Wednesday Addams evolves in new Netflix series

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Photo courtesy of Vlad Cioplea/Netflix/TNS

Actress Jenna Ortega stars as Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s newest show “Wednesday.”

By Lucy Bridges, Staff Writer

The new Netflix original series “Wednesday” was released on Nov. 23. The eight-episode series, directed by Tim Burton himself, is a spin-off series from the many “The Addams Family” TV and film adaptations that have been produced over the past 58 years. The new show centers solely on the story of Wednesday Addams and is currently ranked as the No. 1 television series in the U.S. on Netflix. 

Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega, is sent to Nevermore Academy, a boarding school for kids labeled as outcasts, which her parents Gomez and Morticia Addams, played by Luis Guzmán and Catherine Zeta-Jones respectively, also attended as teenagers. Disgusted and opposed to the new school, Wednesday distances herself from the other students and plans to escape from the walls of Nevermore. In her attempt to flee from the academy, Wednesday gets mixed up in murders, disappearances and ghosts from the past, keeping her at Nevermore to get to the bottom of a long-lasting mystery. 

As it is directed by Tim Burton, “Wednesday” possesses many familiar Burton-esque elements, like characters with sickly pale skin, story lines with cold humor and dark fantasy. 

The series features many young actors, such as Emma Myers as Enid Sinclair, Wednesday’s roommate and first friend, Hunter Doohan as Tyler Galpin, the “normie” boy love interest and Percy Hynes White as Xavier Thorpe, mysterious artist and classmate of Wednesday’s. 

Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday Addams in the 1991 movie version of “The Addams Family,” also has a role in the new series. 

The first episode progresses slowly, subtly introducing the characters and the backstory. The slowness of the first episode can make the plot difficult to follow and engage in, however, the show’s pace picks up in the second episode, beginning to circulate an intertwined set of storylines between the many characters.  

Ortega embodies the cold, dark and mysterious personality of Wednesday Addams, transforming into a corpse-like character with a dagger-eyed stare. In addition to fulfilling the traditional characteristics of the role of Wednesday Addams, Ortega also successfully evolves the character into a stubborn and cold, but warm and empathetic friend, daughter and partner. 

A stand-out feature of the series is the creative direction in filming. The diversity of camera angles and the use of dark music to portray the intended emotion of this particular storyline build episodes full of beautifully crafted scenes. 

Concentrating on Wednesday’s period at Nevermore, the audience gets to know the mature side of her life. Wednesday encounters numerous scenarios that teach her new skills and guide her to discover unfelt emotions, which she actively tries to suppress during the entirety of the series. First friendships and then eventually potential romantic relationships play a large role in leading Wednesday to her new character evolution.

Setting “Wednesday” apart from the “Addams Family” films, dark content is prevalent throughout the series as blood-thirsty monsters, manipulative characters and unsolved murders make up a majority of the plot. Although the fair share of dark and twisted scenes, with the help of Wednesday’s pessimism, create scary moments, “Wednesday” is a charming tale of a young adult discovering her power, resilience and individualism. 

 

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