Reviewing the Netflix series Wednesday, created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and executive produced by Tim Burton, who also directed some episodes, is a mix of love and hate. Tim Burton speaks to the dark, emo, macabre nature in so many. But he disregards people darker than a paper bag. Though inspired, he also possesses limitations because of this. You can only recycle the same things so many times before it becomes tiresome. While Jenna Ortega does the already-existing character, Wednesday Addams, justice, and as a whole, the show is good; Wednesday’s choices raise questions and concerns about its future potential. 

Wednesday Has White Savior To The Rescue

Wednesday’s focus is admirable and relatable, with her passion for literature and writing. Her monochromatic style and bluntness also stand out. But as the story progresses, Wednesday’s penchant for using people overshadows her other qualities. There was another character in a Netflix show, one so self-absorbed that they made things worse for everyone over time. By the end of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, there was little worth complimenting. That is the vibe you get as the first season of Wednesday progresses. You enjoy it, but you are worried for the future.

Yes, Jenna Ortega is not white, but her character exhibits whiteness. She challenges Bianca Barclay (Joy Sunday) within seconds of meeting her. While the series tries to portray another reason, the interaction feels motivated by race. The show also seems to intentionally use that in the beginning with Bianca and Lucas (Iman Marson), a Black pilgrim. As such, they lessen Wednesday’s character. Given Tim Burton’s participation and the writers hired, either it was intentional or intentionally unintentional. Doing something without intent to harm but knowing there is increased potential for harm is not much different.

The Cast Does Phenomenal Work

Joy Sunday as Bianca Barclay in Wednesday holding an umbrella in the rain.
Joy Sunday as Bianca Barclay in Wednesday. Cr. Vlad Cioplea/Netflix © 2022

For the most part, Jenna Ortega’s acting and delivery make the show an enjoyable, fun ride. The way she delivers her lines packs a hilarious punch. Gwendolyn Christie, as Principal Weems, exudes authority but also a seething irritation. Iman Marson’s acting as his character goes from an angry, prejudiced pilgrim to a teen trying to be better is amazing. Wish they spent more time on his character. Joy Sunday delivers depth, care, and some hilarious reactions as Bianca. Emma Myers brings comedy as the roommate, opposite Wednesday’s taste and temperament. The cast of Wednesday makes the show entertaining and brings the mysterious world of Nevermore Academy to life. 

Love Interests Are Both Irritating

The two teens who like Wednesday are annoying. This is not to say they are bad characters. Teens with crushes can be obnoxious. But it is least entertaining part of the entire series. All Tyler (Hunter Doohan) and Xavier (Percy Hynes White) do is complain about Wednesday. The only time Xavier makes sense is when he tells Wednesday the prophecy cannot happen if she leaves. That made me say, “finally!” Other than that, most of Xavier’s scenes are wanting attention from an uninterested Wednesday. “She’s just not that into you” should be on his bedroom wall. Laugh at them or yell at them; it’s a toss-up. 

Thanks to the cast, and the creepy setting of Nevermore Academy, Wednesday pulls through with an impressive first season, despite its problems. Still, that could change if they do not do better navigating race. Wednesday would not have Black enemies because they are Black. Nor would Wednesday have a white savior complex. It will be interesting if a second season can bring more surprises while fixing the cringe in the first. 

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