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Entry updated 8 May 2023. Tagged: TV.

US tv series (2022-current, vt Wednesday Addams). MGM Television, Millar Gough Ink, Tim Burton Productions, Toluca Pictures. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, based on the Addams Family created by Charles Addams. Directed by Tim Burton, James Marshall and Gandja Monteiro. Written by Kayla Alpert, April Blair, Alfred Gough, Matt Lambert and Miles Millar. Cast includes Gwendoline Christie, Hunter Doohan, Victor Dorobantu, William Houston, Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Emma Myers, Jenna Ortega, Christina Ricci, Calum Ross, Joy Sunday and Percy Hynes White. Eight circa 45-minute episodes. Colour.

After releasing piranha into the swimming pool containing the boys who bullied her brother, teenaged Wednesday Addams (Ortega) is sent to Nevermore Academy, her parents' alma mater; perceived as an attempt to mould her into her mother's image, this is resented. She has also started to have visions, of the past and future (see Precognition; Time Viewer). Wednesday is accompanied by Thing (Dorobantu), a sentient, mobile hand. The Academy's pupils are assorted "Outcasts", her new roommate, Enid Sinclair (Myers), explains that "the main cliques are Fangs, Furs, Stoners and Scales" – Vampires, Werewolves, Gorgons (see Basilisks) and Sirens who are capable of mind control. Enid is a bubbly, upbeat werewolf who is not yet able to fully transform, resulting in her mother threatening to send her to conversion camp. Also prominent are Headmistress Larissa Weems (Christie), a Shapeshifter; Housemistress Marilyn Thornhill (Ricci), a "normie", and pupils such as the siren Bianca Barclay (Sunday); Telekinetic Rowan Laslow (Ross) and Xavier Thorpe (White), who can bring his artwork to life (see Psi Powers) and is infatuated with the indifferent Wednesday. The nearby town of Jericho is an old Puritan (see Religion) settlement that, on the whole, rather wishes the Academy were not there: a view epitomized by Sheriff Donavan Galpin (McShane), but not his son, Tyler (Doohan), who appears to have a crush on Wednesday which is very reluctantly reciprocated; also in the town is Wednesday's therapist Dr Valerie Kinbott (Lindhome).

Rowan, believing she is prophesied to destroy the Academy, tries to murder Wednesday; she is saved when he is killed by a Monster that has been attacking people in the woods. However, when Wednesday reports his death a live Rowan appears (we later discover this was Weems). Wednesday decides to investigate, leading to her discovering that her parents were implicated in a murder whilst at the Academy; a sibling of the victim seeks revenge and is controlling the monster. Rowan was killed because Wednesday's fresh blood is needed for the reanimation of the town's founder, Joseph Crackstone (Houston) (not strictly speaking a Zombie as he is fully self-aware): the sibling intends for him to destroy the Academy. Puritan Crackstone murdered many outsiders in his time, including one of Wednesday's ancestors. Despite possessing supernatural powers, he is defeated by Wednesday, with the help of those she would grudgingly called friends.

Aside from references to the various incarnations of Charles Addams's creations, the show nods to other influences: the monster changes from its human form and is thus called a Hyde, after Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson; Edgar Allan Poe was an alumnus of the Academy; when it is observed that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, Wednesday responds: "I know, she's both my literary hero and nemesis, and I have two years and 364 days to beat her." The only time Wednesday loosens up is when The Cramps are played at the disco. Wednesday is tremendous fun, a deservedly popular Horror series with plenty of Humour, centred on a strong performance by Ortega – her character influenced by the version of Wednesday played by Ricci in the two 1990s films, particularly Addams Family Values (1993). Her gothic, deadpan delivery manages to convey a great deal of feeling: "I act as if I don't care if people dislike me, [pause] deep down, I secretly enjoy it." [SP]


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