Worn by Jenna Ortega, the new gothic series isn’t so much about rekindling the Addams’ spirit, but rather pulling them out of the formalin.
She makes a perfect Wednesday. Succeeding Christina Ricci against Christina Ricci was no easy feat. And yet, the young Jenna Ortega brilliantly succeeds in bringing Gomez and Morticia’s eldest daughter back to life, thirty years after Barry Sonnenfeld’s last film. Leaving aside the little girl who deceives her boredom in the family mansion by cheating death, the new Netflix series presents us with an older Wednesday, in full adolescence, who cannot manage to integrate into an ordinary high school. So his parents decide to enroll him in the Nevermore institute, the one in which they met. A strange boarding school populated by creatures: werewolves, mermaids and vampires have been educated there for decades, to the chagrin of the inhabitants of the small neighboring town…
More teen than dark, more drama than horror, Wednesday does not really intend to follow in the footsteps of The Addams Family that everyone knows. somewhere between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The School of Good and Evil, it is instead betting on a new generation adolescent target, who knows little or nothing about the characters created by Charles Addams in the last century. Fact, Wednesday does not really seek to reconnect with the family spirit. Admittedly, there is La Chose who sticks his fingers everywhere and Oncle Fétide who makes a surreal appearance. But for the rest, the series largely forsakes the crappy macabre side to install a little hushed Gothic atmosphere. We also feel that the authors have struggled to keep a certain coherence by “normalizing” the morbid original character, sadistic to the core, to make a sweet little witch from episode to episode.
Yes, we are far from The Addams Family and its bizarre-elusive atmosphere, which Barry Sonnenfeld had perfectly captured. Even Tim Burton, behind the camera a good part of the time, seems to have smoothed out his particular style. Yet in his element, he who loves to film the strange and the different, can not print his gothic and bleeding paw on this pasteurized teen drama.
So you don’t have to go into Wednesday hoping it will make your nostalgic fiber vibrate. Because The Addams Family is rather brought up to date, updated to correspond to the codes YA modern. But you can count on Jenna Ortega to give pep to this revisited version. The 20-year-old actress, already stunning in X of Ti West, takes out of formalin the old characters dressed in black and shows that she is indeed the “Scream Queen” of the moment. The new star of Scream, who had already taken up the torch from Neve Campbell with conviction at the start of the year in the cinema, bursts the small screen by reinvigorating the old job of Christian Ricci. Mischievous and impenetrable, she manages to convey all sorts of emotions without the slightest smile and keeping a totally impassive face from the first to the last minute. The funny performance whose Wednesday needed to resuscitate.
Wednesday, season 1 in 8 episodes, to be seen on Netflix on November 23, 2022.