The series starring the famous character from ‘The Addams Family’ is described as a detective mystery steeped in supernatural elements about the years of Wednesday as a student at Nevermore Academy. It sees Wednesday’s attempts to master her budding psychic ability, stop a monstrous murder spree that has terrorized the city, and solve the paranormal mystery her parents were caught up in 25 years ago. And all this while managing his new —and extremely complicated— relationships in Nevermore..
This Wednesday finally arrives at Netflix one of the most anticipated series of the year. Directed halfway by a Tim Burton in clear decline, the series brings the eccentric and dark Addams family into modern society. Or rather, drowns them in the teen formula of the platform with a conventional and somewhat disappointing ‘whodunit’. as if our Wednesday now off some kind of cross between Enola Holmes Y Sabrina who goes to an academy for teenage monsters to investigate murders, rub shoulders with secret societies, and uncover conspiracies from the past. Does it ring a bell? Me too.
In and around this academy called Nevermore, Burton seems to be trying to capture all his visual imagery, but is slowed down by some scriptwriters who prefer algorithms to originality. In fact, as with the plot, they plague her with every possible high school cliché and they hardly exploit those elements that could make it iconic or, at least, identifiable and truly original. It’s more, what we know of the Addams family itself does not quite fit in this universe. We don’t know either, because here the rest of the Addams are very minor characters and nothing developed.
At first glance, several similarities with ‘Adult Wednesday Addams’ after it has been removed from YouTube due to copyright allegations. And I say similarities not to say that they have taken advantage of his absence to copy a couple of concepts. But, industrial goings-on aside, the Wednesday of a splendid Jenna Ortega (Scream) she is no longer the sadistic girl we knew nor do barbarities for the simple pleasure of doing it, but because he has his reasons or his interests for it. Thus, the scriptwriters have turned it into a teenage anti-heroine with feelings, fears and… suitors.
The first thing that becomes clear when watching the series is that neither writers nor directors really understand the character, something that Ortega herself dropped in an interview. So much so that, as the episodes go by, it is difficult to believe any lapidary phrase or any reaction of absolute rejection by Wednesday, since He ends up giving the feeling that nothing he says is serious. And this is because fiction portrays her as a hurt teenager who seems to take refuge in herself so as not to hurt herselfinstead of like that purely cold and sadistic character that we know.
It is very meritorious that, despite everything, Ortega has been able to take Wednesday to his ground and shine infinite times more than any other aspect of the series. Not to mention how he overcomes the pressure of working in front of the very christina ricci, who in his childhood made Wednesday that iconic character that we all know now. But it is a pity that, in the very few participations of him, the rest of the Addams family does not remind us too much of the usualbut we are before a more humanized version headed by a Catherine Zeta-Jones who is not convincing as Morticia.
Another big problem with the series is that Wednesday is someone so special that, the other characters feel like mere patches so that Ortega has someone to interact with throughout these eight hours. We have the roommate who, obviously, is the opposite of Wednesday, the bullies on duty, the usual handsome suitors, the nerd, the mysterious principal, the nice teacher… A whole string of clichés that make its superficial subplots completely irrelevant. In fact, only a couple of them end up mattering when the outcome is reached.
of course this it would have been better if its moderate black humor also worked as a parody of this type of series. However, most of the time the series she takes herself too seriously. Thus, the eccentric films of the 90s or the recent animated children’s films give way to a much darker and less fun-focused proposal. It is a fiction of mystery and juvenile terror entertaining, effective and very low risk who does not abuse the jump scare or wallows excessively in the corniness of the age although, Unfortunately, this does not mean that I dodge them, far from it…
Nor does it mean that, although it is entertaining, the rhythm and interest do not suffer, especially when it focuses on irrelevant subplots starring its supporting characters. Also, there are many inconsistencies that have to do with Nevermore and how it works. Well, with all the script itself. A script that, despite developing its mystery with a head, in the end it seems excessively predictable both in its resolution and in the development of the different relationships between characters. At least, visually it stands out and the soundtrack by Danny Elfman is still identifiable and stupendous.
I believe that The Addams Family works best as a set in which each member enjoys their own subplot.. Precisely, the most interesting episodes are those in which we have the wasted Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley and Uncle Fetid -and those in which she does not take herself so seriously, of course-. However, even if she is the best character, giving Wednesday a series of her own to surround her with such flat and unattractive characters compared to her family is a mistake. And of course, this is not the coming-of-age idea of Wednesday that many of us expected.
In any case, for the new generations, the series has all the ingredients to become a new hit on the platform, as well as a lucrative business for costume shops. However, those of us who grew up with Ricci Wednesday would have preferred a fifteen-year-old who gave free rein to her sadism and evil, but it would have been too disruptive and courageous a move for an increasingly less daring industry. For this reason, Netflix has preferred to build the most conventional teen detective plot for the most extraordinary character. A pity.
‘Wednesday’ the premiere November 23 in Netflix.