‘Wednesday’ Review: The Addams Family TV Show on Netflix, Season 1

It’s a little late for Halloween, but Netflix’s new twist on the addams family franchise, Wednesdayit remains a welcome sight. Armed with Tim Burton endorsements and a killer trailer, Wednesday – released, at best, next Wednesday, November 23 on the streamer – seems like a worthy extension of the classic creepy family. But based on the four episodes I’ve seen, a potentially fun spin-off has been given its chance. riverdale treatment, pushing the addams family characters in a supernatural teen drama that would be more at home on The CW or Freeform. It’s appropriately macabre in tone and a fantastic lead performance from Jenna Ortega, but I’m afraid the choice to do it entirely ALREADY might have been a fatal mistake.

Wednesday Netflix CastWhen we meet Wednesday Addams, played here by Ortega, she’s a student at the pristine Nancy Reagan High School…and no, she doesn’t fit in there. (To get back at some water polo bullies, she drops a bunch of piranhas in the school pool.) So Wednesday is sent to Nevermore Academy, a private school for dropouts once attended by her parents Gomez and Morticia. The new school is teeming with supernatural monsters, from werewolves and vampires to mermaids and gorgons, but somehow, Wednesday still stands out as the morbid, death-obsessed weirdo. However, the school has many secrets hidden within its walls, beginning with the mysterious assassin in the woods who has been tearing the unfortunate victims apart.

Wednesday has a strong bite, capturing the gothic charm of the addams family films. Ortega is great as Wednesday, almost matching Christina Ricci’s deadpan perfection with her deliciously dark one-liners. (“Sartre said hell is other people. He was my first crush.”) Catherine Zeta-Jones is also exquisitely well cast as Morticia, but Luis Guzmán doesn’t really work as Gomez, and that doesn’t matter much. Anyway, because the rest of the Addams family are limited to mere cameos, except for the incorporeal hand of Thing. This is Wednesday’s show, and the rest of the characters aren’t quite up to par, even though Gwendoline Christie (game of Thrones) clearly understands the task as the school’s nosy Principal Weems. Ricci herself appears as bedroom mom Marilyn Thornhill, which is a nice stunt cast, but she doesn’t have much to do.

Wednesday Netflix Gwendoline Christie Director WeemsThe tone and visual style of Wednesday they’re absolutely on point, with Burton, who serves as executive producer and directs the pilot, bringing his trademark ghoulish glee to the project. But the narration of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (smallville) is far behind. The plot is messy and chaotic, with mysteries stacked upon mysteries. We’ve got Wednesday planning to escape from school, plus her newly discovered psychic visions, plus the aforementioned mutilated corpses, plus multiple interchangeable loose-haired love interests, plus Weems’ bizarre grudge against Morticia… bordering on exaggeration, as wonderful as it is. that word may sound to Wednesday. (She also has superhuman combat abilities in a way, which… is alright.) Also, the show tries to give the character of Wednesday Addams depth… which I’m not sure we want? As a supporting character with pithy punchlines, she’s perfect, but as a main character with an emotional arc, she lacks. (Wednesday Addams and emotions don’t mix.)

In its structure and tone, Wednesday is actually the closest thing to another Netflix drama, the defunct Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but it lacks the dark magic of that show. Ortega is really great as Wednesday, he’s a star in the making, but the show slows down when he’s off screen. In the end, he feels less like a addams family show than another disappointingly family-friendly ALREADY murder mystery trying to take advantage of a well-known IP. The most damning thing I can say about Wednesday it’s that Wednesday Addams herself would probably hate it.

THE BOTTOM LINE OF TVLINE: Netflix Wednesday it has a ghoulish tone and an excellent lead performance, but the story is strictly a YA mystery.

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