Netflix’s “Wednesday” is a Supernaturally Good Hit

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"Jenna-ortega-facts" by Jenna Ortega is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. / "Wednesday Addams" by kirinqueen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

“Stuck in the Middle” star Jenna Ortega readapts the role of Wednesday in the new Netflix series “Wednesday”. Christina Ricci, the actress who played Wednesday in the 1991 film, “The Addams Family” played a supporting role in the Netflix original.

By Maggie Craig, South Forsyth High School

Thrilling murder mysteries, frightening monsters and a school of magical beings? No, this isn’t Harry Potter—It’s Netflix’s new series “Wednesday”, a show based off of the beloved Charles Addams character, Wednesday Addams, and her quest to solve a series of murders in the small town of Jericho.

Executive Producer Tim Burton showcased a few different facets of the classically spooky Addams daughter, and a whole new generation is officially obsessed.

“Wednesday” follows the titular character, Wednesday Addams, as a sophomore in high school. She gets expelled from her high school for avenging her little brother, Pugsley, after the swim team bullies him. Her parents, Morticia and Gomez Addams, decide that “normie” school cannot contain their daughter, and therefore enroll her in the boarding school they attended in their youth, “Nevermore Academy.”

Nevermore is a school for “outcasts,” or children with supernatural or abnormal abilities such as vampires, werewolves, sirens and gorgons. Wednesday, being Wednesday, is immediately determined to leave. 

However, during one of Wednesday’s schemes to get herself expelled yet again, she encounters a terrifying monster who’s been responsible for a slew of violent killings in the area. At the same time, Wednesday also receives a prophetic drawing that depicts her in the middle of a Nevermore Academy up in flames. Believing that the monster, its killings and the prophecy are all somehow related, Wednesday decides to stay at Nevermore to uncover her classmates’ secrets, face the town of Jericho and confront Nevermore Academy’s dark history—which may involve her own parents. 

Wednesday Addams Inside the Character/Netflix/Youtube

Burton’s “Wednesday” is a refreshing take on the Addams family primarily because Wednesday, played fabulously by “You” star Jenny Ortega, is the main character. The rest of her famous family only play supporting roles in the show, so we get to see the character interact with many new, different faces.

Ortega’s Wednesday is also a high schooler, unlike the character’s past T.V. renditions, so there’s more room for serious themes and higher stakes. Since she’s a teenager in this series, Wednesday also has a different, more strained dynamic with her parents, which despite all the supernatural elements, made the show feel real.

What viewers were most excited for was the accurate portrayal of the Latino roots of the Addams family.

Mexican and Puerto Rican actress Jenna Ortega portrays Wednesday Addams, who, in an interview with Netflix, said that “Wednesday is technically a Latina character and that’s never been represented, so for me every time I have an opportunity to represent my community, I want that to be seen.” 

It’s also no secret that Ortega’s performance in the show is phenomenal. Her take on Wednesday is different from past adaptations, but she still conveyed Wednesday’s lovable socially inept and sadistic traits. Furthermore, Ortega dedicated time outside of filming to perfect the character and take Wednesday to the next level. She stated that she went to fencing lessons and cello lessons twice a week to “do justice” to Wednesday.

Speaking of past adaptations, Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday in “The Addams Family” (1991) plays a supporting role in the new series. She portrays Marilyn Thornhill, the first normie teacher at Nevermore Academy who teaches botany. Thornhill also is a motherly figure to Wednesday at the school, which creates tender moments between Ricci and Ortega, almost like a “passing of the torch” to the new Wednesday. 

Despite the monotone nature of the main character, there was never a dull moment in “Wednesday.” Every episode has an unexpected turn, leading the audience to become detectives alongside Wednesday. This series is more than just an unusual family navigating through everyday life; it’s a spine-chilling, twisted and fantastical adventure. The last episode makes it clear that not all loose ends are tied up, so I am thrilled to see what the brilliant minds of Burton and Ortega concoct for season two. 

This story was originally published on The Bird Feed on November 30, 2022.