You want to know what makes my day?
Not the day, necessarily. The movie series that is on Netflix.
We’re halfway through it and it just gets better and better with each episode. Think of it as “Harry Potter” meets “Stranger Things” with the joyfully malevolent fingerprints of Tim Burton all over it. Burton is the executive producer and directs four of the eight episodes.
This is the first “Addams Family” spin-off of which I am aware. Maybe the only. I can’t imagine a series about Pugsley or Uncle Fester or Thing …
Well, maybe Thing. No kidding, in this series, the articulate appendage is incredibly personable and emotive. Thing might be up for a supporting actor nomination. At last. Someone who could really give the Emmys the finger and get away with it.
The story so far has been binge-worthy, though we’ve kept it to two episodes a night, as one of us has to get up and work in the morning and the other has to walk the dog.
Morticia and Gomez (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán) are at wit’s end with their mordantly inclined daughter, Wednesday (Jenna Ortego — and good goth almighty, is she ever good), who has been booted from yet another school after dropping two hefty bags of piranha into the polo team’s pool. The lads had been torturing her little brother, Pugsley. So what’s a girl from the dark side to do?
The alpha teen tormenter lost a testicle. The news leaves Wednesday unfazed. Guys like that shouldn’t be procreating, a chillingly blithe Wednesday responds.
Wednesday is sent to Nevermore Academy, which is Hogwarts for mythologicals, goth legends, and supernatural outcasts — werewolves, mermaids, gorgons, vampires, visionists, and other mortals with eerie powers. That sort of thing. Very much not coincidentally, Nevermore is the alma mater of Morticia and Gomez and the place they met. So Wednesday is a legacy student and gets to wear a black-on-gray uniform whereas all the other students wear purple-and-black striped jackets. Privilege has its benefits.
Quickly, very quickly, Wednesday deduces that all is not on the up and up on the leafy and bucolic Vermont campus, nor is all square in the adjacent pilgrim-obsessed town of Jericho, which got its start burning people like the students at Nevermore.
Not only is there malignant town-and-gown friction below the surface — there is also a monster on the loose in the woods.
But of course there is a monster on the loose in the wood! People are dying out here! Nice people. Mostly. In the most cinematically gruesome ways imaginable.
And there is a secret society at the academy which had supposedly been disbanded back when Morticia and Gomez were big deals on campus.
On a campus full of strange but aesthetically pleasing people, there are a lot of even stranger things going on.
Wednesday, despite her disdain for all things human, especially her schoolmates, is determined to get to the bottom of it all.
She’s a regular Nancy Drew. Only, only one that likes spiders, cadavers, snakes, and monsters — and probably the movie “Carrie” is her all-time favorite. Yeah, she’s creepy and she’s spooky, and also kind of kooky but she is also cute as a baby viper
Some other characters I’m not turning my back on … the school’s only “normie” teacher — perky botanist Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci) and local sheriff Donovan Galpin (Jamie McShane). These two. I’m sure they are more than they claim to be.
Come to think of it, most everybody in this series harbors a secret side. Everybody seems to have a history with everybody else. And not in a good way. These ties leak out, one bloody drip at a time.
How much macabre fun is that!
And how cool is it that Ricci, who once defined the character Wednesday in two Addams Family movies, is in this spin-off? And plays perky like a dream.
Put more magic in your life!
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