Wednesday (Netflix Series 2022) Review: Season 1 Addams Family

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Netflix’s Wednesday: A Mysterious and Spooky Delight

Netflix’s 2022 series Wednesday, starring Jenna Ortega as the iconic character, has breathed new life into the world of The Addams Family. Created by American cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family has had a long and varied adaptation history over the years. From the 1964 television series to telefilms and animated series, the franchise has had its ups and downs. However, with Jenna Ortega’s captivating performance as Wednesday Addams and the involvement of acclaimed director Tim Burton as a producer and occasional director, Netflix’s Wednesday successfully brings the Addams Family into the modern age.

A Journey Through Addams Family Adaptations

The Addams Family franchise has seen numerous adaptations over the years. It all started with the 1964 television series, simply titled The Addams Family, which aired on ABC. This was followed by telefilms and an unrelated animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera. In the 1990s, The Addams Family received a revival on the big screen, with the first film starring Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez Addams becoming a box office hit. However, while the 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values, received better critical reception, it didn’t perform as well commercially. The franchise also saw reboots, direct-to-video films, and an animated feature film in 2019 and its sequel in 2021.

As a fan of the franchise, my exposure primarily stems from the 1964 series, the 90s films, and the original cartoons by Charles Addams published in The New Yorker. While I don’t hold the same fondness for the 90s films as some of my generation, elements like Christina Ricci’s portrayal of Wednesday Addams have a special place in my heart. I was naturally curious when Netflix announced a series focused on Wednesday, especially with Tim Burton’s involvement.

Jenna Ortega Shines as Wednesday Addams

One of the critical aspects that Netflix’s Wednesday had to nail was the casting of Wednesday Addams. Fiona Weir, the casting director, succeeded in finding the perfect fit with Jenna Ortega. Ortega’s performance is incredible, as she brings her own unique approach to the role, not simply copying what has been done before. Her monotoned voice, piercing eyes, and subtle details like her pale complexion and infrequent blinking channel the essence of the original cartoons by Charles Addams. Ortega’s portrayal highlights Wednesday’s dark and creepy nature, finding sadistic pleasure in the macabre while showcasing her occasional protective side. Her performance elevates the series and reminds audiences of the captivating world and characters of The Addams Family.

A Compelling Narrative in the Modern Age

While Netflix’s Wednesday primarily targets a teenage audience, the narrative proves to be captivating for viewers of all ages. The series blends elements of coming-of-age, supernatural horror, and comedy, creating a unique and compelling story. The influence of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the creators of the Superman prequel television series Smallville, is evident in the focus on Wednesday’s self-discovery and the exploration of her powers, family history, and the mysteries surrounding Nevermore Academy.

What sets Wednesday apart is the new setting of Nevermore Academy, a school for supernatural beings. This environment challenges Wednesday to navigate a world as bizarre as she is, where her usual advantages no longer apply. The combination of supernatural mysteries, personal growth, and teenage relationships provides a fresh perspective on Wednesday Addams as she grapples with the challenges of adolescence. The series strikes a balance between satire and genuine character development, offering an intriguing blend for both newer and nostalgic audiences.

Standout Characters and Performances

In addition to Jenna Ortega’s exceptional performance, other cast members bring their characters to life in memorable ways. Luis Guzmán and Catherine Zeta-Jones portray Gomez and Morticia Addams, staying true to the macabre and adding their own twists. They capture the essence of the original cartoon forms, offering a live-action representation rarely seen before. Fred Armisen shines as Uncle Fester, providing fantastic comic relief throughout the series.

The character of Enid Sinclair, played by Emma Myers, stands out as Wednesday’s roommate. Despite their differences, their friendship grows and becomes one of the most rewarding aspects of Season 1. Myers’s authentic portrayal of a teenage werewolf allows audiences to feel Enid’s emotions and adds depth to her character. The chemistry between Jenna Ortega and Emma Myers is evident, creating captivating scenes that enhance the overall viewing experience.

A Blend of Mystery and Coming-of-Age

Netflix’s Wednesday successfully blends mystery and coming-of-age elements in its narrative. The interconnected mysteries surrounding the supernatural killing spree and the secrets of Gomez and Morticia Addams unfold as Wednesday herself discovers more about her powers, herself, and the world around her. The series takes a more nuanced approach to the traditional coming-of-age story by placing Wednesday in a unique environment filled with supernatural beings.

While the story delivers on many fronts, there are moments where some characters and side plots feel underdeveloped or predictable. However, these minor drawbacks do not overshadow the overall enjoyment of the series. The direction by Tim Burton and the creative team brings a dark yet vibrant atmosphere to each episode, accompanied by a captivating score from Danny Elfman and Chris Bacon.

A Delightful Series for All Audiences

Netflix’s Wednesday offers a captivating and delightful watch for audiences of all ages. Whether you are a longtime fan of The Addams Family or new to the franchise, the series provides a fresh take on beloved characters while maintaining their core essence. The exceptional performances, intriguing mysteries, and coming-of-age themes make for an engaging and entertaining viewing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I watch Netflix’s Wednesday without prior knowledge of The Addams Family?

Absolutely! While familiarity with The Addams Family can enhance the viewing experience, Netflix’s Wednesday stands on its own and provides enough context for new audiences to enjoy the series.

2. How does Jenna Ortega’s portrayal of Wednesday Addams compare to previous actresses?

Jenna Ortega brings a fresh and nuanced perspective to the character of Wednesday Addams. While previous actresses have made indelible marks with their performances, Ortega’s portrayal adds a unique authenticity and humanity to Wednesday’s dark and mysterious nature.

3. Is Tim Burton’s influence noticeable in Netflix’s Wednesday?

Yes, Tim Burton’s influence is evident in the overall atmosphere and direction of the series. The dark yet vibrant aesthetic, reminiscent of Burton’s distinct style, adds an extra layer of visual intrigue to the story.

4. Is Netflix’s Wednesday suitable for all age groups?

While the series primarily targets a teenage audience, it is suitable for viewers of various age groups. The blend of supernatural horror, comedy, and coming-of-age themes offers a unique and engaging experience for audiences of all ages.

5. Will there be a second season of Netflix’s Wednesday?

As of now, Netflix has not officially announced a second season for Wednesday. However, with its positive reception and dedicated fan base, there is potential for future seasons to continue the captivating story of Wednesday Addams.