Spin-off series brings fresh look at popular character

Mysterious and fun Netflix show Wednesday has captivated fans immediately with its inaugural season. Illustration by Cat Pogreba.

Illustration by Caitlin Pogreba

Mysterious and fun Netflix show “Wednesday” has captivated fans immediately with its inaugural season. Illustration by Cat Pogreba.

“The Addams Family” has a new spin-off—this time all about Wednesday Addams.

We have heard of the classic Addams Family. There have been countless movies and a few shows about the darkly comic cast of characters starting with a comic in The New Yorker in 1938. The characters in the comic were unnamed up until the first official “Addams Family” TV series that aired from 1964 until 1966. From then on there were many remakes ranging from animated series and movies to TV specials. One notable remake was the 1991 live action movie, which is arguably the most popular of the Addams Family adaptations. After a few more sequels and reboots comes “Wednesday”, of which half of the first season’s episodes are directed by the one and only Tim Burton (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). This Addams Family spin-off is focused on the daughter, Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega (“Scream”), as she navigates through a new academy and attempts to solve a series of murders in the local town.

Soon after “Wednesday” was released on Netflix, it attracted more than 1 billion viewing hours as of December 2022, becoming one of the most popular shows on Netflix at the time. Many teens enjoy the relatable character of Wednesday and the show’s creepy and witty atmosphere, the casting, plot and just the overall kookiness of the show. The thing that sets it apart from other Addams Family remakes is that it’s not just another spin on the old story of a kooky, gothic family—it’s a series that dives deeper into Wednesday and her coming of age.

“[Ortega] did very good and played the role good with the way her actions and expressions matched the character Wednesday,” Tatiana Guaman (10) said.

An overwhelming amount of fans believe that Ortega did an amazing job at truly portraying the darkness and deadpan personality of Wednesday Addams. There were many things that went into how she played the role. Ortega spoke in an interview on “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” about how she got inspiration in creating the famous dance scene, saying she watched old videos of goth dancing, punk rock bands and artists and even honored Lisa Loring, the first Wednesday actress from the original 1964 series, by using a part of a shuffle dance that was in the original series. 

The famous dance scene has gone viral on social media platforms, especially TikTok. Creators have been performing Wednesday’s most well-known moment in the series, although it has commonly been posted to the song “Bloody Mary” by Lady Gaga instead of the original song the dance was paired with: the 80s classic punk rock track “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps. 

Speaking of retro, in keeping with the tradition of the character, ‘Thing’, who is a disembodied hand that serves as Wednesday’s sidekick throughout the show, was not fully CGI and for most parts is an actual actor. This surprised and was praised by fans because they felt like because of that, the character was able to really display the witty personality despite only having 5 fingers with which to show it. 

Although there are millions who loved the show, there were quite a few who critiqued it as well. From casting to the romance subplot, there’s plenty of criticism to go around.

“It was too cringey, the love triangle was just not it,” Nashad Osman (10) said.

The show has a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.8 star rating on Google; the one- and two-star reviews call the show a “swing and a miss”, comparable to a mix between a Scooby-Doo drama and Disney high school series, and even saying that the show isn’t true to the Addams Family brand. Some say it’s the casting and others say it’s the acting, but many agree that there’s something off with Morticia (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones of “Chicago”) and Gomez Addams (played by Luis Guzmán of “Narcos”). The dark, intimate aspect to their relationship from past iterations is just not present in the series. This may change as the show continues, but only time will tell. 

Speaking of the show continuing, a second season of “Wednesday” has already been ordered by Netflix, stemming from the insane amount of traction the first season has received. There are speculations about what the next season will look like. Some hope it will focus on diving deeper into Wednesday and Morticia’s relationship, which we got a small glimpse of already in season one. There’s a large speculation that in the upcoming season they will expand to show more of the full Addams Family as well, including the beloved Cousin It. 

“Wednesday” is definitely a show worth watching as it’s moody, mysterious and a great interpretation of the classic character Wednesday Addams. You might even learn one or two dance moves along the way!