiech.