Review by Dan Skip Allen
Miles Miller and Alfred Gough were on a high while their show Smallville was doing great. They haven't hit it big since, even though they have been doing other shows like The Shannara Chronicles and Into the Badlands. When they reached out to the master of darkness himself, Tim Burton, their next project, Wednesday — based on the character from The Addams Family — bore fruit. When Nexflix jumped on board, this series saw the light of day. Has it been worth the wait? Let's see.
Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) isn't your average teenager. She has a penchant for wearing black clothes and a sense of the macabre. She's into dark things like going to funerals or getting revenge on her brother's tormentors by putting a bag of piranhas in a swimming pool so they can chew off their testicles. That's the kind of girl she is, though. Darkness follows her as she's expelled from one school where she didn't fit in and ends up at another school called Nevermore Academy. She fits in perfectly, except her curious nature gets her into trouble wherever she goes.
Tim Burton brings his dark sense of nature, which he's famous for, to this series that you would have thought he'd already have directed, but he didn't. Barry Sonnenfeld directed the two previous films based on The Addams Family, and the animated films, although still produced by MGM, are directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. This show is an MGM production airing on Netflix, so there is some flexibility with the structure of the series. This show is a mixture of a CW show and a Harry Potter film.
Part of what made the other films based on this IP is the cast, and Wednesday doesn't mess around in that regard, either. Gomez and Morticia Addams are portrayed by two big-name actors: Luis Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They are pretty fun to see as these characters. The title character Wednesday is played by Jenna Ortega. She has had some mild success with The Fallout, Scream, and X. These are all things she was good in, but she wasn't necessarily the star. Wednesday put her to the test with the commitment she needs to make as this popular character. She passes the test with flying colors.
The rest of the cast, played by some famous people, are pretty good as well. The school headmistress Larissa Weems is played by Gwendoline Christie of Game of Thrones fame. She is a thorn in Wednesday's side as soon as she is admitted to this Nevermore Academy. As we all know, Christina Ricci played Wednesday in the '90s movies, but she plays a normie teacher who is not a monster or creature character who seems a little too nice for her own good. There are also a lot of kid characters in the show. Emma Myers plays Enid Sinclair, Wednesday's roommate. They are nothing alike, but they seem to find a liking for each other despite their differences. Two love interest characters, Tyler and Xavier (Hunter Doohan and Percy Hynes White), have their ups and downs with Wednesday throughout the series. They are good young actors, though. The list goes on and on, including a guest appearance by Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester and Jamie McShane as the Jerico town Sheriff Donovan.
With Miller and Gough as the show creator, they can also add series writers to their titles. They took a popular IP and added a touch of romance, mystery, and murder from 25 years ago involving Wednesday's parents to the show. The series had a lot of intriguing moments involving werewolves, monsters, and various events that made it a lot of fun throughout. A crazy canoe race, a scary birthday party, and many gory deaths from some kind of monster have Wednesday, the authorities, school officials, and students baffled. The mystery involved is very interesting and keeps the characters guessing throughout the eight-episode show. The audience watching will definitely enjoy all the twists and turns the series brings.
Wednesday brings all the flavor of a Tim Burton-directed film. He directed the first two episodes of the series before others got their opportunity. The dark, macabre nature of the series lends itself perfectly to this character and her world Miller and Gough expanded upon. The visuals are just incredible, and the score by Dany Elfman is amazing. He knows just what to do on a series like this. His unique style works very well opposite Burton's. Wednesday is coming out a little late for the Halloween season, but it's not too late for fans looking for a wildly entertaining show for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. It's a good change of pace from all the football that families will be watching. This is the show of the fall season so far, and I hope it gets renewed for another season. It deserves it.
Wednesday streams on Netflix beginning November 23.