Original text By Rick Marshall from Digital Trends in English:
Wednesday Addams isn’t the first character that comes to mind when looking for someone with the cachet to lead a solo series, but it doesn’t take long for Tim Burton and star Jenna Ortega to make their power abundantly clear. in the dark and deliciously entertaining Netflix series.
A spin-off of The Addams Family franchise, wednesday follows Addams’ older sister after she finds herself kicked out of high school due to a nasty incident involving the water polo team and two bags of piranhas. The event prompts her parents, Gomez Addams (Luis Guzmán) and Morticia Addams (Catherine Zeta-Jones), to enroll her in her former alma mater, Nevermore Academy Preparatory School, which specializes in educating “underprivileged” children. ». As she tries to forge her own path at school, where her parents’ legacy looms large, Wednesday soon finds herself embroiled in a mystery involving murders in a nearby town.
wednesday comes from the creators of smallvilleAlfred Gough and Miles Millar, and while he manages to channel some of the same young adult drama the pair brought to their teen Superman series, it’s Burton’s aesthetic that informs much of the look of the eight-episode first season.
Director of sleepy hollow Y beetlejuice directs the first four episodes of the series, and is based on a similar palette to his 1990 film Young Scissorhands, which had its characters bouncing between two contrasting environments: one dark and gothic, the other bright and colorful. Like the main character in that film, Wednesday’s adventures have her and her classmates, werewolves, mermaids, and gorgons among them, navigating between the stone and dark forest of their gothic home and the glittering streets of an exaggerated small town America.
Unsurprisingly, Burton is at home in the comic-gothic setting of Wednesday’s world, but he also manages to fit Nevermore surprisingly well into the brightly colored traditional Americana that surrounds him. the two aesthetics you should not fit as well as they do, but wednesday it makes the fabric of these worlds feel surprisingly seamless.
Although the appearance of wednesday executed incredibly well, it’s Ortega’s performance as the lead character that ultimately sells the series.
It’s hard to imagine someone nailing Wednesday’s dry and morbid persona as well as Christina Ricci in the 1990s Addams Family live-action movies, but Ortega walks away with the role in the Netflix series. Ortega is a talented actress whose recent well-received performances in Ti West’s X and Scream suggest that she is no stranger to the subject matter. darkbut wednesday he flexes an entirely different kind of approach to material, and Ortega rises to the occasion. His deadpan delivery rarely falters, and in those rare moments when the story requires him to, Ortega finds just the right amount of subtlety to keep the coming-of-age experience of him in character.
She’s not alone in giving a great performance, either.
In supporting roles, Guzmán and Zeta-Jones offer a version of the central Addams Family couple that is familiar and unique, playing to the strengths of the celebrated actors. It’s no easy feat to live up to the portrayals of Gomez and Morticia in the original TV series (John Astin and Carolyn Jones) and the two live-action theatrical movies from the ’90s (Raúl Julia and Anjelica Huston), but the deeply romantic and macabre duo’s version finds the happy medium between their past and present incarnations. The same goes for Fred Armisen’s brief appearance as the iconic Uncle Lucas, with the insane performance of the star of portlandia playing well with the dry presence of Wednesday.
Despite the series’ focus on Wednesday Addams, it also does a remarkable job of building up the entire Addams Family backstory in fun and fascinating ways.
The fictional history of creator Charles Addams’ family of characters has rarely adhered to any kind of canon, and wednesday it sends the Addams Family timeline in some clever new directions. The series sheds some light on Morticia and Gomez’s early years and blossoming romance at Nevermore Academy, for example, and reveals some intriguing plot points about their time there and how it shaped some familiar aspects of the characters. Though the show keeps the spotlight on Wednesday, the history of the entire Addams family feels significantly richer with lore. what a wednesday brings his saga.
Outside of the established Addams Family characters appearing in the series, wednesday it also introduces some compelling supporting characters to its world.
Gwendoline Christie (game of Thrones) provides a nice foil to Wednesday as the director of Nevermore, while Emma Myers plays Wednesday’s eternally cheerful and optimistic roommate (who also happens to be a werewolf), Enid Sinclair. Both actresses give strong performances that unravel more of Wednesday’s character and give her the kind of surrounding cast of enemies and allies that make her feel like a more fully realized character.
Ricci herself also plays a recurring role on the series, as the school’s botany instructor Marilyn Thornhill, and watching her and Ortega interact makes for fun, self-aware humor.
Fans of the popular Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will probably feel some familiarity with wednesday, which manages to hit the sweet spot between dark, supernatural adventure and teen drama surprisingly well. Nevertheless, wednesday it’s a bit darker than that series, thanks to Burton’s influence and even quirkier characters.
Fans of Burton’s work, anyone looking to fill that void of Sabrina, or viewers simply intrigued by the idea of a gothic horror-comedy with a compelling mystery at its center and a great cast of unique and colorful characters will find a lot to like. Mysterious and creepy and downright creepy, the series is a scream in all the right ways.
Season 1 of Wednesday premieres November 23 on Netflix.