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    Netflix has another monster hit (literally) on its hands, with the all-conquering Wednesday. It’s coming for Stranger Things and Squid Game to become the streamer’s most-viewed original show of all time, so what does everyone love about it, and have you mastered your TikTok Rave’N prom routine yet?

    They’re Creepy and They’re Kooky

    Netflix’s Addams family series has a history dating back decades. Its characters originally came to fame courtesy of a cartoon strip in the 1930s by Charles Addams in the New Yorker, followed by a black and white TV series in the 1960s, where many of its iconic visuals were established on screen – including the double finger-click in the theme song.

    The characters were first rebooted for the big screen in 1991’s The Addams Family, starring Angelica Huston as Morticia, who was nominated for a Golden Globe, and Raul Julia as her husband Gomez.

    A sequel followed two years later, Addams Family Values, with all the main cast and characters returning, including teenagers Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), who are dispatched to summer camp.

    Not So Full of Woe

    As to who’s involved in Wednesday, it’s a regular who’s-who of both big names and newfound talents in front of, and behind the camera. Everyone’s favourite comedy-horror king, Tim Burton, directs the first four of the eight episodes and exec produced the series. His stamp is all over it, particularly the design of the Big Bad, the ‘Hyde’, which is unleashing destruction and terror through the town of Jericho, Vermont.

    The OG Wednesday, Christina Ricci, is back, this time playing teacher Marilyn Thornhill – the only ‘normie’ at Nevermore Academy. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Sandman) aces Principal Weems and Catherine Zeta-Jones makes every screen moment count as matriarch Morticia. But the whole show lives or dies on whether or not we all love Wednesday herself.

    Jenna Ortega – previously seen in The Babysitter: Killer Queen, X and 2022’s Scream reboot – nails every single scene. Brilliantly deadpan, whether unleashing bags of piranhas onto the jocks who’ve been bullying her brother Pugsley (‘the only person who’s allowed to torture my brother… is me’) in the school pool, or standing her ground with a variety of adults and authority figures, not to mention that dance sequence, which she choreographed herself, Ortega is surely the stand-out new star of 2023.

    Friend or Woe

    If you’ve been yearning for a boarding school with bite ever since the final Harry Potter film, then Nevermore Academy is for you. Wednesday proves herself singularly unsuited to a regular school after causing havoc with the aforementioned piranhas. After her mother asks her how an attempted murder would look on her record, Wednesday fires back, ‘Terrible. Everyone would know I failed to get the job done.’

    Morticia and Gomez’s ‘little death trap’ is dispatched to her parents’ alma mater, Nevermore Academy, which is chock-full of other outcasts, including werewolves, sirens and ‘stoners’, all of whom have what one would politely call an uneasy relationship with the local townsfolk.

    At Nevermore, Wednesday attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart the killing spree (and discover the Hyde’s true identity) and solve the mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago. Throughout, she’s alternately helped and hindered by Thing (Victor Dorobantu), queen bee siren Bianca (Joy Sunday), local boy Tyler (Hunter Doohan), mysterious Xavier (Percy Hynes White) and her roommate Enid, a relentlessly perky vision in pastels, who’s nevertheless struggling with her inability to ‘wolf out’ and become a full werewolf.

    It's a brilliant blend of horror, comedy, drama and Wednesday eventually getting on board with the concept of teamwork and friendship (the hug!), which has resulted in over a billion hours’ worth of streams and apparently a full goth revival as everyone goes wild for Wednesday’s look.

    Paint It Black

    Plus, of course, there’s a killer soundtrack. As well as Burton favourite Danny Elfman, who’s created the theme tune, there are plenty of song choices to go head-to-head with Netflix’s previous breakout hit, Stranger Things’ ‘Running up That Hill.’

    Once again, we’ve seen how featuring in a Netflix smash can have real-world results for a track’s popularity. The Cramps’ ‘Goo Goo Muck’, the track that Wednesday dances to, saw its streams grow by more than 8,650% in the week following the show’s premiere, according to Billboard.

    Who’s the music supervisor to thank for this and a fabulous re-working of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint it Black’, which Wednesday plays on her cello? None other than Jen Malone, who’s fast becoming one of our favourite industry specialists. She’s previously worked her magic on Atlanta, as well as all the best recent teen dramas: Euphoria, The Wilds and Yellowjackets.

    Whilst Malone says that she and her team don’t set out to create viral ‘moments’, just to serve the story with their music choices, she is thrilled to potentially play a part in expanding viewers’ music knowledge. She told Forbes that, ‘I think it’s the accessibility that the kids have these days, that people have these days for the immediate, “What song is this?” and being able to go and find it and unlock this door. Maybe from The Cramps they’re gonna find Siouxsie and the Banshees, and they’re going to maybe find Joy Division. And that opens up this whole world of music that I personally love. And I think it’s really cool to be a part of that.’

    As well as The Cramps, viewers can discover everything from Edith Piaf (‘Non, Je Ne Regret Rien’) to Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ by Bobby McFerrin, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ and Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons: Winter’.

    Malone says that, ‘classical music – darker stuff, not cheery minuets – vintage Latin, and certainly Goth and post-punk’ were all on Wednesday’s playlist. It’s another eclectic selection of perfectly idiosyncratic tracks, and we can’t wait to see what Jen and her team are working on next.

    Discover More

    Find out more about Jen Malone and her work in our reviews of her previous projects: Atlanta, Euphoria and Yellowjackets. Plus, we’ve got the 80s-tastic Stranger Things and the equally eclectic choices featured on the Sex Education soundtrack. Or check out why TV soundtracks are becoming more cinematic, the best horror movie soundtracks, and a spooky playlist if you need to license music for your own project.

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