San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Review: Netflix charms fans and breaks viewership records with ‘Wednesday’ debut

Tim Burton’s 2022 Netflix reboot provides a fresh take on the beloved character
Courtesy of Netflix
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams.

After months of promotion, the long awaited Netflix original series “Wednesday” debuted on Netflix, creating a new record for most hours viewed of any English-language Netflix show in its first week. According to Indie Wire, with over 341.2 million hours watched in its first week of release, the show gained instant success, surpassing Netflix’s previous record holder Stranger Things.

The series follows Wednesday Addams, the beloved eldest daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams. This eight episode comedy is the newest addition to the dark world of the Addams Family, the quirky antithesis to the American nuclear family first debuted in a 1938 comic strip.

With The Addams Family being such a long-standing franchise, showrunner Tim Burton had a challenge ahead of him, satisfying generations of fans of the Addams Family franchise and entertaining a new generation that may be unfamiliar with the Addams, as well as maintaining his trademark macabre yet visually stunning style. 

The show stars Jenna Ortega, most known for her lead role on the Disney Channel series “Stuck in the Middle” and her burgeoning label as a scream queen, receiving critical acclaim for her minor but memorable roles in slasher films “X” and “Scream” (2022). 

The announcement of her casting was a pleasant surprise, with Tim Burton often being criticized for the lack of diversity in his cast. Ortega holds her own as the first Latina actress to play the character of Wednesday, gaining critical acclaim for her enthusiasm and dedication to the role. 

The show also stars Catherine Zeta- Jones as Morticia and Luis Guzman as Gomez, as well as a surprising cameo from Christina Ricci (who played perhaps the most famous iteration of Wednesday in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values) as a schoolteacher.

Part dark comedy and part mystery, Tim Burton’s original series presents a new version of Wednesday in the modern age. It follows Wednesday as she starts at a new school called Nevermore, a boarding school for outcasts with a mysterious past. 

Named after a work by its most famous alumni Edgar Allen Poe, the school houses vampires, werewolves, sirens and a general array of those who haven’t fit in with the rest of mainstream society.

After Wednesday’s  parents enroll her with hopes of her finally finding likeminds to form community with, she arrives determined to escape by any means necessary. Instead she finds herself tied up in a complex mystery involving a series of murders, a secret society, love triangles and a flesh eating monster.

The highlight of this series is the excellent casting and a career-defining role by the lead actress. Jenna Ortega does a brilliant job embodying the sassy, nihilistic character of Wednesday Addams, perfectly capturing her unimpressed gaze and snappy wit. She truly makes the character her own, establishing a new era of the cynical gothic troublemaker audiences have come to love.

She expertly recreates the characteristics Christina Ricci made famous, while also bringing a fresh and memorable take to the classic character. As the main character and narrator, she brings a sharp, pessimistic voice to the already interesting story that makes it hard to tune away from that combined with the astounding set design and costuming creates a fully immersive experience. It makes you feel like you’re really entering the twisted world of Nevermore and the dark mind of Wednesday Addams.

The show isn’t perfect, with occasionally corny dialogue and less than believable performances from some minor characters. However, it remains a fun and entertaining story throughout, with Ortega’s performance as Wednesday being a consistent marvel throughout the series. Fans of the show have praised her across social media platforms, with her iconic school dance scene to “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps gaining notoriety on Tik Tok..

Overall, the series accomplishes its goal of being a funny, stylized adaptation of the classic character. The story is compelling and easy to get invested in. As secretes unfold, we learn almost every character is far more complex than we first thought. The hour-long episodes go by fast and often end on cliffhangers, making it an ideal binge-watch for the fall. 

About the Contributor
Naiima Paul, '24-25 Arts & Culture Editor
Naiima Paul is a fourth year JMS major with an emphasis in Media Studies and a minor in TFM with an emphasis in film. She began contributing to the publication in 2022 and officially joined the Arts & Culture Section of the Daily Aztec in 2023. She started by reviewing TV shows but branched out to cover events, especially related to cultural events. Outside of the Daily Aztec she’s also hosted a radio show called “Underqualified Overthinking” on KCR College Radio for almost 3 years. She’s a huge fan of movies and music of all genres, and always interested in discussing new entertainment news.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Review: Netflix charms fans and breaks viewership records with ‘Wednesday’ debut