Wednesday has already become Netflix’s second most-watched English language original and the third most-watched series overall. The show stars Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, who gets sent to the prestigious Nevermore Academy for outcasts by her parents, Morticia and Gomez. There, she becomes involved in the mysterious case of a monster targeting students and citizens from the nearby Jericho village. Wednesday‘s ending left many loose ends, and while the show hasn’t been officially renewed for a second season, with numbers like these, the announcement is imminent.
The show’s overwhelming success might be due to several reasons, but the cast of memorable and fascinating characters is surely a major factor. Led by the brilliant Jenna Ortega, Wednesday features an ensemble of adult and teenage characters that add a welcome sense of color and whimsy to an otherwise gloomy storyline. From friends and foes to mentors and parents, the show easily juggles many figures — some less prominent than others — who play a key role in Wednesday’s journey. And while not everyone is particularly likable, some of the show’s characters became instant stars because of their sympathetic personalities.
Note: This article includes spoilers for season 1 of Wednesday.
It isn’t a rule that the show’s lead character is also the most likable one, but in Wednesday‘s case, it is true. Ortega’s take on the notoriously grim and macabre teenage girl is spot-on, almost as iconic as Christina Ricci’s performance in the 1990s films. Ortega delivers a brilliant performance, equal parts engaging and weird, creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky.
Wednesday is a tricky character to play. Go too overboard with her brand of sinister humor, and you might come across as overly disturbing. However, Ortega shines in the role, finding the perfect balance between Wednesday’s grim persona and the show’s light and often silly tone. Wednesday is the show’s beating heart, and no viewer will come out of it without becoming a die-hard fan of the character and Ortega.
Most of the Addams clan gets relegated to the background on Wednesday with two exceptions: the eponymous character and Thing, the sentient, disembodied hand who acts as her main ally. Thing is Wednesday’s constant companion throughout the show, acting as her confidant, lackey, and the closest thing she has to family in Nevermore.
It’s a genuinely impressive feat that the show succeeded in making a disembodied hand such a likable character. Thing even steals some scenes from under Wednesday’s nose thanks to his anxious yet supportive personality — yes, he has a personality. Thing’s origins remain as secretive as the Addams themselves, but that only increases his appeal. He doesn’t even need words to become a prominent part of the action; in the end, he still manages to grab the audience’s heart.
An outcast, even among the outcasts, Eugene might be Wednesday‘s most relatable character. He forms a close and tender bond with Wednesday, acting as one of the few characters who feel genuinely at ease around her chilling behavior. Wednesday also develops a soft spot for him, mainly because the show portrays her as a defender of the weak.
Eugene is the show’s best male character. Unlike Wednesday’s two romantic interests, who become somewhat tiresome by the final episode, Eugene remains fun, funny, and sympathetic, a character audiences can’t help but root for and rally behind. Eugene is one of Wednesday‘s secret weapons, a character not many expected much of who ends up becoming a crucial part of the action and a vital ally of the main character.
Enid, Wednesday’s best friend and roommate, is one of the show’s breakout characters. The ray of sunshine to Wednesday’s stormy cloud, Enid is all smiles and laughs until you cross her. Still, she proves herself a staunchly loyal friend, even when the famously solitary Wednesday does everything to push her away.
Played by promising newcomer Emma Myers, Enid is one of the show’s most instantly likable characters. Her shamelessly cheery attitude could get tiresome quickly, but the show understands how to best utilize her, and Myers never goes overboard with the can-do attitude. Enid is the perfect foil to Wednesday’s creepy antics, and the show is at its best when showcasing the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them.
Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and the ever-underrated Luis Guzmán step into the iconic roles of Morticia and Gomez Addams on Wednesday. Although their interventions are minimal — they only appear in two episodes, which is absurd, if you ask me — the veteran actors leave an indelible mark on the show.
Morticia and Gomez are less creepy than Wednesday, but their quirks are still apparent to anyone with working eyes. Zeta-Jones plays Morticia less like a vamp and more like an aloof socialite, an intriguing take on a character that has proven surprisingly flexible. For his part, Guzmán is having the time of his life as the easygoing Gomez, a loving father and shameless pushover for his wife. The result is a sweet take on one of pop culture’s best couples, even if they tone down the Addams’ notoriously horny dynamic.
After years of playing one of the most powerful characters in Game of Thrones, Gwendoline Christie classes it up on Wednesday. The English actress plays Larissa Weems, Nevermore’s principal, who has a curious love-hate relationship with Wednesday and Morticia.
Although the character could easily come across as a one-note antagonist, Christie does a brilliant job of portraying Weems’ nuances. The character is neither straight-up good nor decidedly bad; instead, she’s a somewhat self-serving but still sympathetic authority figure who, despite appearances, wants the best for the children at her school. Weems meets a grim fate at the show’s end, and it’s a shame that Christie won’t come back for future seasons. However, Christie’s performance is one of season 1’s highlights and the perfect proof that she’s one of the most charismatic actors in the business.
You can stream Wednesday season 1 on Netflix.