Netflix’s new series “Wednesday” brings a new twist to the classic Addams Family character. Wednesday, portrayed by Jenna Ortega, uncovers a monstrous mystery at her new school, Nevermore.
The show has the characters of “Clue,” the vintage aesthetic of “Riverdale” and the anonymous messages and plot twists of “Pretty Little Liars.” When an unidentified monster begins to attack residents and students, Wednesday is forced to solve a centuries-old case involving her ancestors and their enemies.
“Wednesday,” which came out on Nov. 23, surpassed the record for most viewed Netflix show in a single week. The TV show beat the fourth season of “Stranger Things” with 341.2 million hours viewed. It’s estimated that over 50 million households have seen “Wednesday.”
Jenna Ortega might be a new Hollywood “it girl.” She has certainly come a long way since her roles in “Jane the Virgin” and Disney’s “Stuck in the Middle.” Now, at 20 years old, she’s able to take on more mature, involved roles. Earlier this year in March, she played the role of Lorraine in Ti West’s slasher film “X,” giving viewers perhaps the most iconic horror scream of the year. Ortega plays a witty and quick-thinking Wednesday full of one liners in the new adaptation. She worked with legendary filmmaker Tim Burton, who produced “Wednesday,” to get her iconic deadpan expression that she maintains throughout the series. Burton wanted Ortega to look through her eyebrows to create the “Kubrick stare” and, taking it a step further, she almost never blinks during filming. In fact, she only blinks in two scenes, once in the first episode when she’s in the car with her parents and again in the finale episode during an emotional embrace with co-star Emma Myers.
Viewers saw some familiar faces back on screen in “Wednesday.” Gwendoline Christie, most well known for her role of Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” plays the principal at Nevermore. Christie says playing Principal Weems was the first time she felt beautiful on screen. Standing at 6’3”, Christie is often casted in tough masculine roles, but her look in “Wednesday” was 1950s “Hitchcock heroine” inspired. Christie says it was an honor to work with costume designer Colleen Atwood. “The way she [Atwood] made me feel was my body felt celebrated and beautiful. Never once did I feel like there was something to hide or something to be ashamed of. She made me feel incredible. She was also enormously collaborative and wanted to know what I thought,” Christie said.
Actor Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday in “The Addams Family” (1991), returns to Netflix’s adaptation as a teacher at Nevermore. “Wednesday” pays homage to earlier versions of “Addams Familys.” While solving the mystery, one of the secret passwords are two snaps alluding to the “Addams Family” theme song. Ortega says that the dance scene she choreographed in episode four was partially inspired by choreography from the 1964 TV show “The Addams Family.” In the same episode, “Wednesday” references horror movies like Stephen King’s “Carrie” when fake blood is sprayed on the students at Nevermore’s dance.
It’s unclear whether “Wednesday” will be renewed for a season two but according to “People,” the cast and filmmakers are on board, and viewers are on the edge of their seats with the cliffhanger ending.