Does Tim Burton’s “Wednesday” hold its own in the Addams Family legacy?


Lia Portillo Cantarero

Audiences can expect more spine-chilling adventures with Wednesday and her friends at Nevermore Academy.

If you’re someone who looks on the spookier side of life, chances are that you’re probably extremely familiar with “The Addams Family.” Charles Addams’s family of macabre misfits have thrilled and chilled viewers since they first appeared in the New Yorker in 1938.

From a Broadway musical to a series of wildly popular films in the 1990s, “The Addams Family” have certainly made their mark on American popular culture.

For example, “Addams Family Values” has been a staple of Halloween television programming since its release, and the Educational Theatre Association has consistently ranked “The Addams Family” among the most-produced high school musicals in the country.

Therefore, it came as no surprise that Tim Burton, who is best known for such staples of Halloween viewing as “Beetlejuice” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” chose to bring America’s most macabre family back to the small screen.

With a winning combination like Tim Burton and “The Addams Family,” Netflix was more than happy to give “Wednesday” the green light to be produced as a limited series on their platform.

However, the news was met with criticism due to previous comments that Burton allegedly made. It was alleged that Burton stated that Black actors did not fit into his aesthetic when questioned about the relative lack of diversity in his 2016 film “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”

In order to make the series accurate to the comics and in response to the criticism leveled at him, Burton cast actors Luis Guzman and Jenna Ortega as Gomez and Wednesday, respectively.

In the comics, it is shown that Gomez is of Spanish heritage. Therefore, Guzman’s casting helps the series to honor Addams’s original source material.

Ortega’s portrayal of Wednesday, the quintessential angsty teenager and Princess of Darkness, is the highlight of the series. The wry delivery of her lines and her permanently sad expression added an extra layer of believability to the role.

Although Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones have a tough act to follow when it comes to portraying Gomez and Morticia, they approach the task with great grace and aplomb.

Another standout performance lies in the character of Enid, who is one of the newest additions to the Addams Cinematic Universe, so to speak.

Emma Myers plays the ever-cheerful werewolf, Enid. Myers’s performance as Enid provides an excellent comedic foil to Wednesday and allows Wednesday to bring her armor down for a bit.

For all of the series’ strengths, “Wednesday” was not without controversy. As the series was released, some viewers began to notice how the Black actors were cast.

According to an article in Unilad, the Black actors were consistently pigeonholed into villainous roles. An example the article points out is the casting of Joy Sunday as Bianca, a siren and the Regina George of Nevermore Academy.

However, on the opposing side of that debate, social media users were quick to point out that Bianca was considered the most popular girl in the school, and therefore it was a step towards positive representation.

The series also went viral on TikTok. Users channeled their inner Wednesday with videos to “Bloody Mary” by Lady Gaga and “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps, to name a couple of songs from the soundtrack.

In light of all the critical and commercial attention “Wednesday” has received, Netflix has made the decision to renew the series for a second season. Audiences can expect more spine-chilling adventures with Wednesday and her friends at Nevermore Academy, but no premiere date has been set at this time.