Wednesday series adds to Addams Family history


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On Nov. 23, Netflix dropped the first season of Wednesday, its new original series, adding to the illustrious history of the Addams Family. The comedy follows Wednesday Addams, the one daughter in the fictional family, as she navigates her psychic powers and life as a teenager.

Charles Addams, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, first gave life to the Addams Family in 1938 through single-panel comics. A little less than 30 years later, The Addams Family made their first television debut with the two-season television series, The Addams Family. Halloween with the New Addams Family, a made-for-television special, aired a decade later, featuring the same cast as the original TV show. The Addams Family made it to movie theaters in 1991 with the film The Addams Family and again in 1993 Addams Family Values.

The Addams Family has also developed a presence in the realm of animation, beginning with the 1973 animated show, The Addams Family, followed by the 2019 film, The Addams Family, and its sequel two years later. Seven video games were also made based on Wednesday and her family, the most recent being The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem in 2021.

Other lesser-known works include direct-to-DVD movies, comic books, a Scooby Doo special and the two-time Tony-nominated Broadway musical The Addams Family.

While the Addams family is quite extensive, most media revolves around seven characters. There is the fan favorite Wednesday Addams and her multitude of pets including an octopus, (who has been named Ocho, Aristotle and Socrates, depending on the work) a spider named Homer and Kitty, the family’s lion. Wednesday’s brother Pugsley, and their incredibly loving parents Morticia and Gomez, also make up the main cast. There’s also the family’s butler, Lurch, Uncle Fester and a disembodied hand named Thing.

The members of the Addams family have largely stayed the same over the years, the most notable difference being how the different members are related. In earlier versions, Pugsley was Wednesday’s older brother, but beginning with the movies in the 1990s, Wednesday has always been older. Additionally, the two occasionally have a baby brother. As for the older members of the family, sometimes Fester is Gomez’s brother and sometimes he is Morticia’s uncle.

Wednesday is a fairly faithful rendition of the original family. However, the show’s tone is darker  than the goofier comedy previously seen. Small details throughout the season, such as the family’s excellence in sword-fighting and dancing, match their previously established traits.

Other motifs also mirror previous Addams Family works; there are still many literary references, mentions of doll decapitations and an emphasis on Addams being spelled with two “d”s. The series includes a puzzle which requires Wednesday to snap twice, just as the family did at the beginning of every episode of the original T.V. show, and even the original theme song is referenced when Wednesday says that she is spooky, not kooky.

The series is directed by Tim Burton, a filmmaker praised for his unique artistic style, seen within the show both in terms of writing and visual styles. The show also features Jenna Ortega in the leading role of Wednesday.

Regardless of where this new series goes in any additional seasons, the Addams Family has had a huge impact on popular culture for the better part of a century, and hopefully will continue to reign for many more years, as America’s favorite creepy, kooky and all-together spooky family.