Netflix’s Wednesday follows the titular character as she follows a series of murders and tries to discover who (or what) is responsible for them. She receives help from a couple of friends (who somehow manage to force their way into her life) and relatives (some undead others a little more eccentric). Who better to solve mysterious supernatural murders than the girl whose favourite hobbies include torturing her brother, writing murder mystery novels, and contemplating homicide?
While Wednesday’s journey to find the murderer is the main focus of the show it is also a coming-of-age story about breaking out of the expectations that have been set for you and becoming your own person in the face of adversity. Wednesday Addams may have a slightly morbid outlook on life, but she consistently stays true to herself and doesn’t let the opinions of others get to her. Besides the gratuitous violence, she’s a good role model.
Netflix’s Wednesday also takes the time to comment on the harmfulness of people’s prejudices and the dangers of holding onto a grudge. There’s also a nice sprinkle of feminism and forward-thinking that has always been synonymous with Wednesday’s character.
There are several things about Tim Burton’s Wednesday that I absolutely loved and just added to the overall brilliance of the show:
The eery soundtrack – It plays throughout the show and is the perfect accompaniment to Wednesday’s adventures. It even provides a bit of extra entertainment, specifically in the beginning when the Addams are driving and three birds hit the windshield of the car in time with the music.
Gomez and Morticia – These two are by far one of the most iconic fictional couples. They absolutely adore each other (Luis Guzmán and Catherine Zeta-Jones are brilliant together) and are extremely supportive of their children, offering their help where they can and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. Gomez even goes out of his way to pack Pugsley’s favourite bait for him.
Wednesday’s deadpan replies – They provide some of the best moments in the show and it’s especially entertaining because a lot of the characters look like they don’t know whether to believe her or not.
The dynamic between Wednesday and her friends – As the story progresses, Wednesday begins to show that she cares for people in her own strange way. She defends her brother from his bullies, threatens violence upon her roommate’s date if he breaks her heart and when she hears that one of her other friends is in danger she runs to go and help them.
What Falls Flat
Unfortunately, there are a couple of things that don’t work too well in Netflix’s Wednesday:
Slightly disjointed fight scenes – While there aren’t many fight scenes throughout the series, those that do feature are a bit of a fail in the grand scheme of the show. Certain camera angles used make it difficult to follow what’s going on and it’s relatively easy to spot a false hit.
A forced love triangle – The love triangle has become a very common theme in a lot of shows and has therefore become a rather tired narrative that feels out of place in the grand scheme of the story.
Wednesday has never been a character that was interested in romance of any kind and she had done nothing to indicate otherwise as the show has unfolded and she’s interacted with different characters. It feels incredibly unnecessary when the two guys she has developed a sort of friendship with get jealous of each other when she hangs out with one and not the other. At one point they both get upset with her for leading them on (though in the case of one of them, her asking him to a dance was a necessary lie for her to forward her case).
The thing that saves having this narrative is that Wednesday doesn’t really care about the jealousy that is growing between the boys either way.
Listen to our podcast discussing Netflix’s Wednesday below.
People Responsible For Bringing The Show To Life
Jenna Ortega does an excellent job portraying Wednesday, delivering deadpan lines with an unchanging expression throughout the show, and the rest of the cast does not disappoint. Luis Guzmán and Catherine Zeta-Jones do an excellent job as the overly affectionate Gomez and Morticia Addams and Isaac Ordones’ Pugsley is the perfect combination of dim-witted and slightly naïve.
Completing the Addams’ family are George Burcea (who plays the mostly silent and barely expressive butler, Lurch), Victor Dorobantu (who plays everyone’s favourite dismembered hand, Thing), and Fred Armisen (who plays Wednesday’s gentle and electrified Uncle Fester).
Fans of The Addams Family films from 1991 and 1993 will immediately spot Christina Ricci, the actress who formerly played Wednesday Addams, and might be a little surprised by her role.
Other actors involved in Netflix’s Wednesday include Emma Myers (who plays Enid Sinclair, Wednesday’s roommate), Hunter Doohan, Percy Hynes White, Joy Sunday, Gwendoline Christie, Riki Lindhome, and Jamie McShane.
There were several other people involved in this project, the most notable of whom was Tim Burton, who is not only one of the executive producers (alongside Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Gail Berman, Jon Glickman, Andrew Mittman, and Kayla Alpert – who only joined in August of 2021) but also the director of the first four episodes of the show. The last four episodes were directed by Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall.
Gough and Millar wrote four of the 8 episodes (and were joined by Matt Lambert for one of them) while Kayla Alpert and April Blair each write two episodes themselves. The score and original theme of the show were handled by Danny Elfman, who has worked with Burton before and even voiced several characters in films like The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Netflix’s Wednesday was produced by several companies including Glickmania Media and the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation.
I thoroughly enjoyed Netflix’s Wednesday. The mystery of the murders kept my attention and I found myself trying to figure out who the killer was from the very beginning. Wednesday has always been my favourite member of the Addams family, so it’s great to see her dry sense of humour and biting sarcasm as the centre of things.
The bond she formed with certain classmates was brilliantly used to show a slightly softer side of her and the contrast that she is shown against her roommate Enid is hilarious (especially when she befriends Thing and gets Wednesday to treat him(?) better).
All-in-all I think the show is a brilliant addition to The Addams Family franchise that perfectly explores the whole family’s kookiness to the fullest extent. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a big fan of the Addams family and enjoys a constantly twisting mystery that’ll have you changing your suspected murderer every 5 seconds.