By Owen Glancy
Netflix’s hit show “Wednesday” also happens to be legendary director Tim Burton’s latest project. The show’s style immediately stands out from its contemporaries. The gothic architecture contrasting with the town’s mundane look is visually appealing and easily one of the best parts of the show.
The titular Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega, starts the show as a rather uninteresting character. Ortega’s performance and the character’s development get far better as the show continues, with the latter half being carried by her performance.
The show is a mixed bag outside of the aesthetics and the main character.
Wednesday’s roommate Enid is a charming and entertaining character from start to finish. She plays the role of Wednesday’s foil well, and their personalities really prove that opposites do attract.
Tyler starts the show as a relatable straight man to all the chaos surrounding the main plot, but as the show continues, his character becomes less and less interesting. I won’t give away any spoilers but his relationship with Wednesday ends in such a bland and obvious way that it derails any attachment the audience could have had with him.
Seeing as this is an “Addams Family” show, it would make sense that the other family members would show up. Morticia and Fester are highlights, with them both being incredibly entertaining and fun.
Gomez and Pugsley aren’t given much to do in the ways of character development, but they’re still fun to have around, and occasionally have good moments with Wednesday.
Ultimately what makes up the show’s strengths are how much of it is directly focusing on Wednesday. Thankfully, the plot is very interested in keeping Wednesday in the spotlight.
This obsession does come back to bite the writers however, as Wednesday will often stumble upon clues or major events by pure coincidence or thanks to her conveniently uncontrollable psychic powers.
Wednesday’s development initially is also very poor. Her constant complaining and haughty attitude are annoying, and it was clear they didn’t know how to make her likable yet.
The show’s best portions are when Wednesday is doing something weird in service of solving the central mystery. One early example of this is when she breaks into the local morgue. Her incredible skill at performing an autopsy is hilariously morbid, and her skilled deduction of what the body’s injuries could imply make sense to the audience.
Her quick movements and split-second decision-making matched with the sheriff arriving at the morgue whilst Wednesday is there breaking in adds a layer of suspense to the scene. While this is basic, it helps give the scenario a bit of legitimacy. When she hides in one of the body-storing drawers and gets too comfy to leave is also a nice comedic touch to end a suspense-filled scene.
The central mystery of the show revolves around a prophecy and a monster on the loose. Any half-awake audience member will be able to guess the ending by the halfway mark, and this really kills any potential investment in the story.
The monster is well designed on paper, but in practice looks extremely goofy. One character constantly draws the monster, and his drawings look great. The horrifying features of the beast really come out in the black and white highly detailed sketches. Unfortunately, the show’s shoddy special effects mean the entirely CGI monster often looks ridiculous and fake.
Many of the show’s effects are very bad. While part of this could be due to the TV budget, there is a glaring example of great special effects that proves that the team can make a convincing creature if they really try.
Wednesday’s pet, a severed hand named Thing looks fantastic. The mix of practical and digital effects give the hand a ton of personality and memorable scenes. Thing is often at the center of many of the most emotional scenes in the show, with one in episode seven being particularly strong.
The show has many strengths, however nearly all of them are locked behind the halfway point, which is also when all the negatives really start to get noticeable. Wednesday and Thing are a great central duo, but the inconsistent writing, poor special effects, and bland side characters make “Wednesday” a chore to get through.
C-: An incredibly unbalanced show