(CTN NEWS) – Wednesday – Rather than being kooky, she’s creepy, mysterious, and spooky. She’s the mordant, dead-eyed daughter of the Addams family.
In Tim Burton’s cheerily macabre Netflix series, “Wednesday,” she’s heading to boarding school.
When Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega), daddy’s “little viper,” is expelled from Nancy Reagan High, her ninth school in five years.
The eight-part series, from director Burton and writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, offers caskets full of fun.
She merely let some jocks who had harassed her younger brother Pugsley into a swimming pool full of piranhas.
Her mother Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and father Gomez (Luis Guzmán) both graduated from Nevermore Academy.
There are cliques of vampires, werewolves, and sirens among the students, and the curriculum is tailored for outcasts, creeps, and monsters.
However, Wednesday’s cadaver-white complexion and all-black outfit terrify even them. Gomez says, “Wednesday always seems half-dead.” “Excuse Wednesday. She has a colour allergy,” Morticia continues.
Weems, the oddly upbeat principal of the school (Gwendoline Christie), has no plans to relax on Wednesday.
As the talented, pessimistic teen who prefers to hang out in a tomb to a club, Ortega kills. With her blatant affectation and complete disregard for her classmates, she personifies Wednesday.
One of the best television moments of the year is when she does spasmodic, zombie-like motions at the school dance while singing the Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck” with a deadly straight face.
The nasty, bold, and hilariously caustic heroine is full of one-liners. Mommy’s little storm cloud claims, “they came on without warning and feel like electroshock therapy, but without the wonderful afterburn.”
Because she considers social media “a soul-sucking abyss of worthless affirmation,” she doesn’t have an Instagram or TikTok account.
And Wednesday makes it plain that she is not interested in “tribal adolescent tropes” when her perky new roommate Enid (Emma Myers), shows her around the school’s social scene.
When a mysterious entity with connections to the school starts murdering students and locals, Wednesday uses her innate mistrust of people to her advantage.
She approaches the mystery-solving process like a gothic Nancy Drew, using deduction and the occasional torture session.
The only “normie” teacher at the academy is Ms. Thornhill, who Christina Ricci played in the 1991 film “The Addams Family” and its 1993 sequel, “Addams Family Values.” She lacks other people’s shifting abilities or talents.
She came to the school because she was passionate about teaching botany. But why exactly is she there?
Only sometimes and deliberately used in this streaming version of the franchise are gimmicky references to the movies and the 1964 TV series.
The secret society’s hideout may be entered with two finger snaps, and Lurch’s catchphrase “You rang?” only appears once and at the ideal moment.
The wonder of CGI has allowed the disembodied hand known as Thing, who previously lived in confinement in “Addams Family” movies, to walk around freely.
The expressions of shame, panic, and dejection on Wednesday’s Sherlock are those of Watson, and Thing gives a powerful performance. On the first day of school, Wednesday finds Thing lurking in her dorm room and questions it.
“My parents sent you to snoop on me, right? He waves a digit as a “no” signal. She reminds me, “I’m not beyond breaking a few fingers.” Quakes briefly before swiftly explaining in sign language why it is there for her benefit.
She mocks, “Oh, Man, you poor, foolish appendage.”
This delightfully eccentric, satirical whodunit is dripping with Burton’s sensibility and aesthetic.
The small ancient hamlet of Jericho outside attracts visitors with a tacky recreation of a Pilgrim village, while Nevermore Academy is a beautifully spooky setting complete with gargoyles and spires.
Burton’s playground is the concoction of witch-burning relics and kitsch fudge stalls.
When working with a renowned pop culture icon like “The Addams Family,” there is always a risk, but “Wednesday” succeeds on every level. Its namesake need not be concerned about a tarnished reputation.
She probably won’t care what people think.
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