Why the Series “Wednesday” Was an Instant Hit and the Viewers Are Waiting for the New Season With Bated Breath
Released in November 2022, Wednesday has become a real record-breaker on Netflix. In its first week alone, it racked up 341.2 million hours of viewing, surpassing even the ultra-popular Stranger Things. We dared to take a risk at speculating as to why the viewers are literally glued to their screens following the adventures of the gloomy girl and other teens from Nevermore Academy. A word of warning: this article contains spoilers.
Why Tim Burton agreed to making a TV series about a school
The directing of the series was entrusted to Tim Burton, the acclaimed creator of gothic and horror films. Four episodes were directed by Burton alone, and four more were directed by Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall.
At first, the showrunners didn’t even expect Burton to agree to direct a TV series about a girl from the Addams family. But the director responded as soon as he read the script. He said: “It just spoke to me about how I felt in school and how you feel about your parents, how you feel as a person. It gave the Addams Family a different kind of reality. It was an interesting combination.”
Filming started in September 2021 in Romania. And despite the creators’ busy schedule, in many viewers’ opinion, they succeeded in creating a story that’s no worse than the Harry Potter saga.
How the roles of the older Addamses were cast
The roles of Wednesday’s parents were given to Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones and Puerto Rican actor Luis Guzmán. And while there was little question about the aristocratic and graceful Morticia, some viewers decided that they didn’t particularly like the short, burly Gomez.
Except that in both, the original Charles Addams comics, and the 1973 animated series based on them, Gomez is by a head shorter than his wife. It turns out that the creators of the series were attentive to the original source and, for the role of Wednesday’s father, chose the most suitable actor.
After watching the series, viewers were divided. Many were impressed by Guzmán’s performance and his character’s willingness to sacrifice himself for his loved ones.
But it was the choice of the actor for the role of Fester Addams that caused the most hype. At one time, there was a rumor circulating on Twitter that he could be played by Johnny Depp. This information was never confirmed, and it soon became clear that the role of the wacky uncle was given to comedian Fred Armisen.
Many fans of The Addams Family might have been curious to see what Grandmama, or other characters from the famous comic book series, might have looked like, but the adult characters aren’t given much attention in Wednesday.
Wednesday’s parents appear in two episodes, and Uncle Fester only in one. The entire plot of the series revolves around the teenagers and their complicated relationships.
Why Jenna Ortega managed to show us a very different Wednesday
The focus is on the Addams’ daughter, Wednesday, with her unchanging black plaits and a complete lack of a smile on her face. Incidentally, the very first episode explains the origin of her name.
In a conversation with the school principal, Morticia says it’s taken from her favorite poem, one line of which reads “Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe.” That’s the title of the first episode of the project, and later, the title of each episode has the word “woe” in it.
The Wednesday in the series smoothly transitioned into adolescence. The girl started getting annoyed by Gomez and Morticia’s public displays of affection and decided that she would not be like her family members. She even tries to be as different as possible from other academy students by wearing a uniform with different color stripes.
Wednesday also appears to be a writer, who has already written more than one book and is now working on another detective novel while investigating mysterious events that take place at Nevermore Academy.
In addition, we find out that Wednesday plays the cello, does archery, fences, and even has dance moves. The dance, the video of which has over 17 million views on the official Netflix YouTube channel, was choreographed by Jenna Ortega herself, inspired by Siouxsie Sioux and Bob Fosse.
What’s more, it turns out that Wednesday is not at all devoid of ordinary human feelings. As we find out, her gloomy appearance and complete lack of emotion on her face are due to psychological trauma.
Viewers learn that when the girl was six, she was confronted by bullies on the street. They were the reason for her pet scorpion Nero’s death. Wednesday was devastated by this loss but soon realized that tears couldn’t fix anything and vowed to never cry again.
How the students at Nevermore Academy are similar to ordinary schoolchildren
After another scandal at a mainstream school, Wednesday enrolls at the Nevermore Academy, a place for society’s outcasts. “Wednesday, to me, is the classic outsider,” Tim Burton noted in an interview. “And part of the fun of the show was to create a school for outsiders at Nevermore.”
Werewolves, sirens, gorgons, and other students of the academy face standard teenage problems: they fight for leadership, fall in love, prepare for competitions, and take part in clubs.
The theme of relationships between parents and their children is also brought up in the series. For example, Enid, Wednesday’s roommate, suffers from the excessive pressure her mother puts on her. She is constantly being compared to her “more successful brothers,” who have long since learned to shapeshift. Incidentally, this character was loved by viewers so much that they’ve even started asking for her to have more screen time.
How the audiences reacted to the main character’s fans
Throughout the series, two characters compete for the protagonist’s attention — Xavier, a student at the academy, and Tyler, the local sheriff’s son. The audience still can’t decide which one of them would be a better match for Wednesday. Viewers shared their opinions in communities dedicated to discussing the series.
What surprises awaited The Addams Family fans
Tim Burton put forward his own version of the origin of the famous double-click from The Addams Family theme song — it turned out to be the password for entering a secret student club.
The series, like all Charles Addams comic book adaptations, was not without a dance. Those who watched the black-and-white sitcom know that young Wednesday could dance quite well, and fans of the films directed by Barry Sonnenfeld will remember the passionate tango of Gomez and Morticia. Even the 2019 cartoon delighted audiences with Pugsley’s mazurka dance.
Viewers, who felt the absence of the other characters from the original story, can check out the specially created Nevermore Academy website and find it featuring Cousin Itt.
And perhaps one of the biggest surprises for the fans was the appearance of Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday in the Barry Sonnenfeld films. Jenna Ortega even admitted that she tried not to discuss her character with Ricci in order to create a unique persona rather than copy someone else’s acting.
Director Tim Burton with Jenna Ortega and Christina Ricci
One of Burton and Ortega’s joint discoveries was Wednesday’s stare. In an interview with the press, Jenna revealed that she didn’t blink during one of the takes, which pleased the director so much that he asked the young actress to do so throughout the series.
A bonus: some photos from the set
Have you watched the series? Which of the characters did you feel most strongly about?