“Wednesday,” Tim Burton’s Addams Family Spinoff, is a Must Watch

“Wednesday” is a creepy, compelling murder mystery centered around the long-beloved character Wednesday Addams. It is a spinoff from the series “The Addams Family.” The first half of the season was directed by Tim Burton, which is a fitting choice considering his history with creepy and unique characters. Because most of the show was filmed in Romania, it wasn’t logistically possible for Burton to direct all eight episodes of season one, but he was still creatively involved throughout the entirety of the show. The rest was directed by Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall. The show aired on Netflix on November 23, 2022 and has since reached Netflix’s top-three most streamed shows. Season two has been confirmed and should air sometime in early 2024. 

The show follows Wednesday Addams, played by the amazingly talented Jenna Ortega. Wednesday is a strange, morbid 16-year-old girl. After being expelled from her current high school for a comical attempted murder, she is sent by her parents to their alma mater, Nevermore Academy. Nevermore is a school for outcasts, including werewolves, sirens, vampires, among others. Within her first few days attending, Wednesday gets caught up in a decades-old murder mystery. The show centers around this mystery and Wednesday tries to get to the bottom of it while also struggling with friendships, romance, and all the issues that come with being a high school student. 

I thought the show was very good. I blazed through the whole season in only a few days. Ortega’s performance as Wednesday was what really hooked me, though. Her commitment to the role is stunning. For example, in an interview, Ortega said that she had to teach herself how to blink when the camera was on another character, because Wednesday doesn’t blink. If she did blink at the wrong time, they would reshoot the scene. Ortega’s interpretation of Wednesday is the perfect balance between mean and indifferent, while still having just enough of a softness and humanity to her that allows the audience to root for her. 

I loved the casting and the set design. Nevermore is portrayed by a gorgeous Romanian castle and its gothic architecture really adds to the ambiance of the show. The way the characters grow and learn from each other is so wholesome and I loved watching Wednesday become more human over the course of the season. The way the show combines the genres murder mystery with teen drama makes it a great and interesting watch. I loved the references to other teen movies, like “Clueless” and “Harry Potter,” which added another layer of interest. 

My one issue with the show was the dialogue. The attempts of older script writers trying to be relatable to teen audiences tend to fall flat, and “Wednesday” was no exception. I found myself cringing or rolling my eyes very often at failed attempts at slang or wordplay. If that’s not a dealbreaker for you, I definitely still recommend giving the show a watch. 

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