This article will be split into two parts: an overview without spoilers for those who want to learn about the show and a more in-depth review of the show for those who have seen it.
Wednesday is a Netflix original series released on November 23, 2022. The show follows Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega, as she attends Nevermore Academy.
Wednesday says goodbye to Morticia, Gomez, and Pugsley to begin life at boarding school. Soon after arriving, she witnesses a monster attack and begins an all-out investigation. Her detective work takes up all of her time, except for her work on her novel and in beekeeping club. She makes friends and enemies along the way, even sparking a romance.
Going into this show, I did not know what to expect. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Jenna Ortega plays Wednesday very well, and the story is so alluring that I literally could not keep my eyes off of the screen. I wound up watching the first five episodes in just one sitting.
If you are not familiar with the Addams family, that’s ok. This is not a typical Addams family story. The audience only follows Wednesday with the occasional visit from her parents. This story focuses on the mystery and Wednesday’s efforts to unravel it.
The show is rated for ages 14 and older, which I find to be a fair and honest rating. There are eight episodes ranging from 30-60 minutes in length. It’s free to watch with a Netflix subscription.
If you’re a fan of mysteries, you won’t be disappointed. Or just watch it for the bee facts. Rating: 7/10
If you have seen even the first episode of Wednesday, you know that Nevermore is made up of Gorgons, Werewolves, Vampires, and Sirens. Personally, this felt strange to me. I had always known the Addams family to exist in a human world and be humans themselves with an interest in death, witchcraft, and the strange.
Ultimately, the fact that the students at the school are various humanoid creatures did not contribute much if anything to the plot. I think there could have been a work-around in which the Hyde was the only monstrous creature. But I suppose that would result in a school full of murderous children instead.
As I watched the first few episodes, something stuck out to me. There are only three Black characters. Two of them become enemies of Wednesday, and one only shows up for one scene. It’s nice to see that the popular girl stereotype didn’t go to a blonde White girl, but this was something of concern. As the season goes on, we see that Bianca begins to side with Wednesday, even delivering a blow to Crackstone while Wednesday is down.
While we’re on the topic of Bianca… why is her mom there? The dialogues she has with her mom about MorningSong are completely irrelevant and feel like a half-baked attempt at backstory. We could have saved 30 minutes (an entire episode!) if it was cut out.
Uncle Fester. It was lovely for him to make an appearance! But… His demeanor doesn’t match the tone of the show.
Fester gives Wednesday one of the most valuable pieces of information: the type of monster she is hunting. But how does he know? He didn’t even attend Nevermore, let alone being a Nightshade. Wednesday could have just as easily gotten that information from a classmate, one of her parents, or discovered the diary herself.
Let’s leave Uncle Fester at home next time.
My BIGGEST problem with this show is the ending. Wednesday spends all of her time and energy investigating this monster, even sacrificing any chances she had at friendship, and what does she get? Nothing. She doesn’t correctly identify the monster NOR the master, effectively putting her score at 0 out of 2.
I wish the writers would have given her just one correct. Just give her one moment where she stops herself and realizes she’s not on the right track. It would have made her efforts feel more worth-while and made the twists at the end more deliberate.
There’s a clear pacing problem with this show. Wednesday slowly investigates the monster and Crackstone, thinks she has correctly identified the Hyde and the master, then suddenly realizes that she was wrong, nearly dies, and the prophesied battle begins. If I drew a graph of the major events of the series, the graph would spike at the far right.
The same thing happened in season 4 of Stranger Things. It feels like you get whiplash when you get to the final episode because none of the plot-building that happens beforehand actually pays off. You have to re-learn character identities and relationships in the midst of fire and resurrection.
This show is far from perfect, even falling into some of the classic high school clichés. The story is gripping, however, and Wednesday’s character is intriguing. Just look at how she rocks that cello! It’s fun to watch, but it’s not a must-see.
I’m looking forward to the next season to see how the story continues. Netflix has confirmed that season 2 is on the way. I’ll be watching, and I hope you will be too!