The first season of Loki was properly the most anticipated of all the Marvel Disney+ shows. It was the most ambitious and different because of the ideas and concepts it introduced.
Loki picks up from the Time Heist in Avengers: Endgame. Loki has collected the Tesseract and used it to teleport to Outer Mongolia.
However, Loki gets arrested by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), an organisation that maintains the sacred timeline. One of the agents at the TVA, Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) makes Loki an offer, work for the TVA to help capture an alternative version of Loki.
Since Avengers: Endgame the Marvel Cinematic Universe have teased about the idea of a multiverse. The Ancient One states that altering the past will create a new timeline, Mysterio claims to be from an alternative universe, and Evan Peters version of Quicksilver appeared in WandaVision. But in all these projects the MCU came up with an alternative explanation. Loki drives headfirst into its pool of ideas.
Loki’s showrunner was Michael Waldron who worked as a writer and producer on Rick and Morty. This experience was evident because Loki embraced the wacky possibilities of its premise. This made Loki the craziest property made by Marvel Studios, and considering the MCU has a talking raccoon, a humanoid tree, and a wizard that could rewind time, that’s quite an achievement.
Loki has been compared to Doctor Who and the series did have similar ideas and themes to His Dark Materials and The Wheel of Time. Because of this Loki was nerdvana for fans of sci-fi and fantasy. The big reveal in the series was time had to run a certain course which meant free will doesn’t exist. This is game-changing information.
Loki did act like the Doctor. He was travelling across time and space and like the Doctor Loki has to deal with all the wibbly wobbly timey wimey issues that it produced. Loki got to even have some Doctor-style explanations, like when Loki explains how The Variant hides from the TVA.
Like Rick and Morty, Loki shows lots of different versions of the title characters. The series has a lot of fun with this concept in the fifth episode.
As well as being a show for sci-fi fans, Loki had a lot of mystery. The show hooks audiences with its questions like who was the TVA, who runs them, and what’s their agenda? The series slowly revealed these answers and asked new questions for the next season. Many of the episodes ended up terrific cliff-hangers that leave audiences wanting more. They could binge watch the series with ease.
The other aspect of the show was character development. In the MCU movies Loki evolved from a villain to an anti-hero. The show had a different Loki who had just been defeated during the Battle of New York. The show had to fast track his development and it does it in two ways.
The first was during a montage in the first episode where Loki sees the life he could have lived and it breaks him mentally. The other way was through his relationships with Mobius and The Variant since he gets close to them. They gave him a reason to care. The alternative versions of Loki show the potential paths he could have led.
Loki was one of the most unique-looking properties the MCU has produced. The art direction for the TVA had a retro-futurist look. It looked like it was influenced by the likes of Brazil, A Clockwork Orange, and Legion.
The TVA was an old-fashioned bureaucracy that used lots of paper files and old-fashioned technology like film reels. The multiverse setting allowed for a lot of variety. The characters get to go to events in the past, the future, and the end of time.
Although Loki had a grand scope it did suffer from one problem, a lot of the sets were limited, like the train in episode three and the Time Keepers’ throne room. It ended up making Loki too televisional which was a shame because WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were cinematic.
Natalie Holt’s music also deserves some praise because she gave the show a synthesized score. It sounded a lot like the score for A Clockwork Orange.
The first season of Loki was a great and ambitious project from the MCU because of how much it changes the franchise, the ideas it presented, and being so radically different.