A few weeks after Wednesday’s release and growing success, let’s try to analyze the more and less successful aspects of the latest cult serial baked by Netflix.
Wednesday is rapidly climbing the Netflix charts, surpassing the hitherto unbeatable Stranger Things precisely in the two dedicated targets, both that of curious young people and that of nostalgic adults. There Jenna-mania has exploded and the platform has managed to create a new phenomenon among its hits, which are less and less or are about to leave us (such as Upside Down itself). Now that a few weeks have passed and we’ve all had time to digest the series, we thought we’d take stock by analyzing what we think worked in the new cult Netflix (still not renewed for a second season) and what not.
1. Jenna Ortega
Soul, body, heart of this new version of Wednesday Addams, the young lead actress was definitely one of the strengths, if not THE strength of the entire series. She managed to give the character a charismatic and repelling character at the same time, an element that is not taken for granted. A character who has an evolution and in a certain way “sweetens” and softens a bit in the course of events, but perhaps it is also right since it is still a bildungsroman, albeit a supernatural one. Fascinating, with an immediately striking look, Jenna Ortega she spoke for a dark personality type who was seen as weird in school, bullied and ostracized. A bit like what happened to Joe Quinn’s Eddie Munson in the fourth season of Stranger Things.
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2. Based on an idea by… Tim Burton
Paraphrasing the catchphrase starring Stefano Accorsi, since the very first news on the project Wednesday was advertised by Netflix as “the first series of Tim Burton” but in reality to be showrunners are Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, those who have recounted Superman’s adolescence for ten seasons in Smallville. In fact, we see the extremely teen imprint (perhaps too much) given to the show, but after all it was presented right away as a serial on Wednesday’s adolescence and not on the Addams family. Those expecting a darker, more mature series will be disappointed. However, Tim Burton directed half of the series (four out of eight episodes) and supervised the art direction for the other installments. His style, for someone tired, we can say that it is still clearly seen, immediately recognizable. Perhaps he could have directed the entire serial and edited it more. At the moment it is not known if he would return behind the camera for a possible season 2.
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3. It’s not Harry Potter and it’s not Sabrina
Speaking of associations and delusions, Wednesday clearly had various fantasy inspirations, not just Burtonian. Two immediately caught the eye of the spectators: Harry Potter and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. If the former paid homage to the school atmosphere, the concept of half-blood, the Houses with similar colors and crests, the Herbology lessons, a match that really looked like the Triwizard Tournament, we don’t feel like saying that he plundered too much from Wizarding World: After all, well before the series, the X-Men had done literally school with Prof. X, already revisited by Burton among other things in a different form in Miss Peregrine – Home for Peculiar Children. We feel instead of approaching less Wednesday to the dark remake of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and inspired by the most recent comics by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa himself. This because Sabrina it was quite dishonest right from the start in proposing itself as a mature and dark product when it continually winked at sitcom atmospheres, however unfeasible. Wednesday it has always been transparent in being a series aimed at a “generalist” type of target and with a mix of light and dark intended to satisfy all serial palates a little.
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4. I know who did it
It is certainly instead on the Riverdale side (which is part of the same narrative universe as the new one Sabrina) that the Netflix series has taken the crime element, which is also what it gives pretty Little Liars onwards he colored the teen dramas and coming-of-age stories to make them more appealing to Generation Z. This is definitely the, in our opinion, the least successful aspect of the series because it really appears as a functional addition to the Netflix algorithm and not to the plot, but at the same time it is what moves the protagonist and fills most of the storylines. The playing time is certainly high and even the number of episodes, however small, weighs on the vision. Of course, being able as viewers to guess the two culprits within a handful of episodes (without having to be super yellow experts, mind you), doesn’t help the cause wanted by the showrunners. Also because, Wednesday makes a bad impression while boasting of her skills as an acute observer and deductor, in not being able to guess anything until the last minute … if it weren’t for the visions and therefore her supernatural and non-investigative abilities.
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5. Addams… little Addams
Part of the crime story is linked to the Addamses’ family background, to allow for the theme of ancient tradition “the faults of the fathers fall on the children” to be included in the show. A choice that we found spot on and not redundant, especially in the relationship between Wednesday and Morticia. We also appreciated the little on-screen involvement of the family, despite names like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Fred Armisen (two really excellent castings), given that the series had to focus on the eldest daughter and not on the family nucleus: also in this case the authors and Netflix were not dishonest, using the family side too much in spite of the school one. On the other hand, the various parents of the companions of the protagonist are equally important in the equation and in solving the case.
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6.Enid & Friends
However, it is not only the Addams who are striking in terms of casting. Among adults it continues to give good confirmations afterwards Game of thrones and The Sandman, Gwendoline Christie as the principal of Nevermore Academy. But also Christina Ricci former Wednesday of the 90s film proved to be a winning choice, even if it arrived at the last minute to replace the previous interpreter, in the role of the botany professor of the academy for outcasts. On the other hand, the actress has always been familiar with unusual roles: the one with Burton in Sleepy Hollow and more recently one of the survivors in the series Yellowjackets. Among the younger ones, however, we point out the roommate on Wednesday, the not yet werewolf Enid, whose interpreter Emma Myers is destined to make a massacre of hearts on a par (if not even more) than her colleague.
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7. A Classic Romance Story
The most successful episode of the season is certainly the fourth, the last directed by Tim Burton and dedicated to the school dance. Not only because it allows the more romantic side of the story to emerge, with the “couple games” typical of teen dramas to make their way, but also because it is the one that most of all, together with the third, manages to present us better and more deeply , the characters and their relationships, in addition to the protagonist. The episode also contains Jenna Ortega’s iconic dance – now viral, imitated and taken up by everyone, including Lady Gaga, the all-time champion of freaks – which the actress admitted she invented almost on the spot and with Covid. The episode in which perhaps Wednesday lets himself go a little more, which pays homage to a cult like Carrie – The Gaze of Satan and which also allows Hunter Doohan to juggle another more complex interpretation after Your Honour.
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