“Wednesday:” A modern take on the Addams Family

Lia Vaiserman

Photo courtesy of TV Insider

Netflix’s newest television series, “Wednesday,” is based on the original cartoon series “The Addams Family.” The Addams Family originated from an early 20th-century New Jersey cartoonist, Charles Addams. Charles published a cartoon of the family in 1938, which quickly gained popularity. Then, in 1964, the Addams Family was adapted into a family sitcom, which helped it develop into the cultural phenomenon it is today. The Addams Family is a gothic, spooky, and mysterious family and is also of Latin American heritage. The family consists of Morticia and Gomez as the parents, and their children, Wednesday and Pugsley. The oldest child, Wednesday, resembles her parents with her goth appearance and seemingly unemotional personality.

In 2020, Netflix announced they were producing their spin-off ‘Wednesday,’ following a teenage Wednesday Addams. Twenty-year-old Jenna Ortega, who already had some breakout roles in films “The Fallout” and “X,” was cast as Wednesday. The show took about a year of filming and was shot entirely in Romania. In three weeks of release, it became the second-most watched English-language Netflix series. It has also received two Golden Globe nominations.

Photo Courtesy of GoldDerby

The show begins with Wednesday being expelled from her school after dumping live piranhas into the school’s pool after some boys bullied her brother. She gets sent to Nevermore Academy, a school for supernatural outcasts. Both of her parents attended the Academy, so they believed it was the perfect fit for her. Wednesday gets put into a dorm with Enid, a bubbly extroverted werewolf, the total opposite of Wednesday. When unpacking in her new room, Wednesday discovers that her parents sent ‘Thing’ to spy on her. Thing is a disembodied hand that communicates with Wednesday through various gestures. Wednesday makes various friends in her new community, including Tyler, a non-supernatural cafe worker who is also the son of the police chief, and Xavier, a psychic artist. Wednesday also begins to undercover her own psychic powers passed down from her mother. Nevermore Academy is set in the small town of Jericho, and recently, it has been experiencing an outbreak of murders. Wednesday, intrigued by the murders, begins an eight-episode-long investigation into the killings.

The show was highly enjoyable for me, and each episode kept me on my toes, leaving me wondering what might happen next. The character of Wednesday was exceptionally well written, and her character development is unmatched. The side characters, especially Enid, Thing, and Xavier, were among my favorites and a great addition to the show.  As someone who grew up watching the Addams family sitcom, the show stayed true to the original series’ characters. My only complaint was that I wished they had made Thing communicate with Wednesday through sign language. This would have been a great use of representation and made more sense to talk through signs. Overall, Wednesday was a fantastic show, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next in season 2!