By: Bridie Beamish
The infamous Wednesday Addams continues to haunt screens in Netflix’s new rendition of the beloved character. With its release of the television show called Wednesday, Netflix successfully reintroduces the macabre character as a curious and rebellious teenager played by rising star Jenna Ortega..
Morticia and Gomez Addams send Wednesday, now 16 years old, to a school for outcasts, or those with magical abilities, after her homicidal and peculiar behavior became too much for a typical high school. Facing monsters, murder, and mayhem, Wednesday finds herself as a lead detective in uncovering who or what is killing outcasts and citizens of the nearby town.
Though some have declared their contempt for the series, claiming that the creators placed too much emphasis on the Gen-Z aspects of the characters, separating it too much from the adored 1991 Addams family film, I believe the modernization is an interesting and engaging take on a character that already has multiple portrayals. The series even appeases longtime fans by paying homage to the original movie by giving a significant role to former Wednesday Addams actress Christina Ricci.
In an interview with Complex, Ortega stated, “For the newer generation and also the pure fact that we’ve never spent so much time with Wednesday on screen before, there has to be more dimension in order to push that story forward. So that’s when I had to slide in different undertones of feeling and reaction and maybe insecurities at some point. Just something to make her more relatable and ground her and kind of just show a different side to a character that we’d never seen before.”
Placed in a high school setting and geared towards teenagers, the show develops Wednesday’s personality as she learns to navigate relationships, and her personal growth adds depth and relatability to the traditionally cold character. Having to deal with unlikely friends, familial tensions, and her new psychic abilities, Wednesday unveils a new, ever so slightly softer side to herself and does the impossible: she actually smiles. Yet, don’t get too excited; she remains the typical deadpan and cynical character we all know and love. Juxtaposing Wednesday’s serious and grim personality with a modern teenage setting, Netflix created an enthralling series that makes the protagonist amusingly relatable.
Featuring brilliant acting by Ortega and phenomenal directing from Tim Burton himself, it is no surprise that the series became an instant hit. The show currently holds a record for the most hours viewed in a single week for an English-language series; the show accumulated 411.3 million hours of watch time, surpassing the previous record it set of 312.2 hours during its release week, and the hours are only going up. As of Dec. 6, the show became Netflix’s fifth most watched show after viewers binged the series for 752.5 million hours in just twelve days. Wednesday was also the number one watched show in eighty-three countries, making it tied with a previous record set by Stranger Things Four.
Though Netflix has yet to announce a second season, fans are already going wild with their predictions following the first season’s cliffhanger. Stream Wednesday now to see if your detective skills are up to the test!
(Sources: Complex, Netflix)
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