Loki is one of the best, or perhaps more accurately, one of the most emotional TV series I have ever watched. It was amazing, for me. Yet I don’t think that will be true for the average viewer.
Let’s start with the difficulties. Loki relies on having a solid grounding in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the very least, Thor Ragnorak is a mandatory pre-watch. It would probably help to see the first Avengers movie (where Loki is introduced in as the bad guy) as well.
It is also a movie that requires a fair amount of comfortability with mind-bending sci-fi concepts of parallel universes and timelines. A simple sitcom this is not. Some viewers may find it overly complicated. While I wouldn’t call it ‘scientifically accurate’, however, it is mostly consistent in what it shows.
For me, only one complaint feels relevant: it was too short. At only six episodes, I didn’t quite feel like I had been given a full story arc. This felt more like half a season than a full season of a show. It was a bit rushed, for example, in introducing its villain.
That aside, let’s dive into the good stuff.
There are some big, obvious reasons to watch the show. It is big budget Disney, and that shows with stunning visuals. Also, the actors are all fantastic and have fun interactions. Although it oddly feels like a very small cast – the TVA is shown to be huge but feels small (filming in covid probably limited the ‘big crowd’ filming options). Overall, there is great plot progression – every episode delivers new twists and turns with steady action.
Still, that’s not any reason to love the show.
Well, here’s one reason: Tom Hiddleston speaking Latin while in Pompeii as the volcano erupts. Yeah, I loved that.
Here’s another: Loki being the god of mischief and a trickster, escaping, pranking, and scheming. He is generally a drama queen. Yet he is a very human character – he is shown making mistakes and learning from them. He is clearly someone who was treated as both a prince and an outcast.
And then there is “glorious purpose” – Loki’s relentless drive to do things (usually to rule the universe). And because of the ‘Variants’ nature of this character, we get to explore how that develops in a whole bunch of creative (or just crazy) ways.
Of course, there is (minor spoiler) a female version of him too, and they make a fascinating duo. Or to be honest, they remind me in many ways of having a twin sister like Kelly and me (less the whole romantic tension they have in the show). At least to me, I always felt like Kelly and I were variants of the same person more than we were different, and for once here is some media that captures just that sort of experience.
So that is why I love Loki – a show that finally captures some of the triplet glory. It also is suitably tragic, with Loki variants dying and betraying and living in apocalypses. Darkness, but not dark, it finds humor, purpose, and growth.
Best TV show ever made? No.
But for me, it was pretty close to perfect.