“Wednesday” proves to be a glorious gothic reboot that’s well worth the wait

Throwback to the heyday of Barry Sonnenfeld, Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston as The Addams family Franchise was cash gold Wednesday has reached Netflix with Tim Burton’s seal of approval.

Co-created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar from Kleinville fame, it tells the story of Wednesday Addams, who narrowly escapes jail after an attempted murder. In a comedicly somber five-minute opening, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) is introduced through an internal monologue as her signature demeanor shares high school corridors like Moses The Ten Commandments.

After saving her brother Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez) from humiliation by quickly dispatching the swim team, she soon finds herself in a specialized boarding school. Accompanied by her mother Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and father Gomez (Luis Guzman), this updated interpretation feels refreshing – if not entirely original.

From the opening frame, Wednesday strikes a perfect balance between gothic theatricality and pitch-black comedy-drama. Much of this is accomplished by Ortega, who seems to have mastered the deadpan performance and brooding intellectual superiority that define the character. Wielding her disdain for everything like a weapon against the world, Wednesday must reconcile life within the walls of Nevermore, where Principal Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie) holds court.

Introduced to her new roommate, Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers), who embodies everything this Addams family member repels, Wednesday quite literally draws a line in the first of many visual flourishes that give this series an edge. What follows is a whistle-stop tour of this wannabe Hogwarts for vampires, werewolves, gorgons, and sirens – giving audiences an orientation alongside Nevermore’s newest addition.

With rivalries between Bianca (Joy Sunday) and Wednesday established early on, and a potential crush on local barista Tyler (Hunter Doohan), the show risks becoming just another high school melodrama. What ultimately saves him, aside from Ortega in the title role, is a reticent adherence to gothic horror.

What begins as the essence of restoration The Addams family Identity for a new generation, soon begins to push the boundaries of its evaluation. Lift generously from the Harry Potter treasure trove of literary inspiration, Wednesday soon its own high school competition, which harks back to the Tri-Wizard Cup Goblet of Fire. Architecturally, Nevermore also resembles Hogwarts, particularly when it comes to the central courtyard where students regularly congregate.

It also made those in positions of power sneaky, pulling strings vindictively to influence the situation, just as certain characters did Order of the Phoenix. Regardless of the similarities between this global phenomenon and this Netflix spinoff, there’s no denying it Wednesday turns out to be a gripping gothic dramedy.

There are subtle easter eggs in the opening episodes that either pay homage The Addams family Transforming lore or, in certain cases, theme tune lyrics into lines of dialogue. As the mysterious Weems, Gwendoline Christie is exceptional, walking the fine line between the benevolent headmistress and the manipulative Svengali.

Likewise Riki Lindhome (Duncanville) puts in a solid twist as psychiatrist Doctor Valerie Kinbott, who emerges as more than a compassionate presence to be ignored Wednesday during court-approved therapy sessions. That this show also flouts the conventions of high school drama, after some world-building episodes, is commendable, since Wednesday turns into a disturbing crime thriller – with a tiny Addams front and center.

From there, it uses sporadic visions to piece together disparate puzzle pieces that connect into a cohesive whole — while never losing sight of who the series is really about. A fact that should hopefully give audiences some reassurance, considering that not all critical eyes were kind to this latest addition to The Addams family Franchise.

Featuring a truly slick production design by former art director Mark Scruton (heaviness), this world feels fleshed out and boldly realized down to the smallest detail. There’s a rich sense of history woven into the fabric of Nevermore that makes it possible Wednesday to live and breathe. A fact that goes a long way towards explaining why Christina Ricci agreed to dive in as Marilyn Thornhill – lecturer in the art of carnivorous plant husbandry.

The actress may be hidden behind glasses, with a vibrant head of red hair obscuring her distinctive features, but there’s no denying the importance of her on-screen presence alongside Ortega. Fans will see this as a passing of the torch between generations, as Wednesday finally emerges from the shadows of Morticia and Gomez to establish her own identity.

https://wegotthiscovered.com/reviews/review-wednesday-breathes-new-life-into-a-gothic-family-franchise/ “Wednesday” proves to be a glorious gothic reboot that’s well worth the wait

Lindsay Lowe

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