When I heard there was a series based on the Adams Family coming to Netflix, you could hear my ‘meh’ on Mars. I’ve never cared for the Adams Family, not one jot. Sorry. I know that is heresy, but I just never clicked with the past iterations.
I remember the Cristina Rici movie back in 91, mainly because she’s excellent. But all the other cartoons and whatnot I ignored. That said, I was a little interested in Wednesday because Jenna Ortega is the star. We do get to enjoy Rici who plays non-magical/mudblood, I mean ‘normie’ teacher Marilyn Thornhill.
I recently saw her in the rather superb thriller/horror/porn(?) X and made a note to look out for her other projects. Boy oh boy, I’m glad I did! Wednesday is superb. Well done, Netflix. Ortega’s one-liners and throwaway negative comments are a delight. I was very worried they would quickly become tiresome, but that didn’t happen. I wanted more, MORE damnit!
Wednesday is a reinvention of the classic Adams Family saga. This time round, the lead, Wednesday, is placed into a ‘school for the gifted’, a setting we’ve all become rather accustomed to. Think Harry Potter only the kids are a bit more disturbed. Afterall, this is a Tim Burton production, so disturbed is what you are going to get!
That said, Burton does dial down his usual style. I mean, his gothic elements are all there, of course. But he doesn’t go full Burton here, which I am glad about. He can often alienate his audience by trying to be too fringe, but in Wednesday it’s very accessible to a new audience.
So, what’s the first season about? Well, as mentioned, it takes place at a special school. Heading the school is the superb Gwendoline Christie as Headmistress Larissa. She has lots of secrets and is quite badass. A creature is running amok killing people and Wednesday goes full sleuth. She’s joined by reluctant-to-help Sheriff Donovan (Jamie McShane) who also happens to be the father of one of Wednesdays romantic interests, Tyler.
The show could have fallen down the CW rabbit hole if not for the performances of a few characters. Because I felt the main story was a bit blah, to be honest. What made the show for me was the chemistry between certain characters.
Wednesday makes a friend
Wednesday and her roommate Enid steal the show. Emma Myers plays a werewolf who can’t, well… She can’t quite werewolf yet. Making her an outsider, much like Wednesday. These two, along with some heartthrob romance bros, make up the main cast.
Of course, we have the other Adams make appearances too. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams is stunning. Luis Guzmán is superb as Gomez Addams, and the Thing has more personality than some of the main lead guys.
Adding to this is a sound score that is genius. Seriously, the soundtrack is on a par with the Umbrella Academy in its impact on scenes. One of my favourites is when Wednesday dances to The Cramps’ Goo Goo Muck; very much an Umbrella Academy moment. Interestingly, Jenna had Covid when she did the scene. But while she waited for the test to come back, went ahead and did the dance anyway. Of course, the look of the show is great, as we’d expect from anything Burton. As was the pacing for the 8 episodes, which I felt flew by.
The one thing that let the show down a little for me was the romance crap. I get that Wednesday is growing into a more fully developed woman. Her alienation slowly makes way for others in her life, which is great. But the romance love triangle stuff was a bit on the nose for me. Still, it’s a minor gripe in a show that I loved!
I look forward to a second season of the show. It’s fun, offbeat, and is absolutely worth watching just for Ortega’s superb performance.
Oh, something to note. Ortega doesn’t blink as Wednesday. She did this in a scene and Burton loved it. So, they kept it as an extraneous aid for Ortega. The only time she does blink is when she feels out of control or out of her depth. And it makes quite the impact.
I give Wednesday a solid…