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The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

Review of Tim Burton’s “Wednesday”

Gianna Galesi
Trailer of Tim Burton’s series, Wednesday, now streaming on Netflix

Tim Burton’s “Wednesday,” a modern interpretation of “The Addams Family,” was released on November 23 and instantly caught the attention of audiences worldwide. In fact, the series beat “Stranger Things 4”’s record for most hours watched in a week, with 341.23 million hours viewed. The show also currently holds the top spot on Netflix’s Top 10 TV Shows. And for good reason.

“Wednesday” keeps in tune with the original aspects of the 30s cartoon featured in The New Yorker, the 60s show, and the 90s film series; With Morticia and Gomez not being able to keep their hands off each other, Wednesday being both a sweet and sad girl from the 60s show, with elements of the psychotic teen she was in the 90s film. Burton also maintains Wednesday’s both protective and abusive relationship with her brother, Pugsley. However, the show also adds fresh aspects: modern technology, modern-day slang, and new characters, such as werewolves, sirens, vampires, shapeshifters, and more.

From the moment “Wednesday” begins, it draws viewers in. Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega, dumps two bags of piranhas into the pool when the polo team is practicing, of which several members bullied her brother, Pugsley. After being expelled from the high school for attempted murder, Wednesday’s parents send her to Nevermore Academy, a school for outcasts. There, she reports that she’s “been hunted, haunted… and the target of an attempted murder” (Episode 5). But, while attempting to solve the mysteries that surround her parents and the school, Wednesday also tries to master her psychic abilities.

The series alludes to several literary and theatrical works, among them Homer’s The Odyssey, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Stephen King’s Carrie, Nightmare on Elm Street, both Edgar Allen Poe and his poems “The Raven,” and an abundance of references to the original show and the film series. For fans of any of the mentioned, it’s exciting to see them brought to life in a modern adaptation.

As a modern interpretation, writers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough incorporate technology and slang that teens use on a daily basis. Most students and teachers at Nevermore Academy have iPhones and MacBooks, with the exception of Wednesday, who “[refuses] to be a slave to technology” (Episode 1). Several students make references to social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Enid, for example, comments on Wednesday’s detective methods by saying, “When I suggested giving your side of the room a makeover, I did not have Ted Bundy’s Pinterest in mind” (Episode 4). This is one of the many tributes to current-day teens’ use of social media, as well as their obsession with serial killers. There are even uses of modern-day slang, such as Enid’s use of the term “AF” on multiple occasions. At times, it was cheesy and cringe-worthy, but it did add to the series, showing that outcasts and normies alike use slang, technology, and social media. It was also an appropriate part of recreating “The Addams Family” cartoon 90 years after its initial release.

Apart from a few cringe-worthy moments, both from the modern-day references and a few other character interactions, the series was greatly enjoyable. The plot was well-developed, with sub- and side-plots that would later connect to the main one. Characters were appropriately cast, the actors seeming dedicated to their characters, whether original to the earlier versions or newly made, and all characters were well played. Even Thing, the hand, who carried the series, was well played. The show kept viewers on the edge of their seats, with Wednesday’s—and audience’s—suspicions of who the murderer may be jumping from character to character.

The one major point of criticism that must be mentioned is that the CGI for the hyde(the monster) looked like something out of the video game Plants vs. Zombies, with its overly wide, bulging eyes. The drawings of the hyde looked more realistic than the actual hyde. Meanwhile, the CGI for all other visual effects, such as the siren and the werewolf, were somewhat believable, at least more so than that of the hyde. With the advancement of today’s technology and the ability to which movies are able to generate characters out of thin air, the CGI for the series could have been significantly better.

Still, the show stayed in touch with, as Kylie Northover, a top critic from The Age (Australia) put it, “Burton’s trademark dark aesthetic and the original Addams Family humour.” Perhaps the monster’s questionable look was Burton’s way of incorporating humor and horror together.

Excluding “Wednesday”’s needed improvement in the special effects department, the show certainly deserves that top place in Netflix’s Top 10 TV Shows, and certainly deserves those record-breaking viewing hours. The show’s arguably better than “Stranger Things 4.” Viewers can only hope that “Wednesday” gets renewed for a second season. Given the show’s recent success, it’s possible that it will.

“Wednesday” was binge-worthy and completely worth the watch. If you haven’t watched it yet, stop what you’re doing and start it now. You won’t regret it.

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