We’ve been excited to see Netflix’s Wednesday ever since we first heard about it. And let’s be clear from the start: This series does not disappoint. And our only complaint is that there’s not more of it.
Going into this series, we had an idea about who Wednesday Addams was or “should” be. Between classic TV and two movies in the ’90s, she is, after all, a known quantity. What makes this version of the character so fascinating is how she manages to hit all the right notes required to pay tribute to previous ones — while also bringing something completely new to the table.
Sure, the story’s a little bit of everything, which would make this a fun series regardless. But Jenna Ortega makes it so, so much more. She was excellent in the most recent Scream sequel, so it’s not remotely surprising that she’s even here, as the star. Even so, there’s just something…indescribably special about Ortega’s work in this series. It’s really difficult to pinpoint exactly how she has a certain light that can’t help but shine through, even while completely mastering some of the character’s darker notes. Basically, you’ll just have to watch to “get” it.
So, now, let’s talk about the story a little bit. (A very little and spoiler-free bit, that is.) The series’ central mystery will keep you guessing. Which, of course, means you’re going to want to do like we do with all Netflix Originals and watch it all in one sitting. Be prepared for some interesting twists along the way. But no, we’re not spoiling any of those. So, don’t bother asking.
This too-short gem isn’t just great because of the mystery, though. As Wednesday forges ahead with trying to get to the bottom of things, what unfolds underneath is even more valuable. In the first place, our main character does the work with a determination and spirit that (we hope) will inspire a generation of young girls. Even with some missteps, and with adults who keep telling her to give up, she stands firm. It’s impossible to stress how much that makes even the most “altogether ooky” of us a great role model.
Also of note, the character is an outcast among outcasts.
Even at a place like Nevermore Academy, there’s are cliques. One doesn’t get a label and then suddenly become “popular,” so to speak, with everyone else of the same label. That’s something TV and movies have, more often than not, misinterpreted. Not so with Wednesday. That doesn’t mean she’s totally alone — it’s not depressing hours by any stretch of the imagination — but her situation, for all its weirdness, is also…oddly realistic.
And, importantly, she doesn’t want to “fit.” She just wants to be herself and see where that takes her.
So while the mystery is maybe the show’s driving force, it’s that story of a young girl trying to find her way that resonates most strongly. And trying to figure out who you can trust, who has your back and really actually cares about you, is hard. It doesn’t matter how determined, capable, or confident you are — you can still make mistakes and miss out on what’s right there in front of you.
And no matter how independent you are, it’s ok to reach out. Sometimes, we just need a little help from our friends.
To try to fit this series into a “coming of age” box would almost do it a disservice. If nothing else, we’d be over-simplifying the point. But, in just eight short episodes, we do see our girl come into her own. She grows, even as she’s still undeniably and unapologetically herself.
While this series and its titular character are fully Ortega’s, I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to my younger, Addams Family Values obsessed, self if I didn’t give Christina Ricci a shoutout here. She’s truly fantastic, as always. It should probably also come as no surprise that seeing the actor who played the Wednesday Addams I once idolized sharing screen time with Ortega, who has now made the character entirely her own, is simply the coolest.
Basically, what I’m saying here is this one’s a hit. Here’s hoping there’s much, much more to come.
Wednesday will premiere globally on November 23, 2022. Only on Netflix.