The God of Mischief gets his own show and it is glorious.
It’s funny that people are still sharing the news article now about Tom Hiddleston’s casting in the original Thor film, saying that he, along with Chris Hemsworth, were “no names” as if it were absurd. The fact is it was true, they both were no names, particularly compared to Iron Man’s cast of Robert Downey Jr. and the Dude. After the film came out, it became clear that Hiddleston was not only going to be a big part of the MCU, but that he was the one villain that it made sense to keep bringing back. Iron Monger, Whiplash, Abomination, Red Skull… None of them held a candle to Loki as a fun villain, mostly because he was always just haughty enough that you loved watching him lose. When he finally died in Avengers: Infinity War, it was terrible knowing that we’d never see him again… until the past version of him escaped in Endgame and they announced that he was getting his own series. I was a little worried they might drop the ball by overusing the character, but somehow this show, which is as packed with Loki as it gets, nailed it.
The show starts with Loki escaping in Endgame, using the Tesseract to jump away from the Avengers during the events of the first Avengers film. He is quickly picked up by a group of militarized officers who take him to a facility called the Time Variance Authority, or TVA. The TVA are the group that patrols through time in order to avoid creating alternate timelines and the multiverse that would follow. Loki is recruited to work for the TVA by agent Mobius Mobius (Owen Wilson), who informs Loki that he has to track down an alternate version of Loki (Sophia Di Martino). However, it turns out there may be a lot more to the TVA than meets the eye, particularly when it comes to the motivations of TVA judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).
The secret to this show is in how well it plays personalities off of each other. For the first few episodes the biggest pairing is Hiddleston and Wilson, who come off as if they are in a television remake of the film 48 Hours, where it’s the hardlined but still rule-bending cop and the streetwise comedic sidekick. Wilson is so disarmingly earnest in contrast to Hiddleston’s constant side-eyed scheming that it really makes for hilarious conversations. Even though the female Loki, Sylvie, is supposed to be similar to the main Loki, and is, she is just different enough that watching them interacting is incredibly entertaining. She’s got a lot of chips on her shoulders due to her life being ruined at an early age and having to live on the run for no reason, unlike Loki who actually did things that merit punishment. While the show does expand the worlds every episode, it still stays focused on these beautiful moments between characters, so it always feels grounded.
Overall, just a fantastic show, maybe my favorite television show in the MCU so far.