“Wednesday”: A Murderous Masterpiece
To woe, or not to woe? That is the question.
April 14, 2023
“Wednesday,” one of Netflix’s more recent endeavors, was released on Nov. 22 and has taken the world by storm featuring the well-known characters from the Addams Family. It follows the daughter of Gomez and Morticia, Wednesday Adams, as she traverses throughout life and develops emotionally while solving murder cases, fostering a rivalry, and a bit of romance.
The story of the show “Wednesday” is one that is constantly keeping you on your toes until the very last minute, never letting the suspense let up. It begins with Wednesday getting expelled from her high school for excessive violence (dumping piranhas in with the swimming team for bullying her brother), something that she is very familiar with, though this time her parents have elected to send her to Nevermore Academy, the school for outcasts. As she navigates, or rather, bulldozes, through her interpersonal relationships, evil is lurking afoot just beneath the school with a mysterious monster killing those who wander a bit too far into the forest, the suspicious town origins, frequent cryptic visions, and finding out who she can really trust amongst her peers.
Although the audience may become stressed as the young heroine continues to investigate her mystery, you’re never actually worried for her but instead worried for her friends. In the beginning, all the people that she meets at Nevermore Academy appear just as she sees them, pawns in a larger chess game, but as the story progresses, just as you become attached to her friends and start seeing them as people that can be affected, so does she. It’s a great use of storytelling to fully immerse the audience in Wednesday’s head.
Wednesday, the star of the show, and the daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams respectively, is extremely charming in all of her apathetic glory. Portrayed excellently by the 20-year-old actress Jenna Ortega, her strong and recognizable features make for an absolutely iconic and distinct form of Miss Wednesday Addams herself. The often soulless and empty expressions she has while observing other people are both eerie and fascinating. Other important characters include Enid, Xavier, Morticia, Gomez, Bianca, Principal Weems, Tyler, and Thing, whose personalities all show through every expression, piece of the action, and interaction.
The special effects used on “Wednesday” are used to create a fantasy-like setting and heavily contribute to the show’s immersive worldbuilding. One of the most notable examples of this is Wednesday’s trusty sidekick, also known as her family’s disembodied hand, Thing. On the other side of the spectrum, the special effects on the slaughtering monster on the loose are successfully grotesque, however, it’s not necessarily terrifying, just kind of ugly to look at. Personally, they could have leaned more into a chilling look instead of the somewhat greasy creature it ended up as. Overall, the editing and cinematography work in tandem to keep the audience engaged and bewitched by both the breathtaking and chilling scenes, always keeping you pressing the “Next Episode” button.
Although I have much praise for this show, one of the biggest detractors for me while watching was the extremely shoe-horned romance overlay that they added. Between the male leads and Wednesday, I felt chemistry for none of them with her despite the multitude of interactions. It felt awkward and I believe the story could have functioned perfectly without it, instead focusing on platonic relationships and Wednesday’s struggles in trusting people. If they were to keep the romance factor in, they probably could have added more of an indication that the feelings conveyed by the love interests were mutual, due to the nature of Wednesday’s character.
How did Wednesday do in statistics though? Well, to say it was successful would be a monumental understatement. At just one week in, it gained 341 million hours of watch time to be on par with the previous record of “Stranger Things” season four, confirmed by the official Netflix Twitter account. After one month, “Wednesday” had racked up 1.2 billion hours, cementing its place in streaming history to sit just behind Netflix’s other two greatest hits: “Stranger Things” season four, at 1.35 billion hours, and “Squid Game” at 1.65 billion hours. It took the medal for Netflix’s second most-watched English Show from “Dahmer” which sat at 856.2 million hours by the end of the four-week period. Overall, “Wednesday” has shattered all expectations with its sheer popularity and numbers.
In conclusion, “Wednesday” is a highly recommended show to watch on Netflix all the way from its charming characters to the fun and engaging story it portrays. Some sections could have done with improvement, but as a whole, it is an exceptionally well made-show.