‘Wednesday’ Review: Jenna Ortega Makes Netflix’s Addams Family Series Like a Snap


Although the main character’s name was inspired by the poetic line “Wednesday’s child is full of sorrow”, “Wednesday” is usually a joy, thanks almost entirely to Jenna Ortega. Having transcended her Disney Channel days, Ortega makes the now-high-school-age daughter of the Addams family the best humorous goth sociopath you’ll ever find in a Netflix series that’s more than creepy or funny. is scary.

Director Tim Burton set the perfect visual tone when he worked with “Smallville” creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar — a mix of the comedic and the macabre that resembles “Edward Scissorhands” — to create a TV show around a precocious teen. know something about. Indeed, when Wednesday is enrolled in a new private school, Nevermore Academy, she tells the headmistress (“Game of Thrones” Gwendoline Christie) about her frequent moves from school to school, “They tried to catch me. Not made strong enough.”

That may change at Nevermore, a poetic name for this haven for the weird and the magic, with a supernatural vibe that’s as much Hogwarts (or the X-Men) as Charles Addams’ signature comic strip.

Wednesday not only has to deal with emerging psychic abilities and the strange visions that go with them, but a mystery emerges that turns the suspicious girl into an ill-tempered, ebony-clad Nancy Drew, trying to figure out why. Clues as to who is responsible go back to your family tree.

It’s clearly a fairly derivative mashup of genre elements, but the mix works in part because even the smallest ingredients are delicious, from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán as Wednesday’s parents, Morticia and Gomez, to her For sidekick Thing, that gets a costume. Wants From Employment – What Else? – a “five-fingered discount.” The writers get a lot of comedic mileage out of that ending, so hand it to them.

What separates “Wednesday” from similar efforts (Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” comes to mind) is, finally, Ortega, who somehow manages to be consistently weird enough to be funny all at once. is a portrait of intensity and strangely endearing. When a character’s description never includes someone raising their voice or even a hint of a smile, that’s no small feat.

Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday in the 1990s films, as part of the school staff, and the local sheriff (Jamie McShane) dismisses Wednesday and her classmates as the “Scooby Gang” and the series runs over several episodes. Has been Level.

Perhaps inevitably, “Wednesday” can’t sustain its initial kick as the serialized story unfolds over episode eight, and the ending becomes very chaotic. Then again, it’s hardly a surprise that the nature of the source material seems designed more for short jokes than for a big overarching story.

Trying to bring something new to a property like The Addams Family that’s been done many times before isn’t easy without tweaking its DNA. To its credit, “Wednesday” rises to the challenge and mostly manages to make it look like a snap.

‘Wednesday’ will premiere on Netflix on November 23.

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