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Netflix: is Wednesday worth watching?

The Addams Family have a new live-action Netflix series starring Jenna Ortega, and we're here to tell you - is Wednesday worth watching?

Is Wednesday worth watching? The Addams Family have their own live-action horror series again, except this time it’s their daughter, Wednesday, who’s the main star. She’s sent to Nevermore Academy, where Gomez and Morticia were educated, to hang out with some fellow “outcasts”.

She hates it at first, because,of course she does, but solving the case of the Nevermore Academy monster brings the extra-curricular activity she’s been looking for. Tim Burton, gothic family movie extraordinaire, is an executive producer on the Netflix series, and directed four episodes, bringing together two beloved horror forces.

The show marks quite a change from the norm in The Addams Family, and that’s saying something. But having said that, co-creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar draw heavily from the films and comedy series of old, making Wednesday a refreshing look at the classic family that has plenty for longtime fans to enjoy.

Is Wednesday worth watching?

In our minds, yes – Wednesday is indeed worth watching and here is why. The elevator pitch is essentially The Addams Family by way of CW shows like Riverdale.

Wednesday Addams is sent to live in a boarding school, Nevermore Academy, where she’s surrounded by other teenage “outcasts”, all of whom also come from spooky families, like werewolves and sirens.

Solitary and blunt, Wednesday struggles to fit in at first, but a string of ominous murders by a Nevermore Academy monster keeps her preoccupied. Despite her attempts to the contrary, her roommate Enid and other schoolmates start to become friendly, causing Wednesday to have something that resembles feelings for other people – gross, right?

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Fans of The Addams Family will find lots of nods throughout the franchise. The general setup borrows liberally from The Addams Family Values, where Wednesday goes to summer camp. There’s a pastiche of pilgrims, a canoe race, and overtly positive teachers. Wednesday’s visions are a callback to the ’60s TV series, where it was heavily suggested the family has supernatural capabilities.

Morticia and Uncle Fester were the ones who most prominently seemed superhuman, and now Wednesday joins them. A subplot involving an Addams Family ancestor being burned at the stake calls to mind Great Aunt Calpurnia Addams, a relative Wednesday admires in the 1991 adventure movie.

Gough and Millas clearly know the history of Charles Addams’s beloved characters, though their show is a departure in tone. Where previous iterations of The Addams Family were satirical and campy, Wednesday is less comedic, more readily comparable to young adult shows such as Shadow and Bone or The Midnight Club.

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

Your mileage may vary on that, especially with all the teen romance. Ortega’s commitment to Wednesday’s dryness is what makes the series, as she flings cutting one-liners around like throwing knives. Some scenes, like her improvised dance routine at a school dance that leads into a homage to Carrie, except she’s disappointed everyone was drenched in fake blood, are very innkeeping with the lineage of The Addams Family.

Christina Ricci plays a Nevermore teacher as well, to pass the baton to Ortega. Considering we just had two animated movies about the family as a whole, Wednesday is a welcome change. The flashbacks featuring young Morticia and Gomez gives us some neat character details, and Fred Armisen’s Uncle Fester is a delight. The effects work on Thing is nothing short of remarkable, either.

So, in short, Wednesday is less spooky but still kooky and ooky, and you should give it a go. When you do, come back and check out our guides on Wednesday season 2, and the cello song Wednesday plays.