Wednesday, December 28, 2022

TV series review: Wednesday

is a dark comedy series based on the character of Wednesday Addams created by Charles Addams. Wednesday Addams is expelled from her school because she put piranhas in the school pool to punish the boys who had bullied her younger brother Pugsley. (A very fitting punishment and relax, no one died.) Her parents, Morticia and Gomez, seize this opportunity to send Wednesday to their old alma mater, Nevermore Academy, a school for ‘outcasts' (those not like normal humans, known as ‘normies’). Wednesday is determined to escape at the first opportunity she gets. Alas, the headmistress, who went to the same school (class of Morticia), is always a step ahead. However, the start of a string of gory and suspicious deaths makes Wednesday press the pause button on her escape plans. In solving the mystery, catching the killer, and surviving almost certain death, she learns a lot about who she is and what friends are for, and possibly what love means although her parents’ overt PDAs make her cringe.

If you are a fan of the original Addams Family movie starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, and Christina Ricci, you might not be keen to dive into this series. However, give it a go. I can’t say that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman are better than the original pair, but they did a fairly good job. Headmistress Larissa Weems is played by Gwendoline Christie who is an imposing figure at 6’3”! I have never seen her before, but I enjoyed her rendition. Christina Ricci makes an appearance as the somewhat shy/introverted normie botany teacher, Marilyn Thornhill. However, appearances can be deceiving so keep an eye on her. The town is steeped in a dark and gruesome history regarding witchcraft, the supernatural, and the fervent and foreboding historical figure of Joseph Crackstone. I think William Houston had an absolute ball playing this dementedly fire and brimstone preacher, both alive and dead!

The setting for the school is a real castle, Cantacuzino Castle in Romania, and what an incredible place it is. It looks like Hogwarts on steroids and ends up being like a character all of its own. Given the strange and supernatural setting, with characters ranging from sirens to vampires to geeky kids who can talk to bees, the photography has to be just right and it is. Eerie, haunting, scary, chilling, the photography and the colour palette work brilliantly.

The story isn’t that complex but with such a large cast and the school setting, there is a lot of action, twists and turns, with plenty of red herrings. It mostly revolves around Wednesday, brilliantly played by Jenna Ortega. She is a loner, hostile to the world and her adoring parents who take every slight from her in their stride. She does not want to be friends with anyone, even when almost suffocated by the fluffy pink candyfloss (with rainbow unicorns as a side dish) character of yet-to-become werewolf Enid Sinclair, also brilliantly played by the OTT Emma Myers. (One can only play Enid OTT) Enid is hilarious and undaunted in her efforts to become Wednesday’s ‘bestie’ despite her numerous cold and cutting rebuffs. Enid is a total scene stealer, especially when she and Thing (a disembodied hand) get together to do girly stuff.

The whole series is fantastic with never a dull moment, and although the ‘inclusive’ message was hammered a bit too much (normies vs outcasts), the action, the drama, the killings (gasp! double gasp!), and the special effects will keep you glued to your seat and shovelling that popcorn down in handfuls. The series ends with a good wrap-up but of course a great cliff-hanger in the last few moments. So you have to come back to find out what happens to the … oops, I mustn’t say. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait for Season Two. Don't miss Wednesday!


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