Wednesday Netflix Series S01 Review
Directors: Tim Burton (1-4), Gandja Monteiro (5&6), James Marshall (7&8)
While attending Nevermore Academy, Wednesday Addams attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a killing spree and solve the mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago.
After watching the trailer my expectation was good. Because Addams Family cartoon shows I liked very much. The trailer was dark – felt like a dark atmosphere. So, I started watching the show. After Episode 1 title credits ends, Tim Burton’s name appeared as Director.
I was shocked. Is that guy? The Guy I’m thinking? I immediately checked Wikipedia. Oh My God – The first four episodes were directed by Tim Burton – The guy who is a master in horror fantasy. Closed other works and fully involved in the shows.
As per usual Tim Burton delivers heaven to my eyes. If anyone was going to do an Addams Family-type show it would be Burton. His vision speaks to my very soul. Everything he’s done has been amazing in my eyes. Wednesday is no different, the casting is superb.
Jenna Ortega is absolutely magnificent as Wednesday; she’s so charismatic that I can’t help but smile at her interpretation of the character. Did not think anyone could do this after Christina Ricci’s version in 1991. I’m so glad she is also in this too it makes it that much better.
Wednesday Addams… The name needs no introduction, at least not to fans of the “Addams Family” franchise. This series captured Wednesday’s experiences as a student in a frightfully fantastic gothic light that made it everything, and more, that fans like myself have been expecting to see.
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If you consider this show a live-action version of the 1992 cartoon series, many of the creative elements you’ll discover as you go will make exponentially more sense.
Tim Burton, Gandja Monteiro, and James Marshall did exemplary work directing this series. They captured some nice yesteryear “Addams” vibes while including some newfangled twists.
Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Kayla Alpert, April Blair, and Matt Lambert’s writing was ace and deserves high praise. It might not have been easy to script a series of episodes around a multi-generational fan-favorite character, but they succeeded in that Endeavour.
Chris Bacon and Danny Elfman’s musical scoring was brilliant. It was a balance of familiar and fresh that will be an auditory treat for fans of this franchise. The soundtracks were great as well, especially the covers and instrumentals.
David Lanzenberg and Stephan Pehrsson’s cinematography contained a world of captivation and wonder. It was immersive in all the right ways. Mark Scruton’s production design was great.
The set decoration and art direction were superb. The editing, sound effects, and VFX were amazing. Hair-makeup and Colleen Atwood’s costume design were outstanding. The stunts team did remarkable work.
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Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams was perfection. She also double-acted as Goody Addams, her distant ancestor. Christina Ricci as Marilyn Thornhill was nostalgic and brilliant. Gwendoline Christie as Principal Larissa Weems was unforgettable. Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley Addams was good. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams was interesting.
Luis Guzmán as Gomez Addams was funny and good. Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester was noteworthy. George Burcea as Lurch was good. Victor Dorobantu as Thing (the hand) was an amazing addition to the show. His ‘character design’ was great.
Wednesday Addams went to school *snap snap*. Classic “Addams” vibes and relevant corny-cool elements enriched the series to no end. I loved how they gave them enough freedom for Tim Burton to work his singular magic on the show.
How could I tell? The quality contained in every episode spoke for itself. Netflix made an impeccable decision in choosing Burton to tell this story and tell it right.
I admired how they covered Wednesday’s emergent psychic abilities. They made her a heroine who didn’t desire to follow in the footsteps of her parents – Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luis Guzmán).
Those portions of the script were compelling and credible. After all, nearly every young girl and boy will find themselves in a position where they need to express their own individuality. This plot thread mattered in connection with Wednesday’s motivations.
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Now, let’s face it, Christina Ricci previously did a brilliant job capturing the heart (so to speak) and soul (again, in a manner of speaking) of Wednesday Addams. It, therefore, pleased me to see Jenna Ortega seamlessly recreate the character in this series while still giving it her own spin.
Speaking of Ricci, I was enormously impressed and overjoyed to watch her being re-cast in the show as Marilyn Thornhill, one of the teachers at Nevermore Academy.
It spoke to Ricci’s humility and versatility as a person and an actress to even have said yes to the role. Then again, when Tim Burton calls, any creative soul will answer.
