The Addams Family has taken many forms over the years, from the 1960s era TV show, to the 1990s big-budget movies, to a 2009 Broadway musical, and most recently as a two offbeat CG animated features, each shapeshifting to conform to—or, really, deviate from—the norms of the times. In the new Netflix series Wednesday, centered on the family’s ominous only daughter, the household of macabre bon vivants hews closer to the original design of cartoonist Charles Addams that first appeared in the pages of The New Yorker.
Behold Catherine Zeta-Jones as matriarch Morticia, Luis Guzmán as pater familias Gomez, Jenna Ortega as eponymous Wednesday and Isaac Ordonez as hapless brother Pugsley. Tim Burton is an executive producer and directed four of the eight episodes, helping to shape the overall look of the series. Perhaps the weirdest thing about the show, which will debut this fall, is that he hasn’t made an Addams Family project sooner.
For his first foray into television, Burton has brought along his longtime collaborator (and four-time Oscar winner) Colleen Atwood as costume designer to give Morticia her signature vampire chic and Gomez his fancy prisoner pin-stripes. Wednesday, who views the world in stark black and white, only wears the same—preferably with a razor sharp collar. Disheveled Pugsley is the only casual one in the clan, perpetually in short-pants and horizontal stripes that look like an old-school TV dialed to dead air.
The show is the brainchild of Smallville creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, who recruited Burton to bring his skewed sensibilities to the family of gothic outcasts. “He wanted the silhouette to look more like the Charles Addams cartoons, which is Gomez shorter than Morticia, versus the kind of suave Raul Julia version in the movies,” Gough says.
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