Not Just Another Wednesday

Burton, Ortega elevate a classic character in the Netflix series Wednesday


Courtesy of Netflix

Wednesday dancing in the series during the Rave’N Dance in Episode 4 “Woe What A Night.” Tim Burton has always fulfilled his filmography, once again his newest film Wednesday is quiet the catch. Since the release on Netflix, Nov. 23, the film has earned a 4.7 audience rating and 71% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Makenzie Carpenter-Sais, Staff Writer

After creating Beetlejuice, Alice in Wonderland, Corpse Bride, and other popular dark comic films, Tim Burton finally gets to put his touch of style into The Addams Family with the new television series Wednesday. Streaming on Netflix, the eight-episode series stars young scream queen Jenna Ortega as the oldest Addams daughter. While there have been several depictions of Wednesday Addams from live-action films to animation, this enjoyable series approaches the character in a dun and different way.  

After Wednesday (Ortega) defends her brother Pugsley from bullies by releasing piranhas on the water polo team, she gets expelled from her school and is enrolled at Nevermore Academy, a private boarding school where her parents Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luis Guzman) met and fell in love. Nevermore is a school open to students with supernatural abilities, and this series deviates from the others by giving Wednesday latent psychic abilities. While Wednesday attempts to master her new powers, she discovers a mysterious unknown creature that is on a killing spree as well as a murder mystery involving her parents from many years ago.


Over the eight episodes of the series, Wednesday unfolds a different yet very well-written storyline. Though the series deviates from the original Addams Family and includes supernatural and paranormal characters rather than the typical “creepy and kooky” family storyline, the series is strong and builds a whole different picture of the character of Wednesday. Yet this series is still a bit of a family affair, with guest appearances by Thing, Uncle Fester, Pugsley, and of course Morticia and Gomez Addams. 

The acting was incredible with choices that pique the audience’s interest and make them want more. Jenna Ortega did a superb job pursuing the role of Wednesday: she of course stayed true to the original characteristics of Wednesday Addams’ black dress and braided pigtails, but Ortega committed herself to more than just that–across the episodes, she barely blinks in any scene to create an unnerving, emotionless facade. The other students at Nevermore (Hunter Doohan, Percy Hynes White, Emma Myers, and Gwendoline Christie) also define their personalities with fun quirks that make each one memorable. One cast member that stood out in particular is Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday Addams in the 1990s films. Ricci plays dorm mother Marilyn Thornhill, who becomes an intriguing and always interesting character.  

As a Tim Burton, this series shares his defined look: dark buildings, splashes of random color, and large, imposing spaces that look more like dollhouses than houses. These over-the-top elements actually create a more realistic and interesting story by playing into the surreal horror in the background of the series. Similarly, the creature designs and CG in the series are tremendous and make the series far more interesting. Thing–this disembodied hand sent by Morticia and Gomez to monitor Wednesday at the academy–is incredibly lifelike and becomes a standout character, despite never saying a word.

Granted, the series throws a lot of different plot lines on the screen, and while all the threads come together and play a bigger role in the overall story arc, this can make the show confusing at times. That being said, the series has tons of potential and is overall really good. The Addams Family are very odd people in a world full of normality, which endears them to any audience that can relate to being different. Wednesday takes this same idea and arguably the family’s most iconic character and has her celebrate quirkiness and weirdness in the way that only Tim Burton can. Definitely check this series out the next time you want a dark thrill.