Two schools were in focus in season 1 of “Wednesday”. Nancy Reagan High (initial portions, anyway) and Nevermore Academy. Both brought their own admirable elements to bear on the script. As for Nevermore, it gave off distinct Hogwarts vibes; if Hogwarts were American and smaller. Nevertheless, every inch of Nevermore was ‘awe-chitectural’ eye-candy to me.
I also liked the older-sister vibe Wednesday brought, especially how she took care of her little brother Pugsley (who gave an interesting performance, btw). As for Catherine Zet-Jones, she paled (pun unintended) in comparison to her predecessor Angelica Huston who owned this character in subtle and sensual ways.
However, Zeta-Jones’ emotional scenes were something to behold. Luis Guzmán was great as his own kind of Gomez but, again, he lacked the energized je ne sais quoi Raul Julia originally brought to the character.
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Their younger versions, though – Gwen Jones as Morticia and Lucius Hoyos as Gomez – gave us criminally brief moments of the classic goth-couple vibe that fans have come to adore about these two iconic characters.
Fester was a mischief-crazy addition to the cast, but he wasn’t given too much screen time this season. Lurch (George Burcea) was interesting and looked the part, but was barely given screen space.
I was looking forward to hearing him give that signature exasperated moan, which never came. Gwendoline Christie as Principal Larissa Weems was a perfect fit for this franchise. I’ve always been a fan of her work, so I was glad to see her shine in this role.
The storyline in “Wednesday” 2022 was neat and elegant. It evoked “Addams Family” moments I remember cherishing when I watched the 1991 movie (directed by Barry Sonnenfeld) and the 1992 animated series that aired on Cartoon Network.
Back to Wednesday’s psychic capabilities… This was new. It wasn’t exactly confirmed in any of the other characterizations of Wednesday over the years.
The way they delivered this plot point, especially the style with which they used Wednesday’s newly blooming psychic skills to lend her an air of gravitas and power, was splendid. I thought I would come to dislike this inclusion in the overall story, but I ended up giving it my vote.
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In addition, Wednesday proved to be quite the detective, particularly when it came to solving a series of monster murders – the creature was known as a “Hyde” – that took place around Nevermore.
Making her a savvy sleuth truly elevated the show from anything that came before it in the Addams-verse. Instead of sardonically or sarcastically pointing out the obvious, Wednesday instead found opportunities to collect and connect clues to help solve serious issues.
They even gave her character a nice literary touch. Wednesday writing novels as a hobby was captivating, to say the least. Her fictional cases were conducted by a girl detective named Viper De la Muerte who was quite like the author herself in several regards.
In addition to moments like these, so many other features in the show displayed a flair and fervor for traditional old-school “Addams” wordplay and tropes. From martial arts to fencing, and cello playing to classic line deliveries, I loved everything about Wednesday Addams and Jenna Ortega’s take on the character in this Netflix series.
Her dance in E04 was groovy (word intended), The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck” soundtrack was perfect, some evocative steps from past Wednesdays made me fan scream, and the “Carrie at the prom” finish (especially in regards to Gwendoline Christie’s contribution) was brilliant!
Also, I managed to guess the identity of the Hyde monster early on, but Burton and company wove their red herrings so cunningly that I could never quite be sure until the actual reveal (rather, bold-faced confession) happened. It was simple but effective misdirection worth admiring.
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Superb characterizations all around, captivating back-stories and noteworthy pacing were some of the many elements that made this show an iconic production to hail from Netflix this year.
In just eight episodes, Wednesday proved that capturing the old “Addams Family” magic was not impossible if summoned by the right hands. I do believe that Tim Burton made this Netflix series work in more ways than one. Christina Ricci did not disappoint, either.
The series contained a little bit of everything, from school-time sentiments and crime-drama tropes to horrors and comedies galore. It portrayed the Nevermore alumni as a batch of oddities and outcasts, who included vampires, werewolves, gorgons, and sirens. All of it gave Netflix’s “Wednesday” multi-pronged possibilities to use in the future.
By the time season 1 ended, I was genuinely weighed down by sadness to realize it was over and that Netflix was yet to greenlight a season 2 of “Wednesday”. Hopefully, they will, and soon.
Otherwise, in classic Wednesday Addams fashion, someone is going to have to drop a bag of live piranhas in the executives’ private swimming pool if only to remind them they have a great thing going here.