Wednesday’ Review A Faithful Adaptation that Embraces the Macabre

‘Wednesday’ Review: A Faithful Adaptation that Embraces the Macabre

The Addams Family has grown to become a well-known name in the world of the macabre, and the infamous theme song with only four notes and two finger snaps has been etched into the minds of fans worldwide. Fans who wasted no time in devouring the latest installment in The Addams Family’s fast-growing franchise, Wednesday

Wednesday — the live-action Netflix series created by Alfred Gough (Smallville) and Miles Millar (Into The Badlands), with the legendary Tim Burton (Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands) helming half of the series episodes — stars Jenna Ortega as the titular character, a role her earlier horror outings, Scream (2022) and Ti West’s X has prepared her for. 

The series follows Wednesday, the cello-wielding goth teen who is forced by her enamored parents Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez Addams (Luis Guzmán) to attend Nevermore Academy just like her mother once did years before. The 8 episodes of this first season see Wednesday navigating the growing pains from family-related mysteries, attempting to master her emerging psychic ability, and solving the mystery of Jericho and its serial killer problem while balancing love interests and pesky roommates. 

Co-creators, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have a great legacy to live up to and their solution is to set the series apart from anything in The Addams Family franchise, sadly, it falls into the cliche tropes of coming-of-age series before it. It seems one cliche was traded for the other. They were also able to structure the series plot to be compelling enough to keep the audience binging and the plot twist at the end was worth the nearly eight hours experience. 

Nevermore Academy is a school for outcasts and this series took the opportunity to introduce the audience to the world of outcasts outside of the Addams clan, like no project before it has. The outcast students include werewolves, sirens, gorgons, vampires, and those with telekinetic abilities. In the town of Jericho, where Nevermore resides, we meet the humans who the outcasts refer to as normies. Between the outcasts and normies, Wednesday was able to select her clan, all of whom became essential in the story going forward. 

While the plot of Wednesday isn’t the definition of perfection, the exceptional skills of its directors and casts give the series enough boost to soar above the mediocre standards most Netflix series depict. Speaking of exceptional casts, Jenna Ortega’s performance was the heart of this series. She portrays the character to what is considered perfection and her chemistry with Emma Myers — who plays Enid Sinclair, Wednesday’s roommate and best friend — defines the majority of the series. 

The rest of the cast is phenomenal, but the standouts include Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) who plays Nevermore’s headmaster with a mix of mystery and grace, Christina Ricci, the original Wednesday Addams from the Barry Sonnenfeld films who I’m glad got more than just a cameo role, plays the carefree teacher perfectly. Finally, Fred Armisen (Big Mouth) as Uncle Fester delivers a chaotic performance that blends perfectly well with Jenna’s

The opening theme and series score from Danny Elfman breathes a weird and mysterious tone into the series and the overall music selection is perfect. The action scenes are remarkable and speak to each character’s special strength, that supernatural fight scene towards the end when Enid finally wolfs out is best suited to describe the series’ action sequences. 

The set design is pleasing to the eye, and the series location set, Romania known for its eye-catching architecture comes to life in the series. The cinematography is an art and it beautifies the set even more. It was more prominent in scenes where Wednesday’s monochromatic lifestyle collides with a character of more color. The series also manages to capture the essence of The Addams Family with respect to the original design than most of the previous adaptations, especially in terms of casting and visuals. 

Wednesday isn’t a perfect series and nowhere near Netflix’s best, but it’s faithfulness to the source material, beautiful character work, remarkable use of nostalgia, and deserved character growth makes for a fabulous binging experience. 

Wednesday Rating: 8.5/10

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