Wednesday TV Review
Plot: The series is a detective supernatural infused mystery chart by Wednesday Addams' Years as a student at Nevermore Academy, where she tries to master her nascent psychic abilities, foil a monstrous rampage terrorizing the town, and solve the murder mystery that implicated her parents 25 years ago - all while she's new and coping with the very confused relationships at Nevermore.
Review: Tim Burton reluctantly gave up directing in 1991 The Addams family due to production on Batman Returns. Barry Sonnenfeld took over the reins, resulting in the film becoming a financial success for Orion Pictures. Despite several lackluster live-action sequels, Burton was once again credited with making a stop-motion animated reboot for Universal and Illumination Entertainment in 2010. MGM eventually delivered two CGI features that received mixed to negative reviews. Now Tim Burton can finally lend his unmistakable style to the Addams Family Wednesday, a dark series revolving around the eldest Addams daughter. Not only is Wednesday the first small screen series directed by Tim Burton, but it's also one of his most subdued projects to date, taking a far less whimsical approach than the feature films and instead cranking up the violence for an entertaining but slightly macabre romp.
Wednesday begins with a pivotal scene in the trailer, in which the eldest Addams child unleashes piranhas on the water polo team. Expelled from her school, Wednesday attends Nevermore Academy, the private boarding school her parents Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luis Guzman) fell in love with. Run by Principal Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie), a classmate of Morticia, Nevermore is home to students with all sorts of supernatural abilities. From Wednesday's roommate Enid (Emma Myers), a werewolf, to nemesis Bianca Barclay (Joy Sunday), a siren, all manner of monsters or ghosts roam the halls. Reminiscent of Hogwarts, Nevermore is also home to a mysterious murder list, as well as a long-lasting curse linking Wednesday to the school's founder, Joseph Crackstone. Initially reluctant to attend Nevermore, Wednesday slowly warms to her classmates and teachers, including Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci).
While the Addams clan features heavily in the trailer, Wednesday's family only has limited screen time. Pugsley and Uncle Fester (Fred Armisen) each appear in a single episode alongside Lurch and Wednesday's parents, but the disembodied Handding is a prominent character throughout the season. Much of the season is spent developing suspects and uncovering clues as Wednesday tries to figure out why she is so important to a prophecy at the school. The season is primarily spent developing the mythology of Nevermore and hunting a giant monster that bears a passing resemblance to the monsters of Wednesday bug juice. leading her to suspect everyone from Principal Weems to students Xavier Thorpe (Percy Hynes White), "normie" and love interest Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan), therapist Dr. Valerie Kinbolt (Riki Lindhome) and more. The series also introduces an ability for Wednesday that allows her to have precognitive visions when in contact with people or objects. While this plot device is used to advance the story, it serves as a fun link to Morticia and the Addams Family's legacy of witchcraft.
This series is quite different from the previous incarnations of The Addams family by making the paranormal and supernatural the norm rather than being unique to the Addams clan. While Wednesday Although the distinction between outcasts at Nevermore is treated in isolation from real-world norms, the series doesn't do a good job of making Wednesday seem weird or strange compared to everyone around it. Far more emotional than Christina Ricci in the feature films, Jenna Ortega makes a fascinating character on Wednesday. Gwendoline Christie also stands out in another eye-catching role that's a lot more than the trailers make her out to be. Christina Ricci is also pretty good in a substantial role that's much more than a cameo. I understand why this series turns Wednesday into its own story, but it still feels like it's missing a lot of that Addams charm that we only see in the few episodes featuring the rest of the family. At least this is my favorite version of Thing in all the previous ones Addams series or films.
The eight-episode series is heavily marketed as a Tim Burton project, although the filmmaker has no scripts to his credit and only directed four episodes. The remaining four chapters were split evenly between directors Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall. Four of the episodes were written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (they share one episode with Matt Lambert) and the other half will be shared between April Blair and Kayla Alpert. I don't consider these shared duties to be the primary reason for Wednesday's shortcomings, but even with an excellent score from Danny Elfman, this series never feels nearly as cinematic as Burton's feature films. No matter how strong the actors are here, the best are relegated to supporting roles and don't get nearly enough screen time to make up for the disappointingly generic, teen-focused melodrama that fills these hour-long episodes. Millar and Gough did a solid job of bringing Superman's youth to life Kleinvillebut this series wastes great potential by giving it to too many non-Addams Characters.
The charm of The Addams family was always that they were the oddballs in a world of normal people. Wednesday surrounds the title character with supernatural beings just as weird as themselves, making everything feel boring and less whimsical. Even Tim Burton's signature style feels underwhelming compared to what I expected from him, as this series has more in common with Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the latest School of Good and Evil. While Jenna Ortega does an admirable job of following Christina Ricci's iconic performance, Wednesday falls short of its potential and still manages to unravel a complicated mystery that unfolds over the season's eight episodes. There's a certain charm to this take on the iconic characters that might be worth returning to for a second season, but I'm not sure this series is scary or wacky enough to warrant another run.
Wednesday premieres November 18 on Netflix.
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