Review Of “Wednesday”: A Witty And Gothic Spin-Off That Lives Up To The Franchise

What seemed like a simple spin-off of "The Addams Family" ended in another notable Netflix success to close 2022. Do you want to know more about it? Read our review of "Wednesday".

Still from the series 'Merlina'

Photo: Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Reseña de “Merlina”: Un ingenioso y gótico spin-off a la altura de la franquicia

The film industry has been inspired by books, comics, and even comic strips to bring captivating stories to the screen. In the 1960s, the ABC television network aired the sitcom "The Addams Family," based on the Charles Addams cartoons, which eventually became a cultural phenomenon. Movies, television, and animated series increased the image of the macabre family, whose members stood out for their peculiar characteristics. From there arises "Wednesday", an original Netflix series that emerges from what has already been seen in the franchise by presenting a plot focused only on Wednesday Addams.

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are the creators of this 8-episode production, the first 4 of which were directed by Tim Burton. It is worth mentioning that the series is not exactly what many expect about the Addams, but it is not without those little details that manage to catch both the fan of the old material and the new generations. Deadpan humor, gothic style, and classic wordplay mix with things a bit more modern and unheard of in this universe, such as supernatural powers, a school setting, and a nod to the slasher subgenre.

The premise of "Wednesday" follows the daughter (Jenna Ortega) of Morticia and Homer Addams in her high school years. Upon entering Nevermore Academy, she will not only try to master her psychic powers but will also find herself involved in a murder spree that terrorizes the city. As expected, the young woman chooses to solve the supernatural mystery, all this while experiencing typical adolescent moments such as student entanglements and the odd romance.

As Creepy As It Is Full Of Charm

The real business of streaming platforms goes through series, and Netflix knows that field very well. In principle, the idea that governs "Wednesday" would have been perfect for a movie with sequels included, but the imagination of its creators led this project to get the most out of one of the most iconic figures of the Addams family. A touch of mystery, a dash of the supernatural, nods to slashers, and the inevitable problems that arise in high school, are the ingredients of the new (and last?) success of 2022.

As is already known, the plot revolves around Wednesday, with the news that she has psychic powers and is set in an academy full of freaks like her (lycanthropes, mermaids, vampires, etc). Of course, the essence of the young woman remains as we know it: her asocial behavior, black humor, lack of affection and gestures, as well as a taste for death capable of disturbing anyone. For that part, the approach works perfectly.

With the passing of the episodes, the series could explain the difficult integration of the protagonist in high school. Even the relationship with her roommate (Enid) is somewhat cutting, but that's not the center of the plot. The reality is that there is a conspiracy and a crime involved that Wednesday is dedicated to solving, ignoring all kinds of distractions such as possible romances or typical school adventures. Here, the story breaks away from adolescent clichés to embark on something more serious and supernatural.

What will it be that causes so much terror in the population? Only Wednesday seems interested in getting to the bottom and to do so she brings out a violent and unconventional facet of a detective, which ends up convincing the viewer. As if that were not enough, the staging is truly spectacular, worthy of Burton's work, and it is also mixed with a gloomy soundtrack that leaves your ears ringing.

In turn, Jenna Ortega's leading performance is up to the standards seen years ago by Christina Ricci. His commitment to the character is magnificent and ends up being noticed in each of his scenes, from his skill with the cello to his epic dance which has given much to talk about on social networks. Although no announcement of a second season has yet been made official, the actress has already confessed her desire to reprise the role to show a much more gothic version.

Read also: Review of "1899": Netflix's new fictional gem

The Success And References Behind "Wednesday"

Netflix does not stop breaking its own records. At the beginning of the year, the fourth season of "Stranger Things" was positioned as the most-watched English-language series on the streaming platform, with just over 335 million hours of viewing. Months later, "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" did the same by also breaking the barrier of 300 million hours viewed. But when both figures seemed unattainable, an extravagant title made its way unexpectedly.

And it is that the particularity of the series mentioned above is that they reached these records during their second week of release when they were already part of the platform's recommendations and were established in the classification. With "Wednesday", the phenomenon began in its premiere week, accumulating close to 341 million hours of views, according to internal data from Netflix.

It is also worth mentioning that the supernatural mystery series has several references to previous productions of "The Addams Family". The first and foremost has to do with actress Christina Ricci, who rose to fame for her portrayal of Wednesday in the 1990s. Her presence in the plot goes beyond a simple cameo since her character is that of an Academy teacher who apparently seeks to advise the young protagonist.

Another reference has to do with the double clicks that accompany the classic Addams tune. And is that anyone who has seen something related to this franchise knows what we mean? For this occasion, those snaps with the fingers are not an ornament, since they have an important role in the story when Wednesday discovers that they are the secret code to enter a kind of lair.

Finally, the presence of Uncle Lucas is somewhat different from what many of us remember, although it is not far from the original version. The fact goes through the electrical power that it has in the Netflix series and that resembles the classic scene in the film when a light bulb is placed in its mouth and ends up turning on. In the end, this gives us to understand that the character has electricity running throughout his body.

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