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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘Wednesday’

Arts+criticism%26%23160%3Bwriter+Emma+Ehl+says%26%23160%3BTim+Burton+puts+his+own+twist+on+a+timeless+classic+with+new+Netflix+series+Wednesday.%26%23160%3B
Via IMDb

Arts criticism writer Emma Ehl says Tim Burton puts his own twist on a timeless classic with new Netflix series ‘Wednesday’. 

Rating: 7.5/10

In a new adaptation of a story that has been reworked and rewritten countless times over the years, Tim Burton’s “Wednesday” (2022) adds a refreshing sense of modern macabre to the tale of Addams Family; or more specifically, its woeful eldest daughter.

Released on Friday Nov. 23, the Netflix original series starring Jenna Ortega, follows Wednesday Addams as she begins at Nevermore Academy and attempts to navigate monsters, murder, witchcraft and, of course, teen romance. With Ortega as Burton’s incredibly popular Wednesday elect, the series has already widely dominated the pop-culture landscape, generating multiple TikTok trends and even surpassing season 4 of “Stranger Things” (2022) as the most watched English-language series in a week. 

Generally speaking, “Wednesday” is entertaining, cohesive and true to the original characters. Setting the series in a slightly more gothic-feeling Hogwarts, Burton creates a world that, despite being done before, is part of the successful formula of fantasy and fiction where teens are categorized by some aspect of their identity. Furthermore, Jericho, the town in which the school is located, is fascinating in its own way, producing a bizarre sense of discomfort with its deeply rooted hatred and politics masked by phony colonial charm.

Casting choices, which were done well on Burton’s part, include impressive performances from Gwendoline Christie, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Christina Ricci — Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 Wednesday Addams. 

The strongest part of the series however is undeniably Ortega’s performance as Wednesday. Bringing Burton’s modern Wednesday to life, Ortega effectively portrays the teen in a manner that is both unique, and true to her classic foreboding tone and overall morbidity. While the normalities of trite teen drama that the show’s plot produces do not seem like they’d mesh well with the character of Wednesday, Ortega’s take on the bitterly downcast teen allows the series its coming of age charm while still staying to Wednesday’s character. 

Overall, despite a few minor complaints regarding dialogue — specifically the inclusion of force fed Gen Z topics with Enid Sinclair’s character and some lines that lack Wednesday’s classic bite — the series was a very enjoyable watch with a well-written and absorbing plot. 

With the show already rumored to be renewed for a second season, it will be interesting to see not only how Wednesday’s character is developed further in future episodes, but also if Burton chooses to dive deeper into the characters of Morticia, Gomez and Pugsley, who’s roles were rather small in this adaptation. 

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