Netflix’s Wednesday Shows How Using IP Can Be A Crutch
Wednesday premiered on Netflix on November 23rd 2022, giving fans a chance to see Jenna Ortega as the popular character who wears her hair in two braids & is tough as nails. What do fans want from a spin-off of The Addams Family? The Respond would likely be Gomez & Morticia’s romance, a visit from Cousin It, & the strange yet funny situations the family gets themselves into.
It’s easy to say that Wednesday could be a TV show all on its own without anything to do with The Addams Family. If there were no references to this popular franchise, the storyline would seem fairly generic, & it would be hard to tell what it’s supposed to be. Ultimately, the show proves that using IP can be a crutch & that it’s best to try for a truly unique & fresh story.
There are many great versions of Wednesday from The Addams Family, so there was underst&able buzz & anticipation for the Netflix series. But after tuning in, it’s hard not to think that this is a fairly generic story that feels like any teen horror TV show instead of being a specific Addams Family project.
Wednesday begins going to Nevermore & meets her roommate Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers) who has decorated her side of the room in a colorful way. Wednesday is then pursued by Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan), who she meets at the town coffee shop. She tries to stave off any friendships & focus on writing & then learns more about her ancestor Goody Adams, who she shares magical powers with. But these things could happen in any TV show & it doesn’t always feel obvious that this is the character who fans have seen before.
Many reviews of Wednesday share the same opinion: that the show is fun to watch because of Jenna Ortega but it doesn’t feel super special on its own. This is likely because the series doesn’t have enough The Addams Family elements. It’s great to see Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester & the show wouldn’t be complete without Thing coming to school with Wednesday to offer support & help her plan & scheme. But even the scenes of Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) & Gomez (Luis Guzmán) don’t feel quite the same as they do in The Addams Family from 1991 & its sequel that was released just a few years later.
It’s hard not to wish for more than a few brief appearances of Morticia & Gomez & to think that Cousin It should pay a visit to the school. Ortega said the role is her “scariest” yet & while she’s incredible, that isn’t enough to thoroughly impress fans who wanted a bit more of the property that they know & love. If Morticia & Gomez were students themselves years before, why not have them spend more time at the school? Why do they have such a removed role?
Wednesday‘s Nevermore Academy will draw comparisons to Hogwarts in Harry Potter as the two schools have students with magical powers who don’t fit in. That’s a problem as it feels like special students attending special schools has been done before. If maybe some of Wednesday’s relatives worked at the school, that would give fans more of the Addams family vibe that they want, & it would also make Nevermore st& out. Instead, it feels like any other school & isn’t that interesting. There aren’t even enough scenes of classes to explain how this school sticks out from others seen in movies & TV shows.
It’s possible that The Addams Family fans who know Wednesday will think that she doesn’t always act like herself. She kisses Tyler & participates in school events & becomes part of a community. She doesn’t even try to hurt anyone as soon as she gets to Nevermore. Is that really how she would behave? It’s fun to see Christina Ricci star in Wednesday as a teacher at the school, but it’s tough not to wish for more of Wednesday’s mom & dad since they are such unique characters.
If the show had nothing to do with The Addams Family, it would work a lot better as fans wouldn’t be comparing it to the movies from past decades & wondering how it fits into the franchise. It feels like Wednesday uses its IP & assumes that will make it entertaining, but fans are left wanting something more. If the series is given a second season, it would be great to see more Addams characters who make this franchise as scary & fun as it is. That could allow the show to appeal to its fanbase & make fans of this family happier.
NEXT: Jenna Ortega Talks Similarities Between Her & Wednesday Addams
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