What do a bag of piranhas, psychic abilities, and hump day all have in common? It's Wednesday, Tim Burton's live-action, supernatural, coming-of-age Netflix series following everyone's favorite braided menace.
Created by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Burton, Wednesday stars Jenna Ortega as the titular character alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams, Luis Guzmán as Gomez Addams, Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley Addams, and Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems.
Playing with genres of fantasy, horror, mystery, and comedy, Wednesday is firstly a coming-of-age story. The eight-episode season follows Wednesday as a student at the boarding school called Nevermore Academy, a private school for outcasts that her own parents attended. From werewolves to vampires to sirens, the school hosts plenty of spooky characters as well as life-threatening mysteries that Wednesday — as the morbid, death-obsessed girl she is — tries to solve. (Thankfully, she is successful at solving the mysteries, including the crime her father was accused of years ago, as well as who is the Hyde, terrorizing Nevermore students today and why.)
The fictional Addams family, which originated a a cartoon, is best known from the '60s television series as well as the iconic '90s feature films starring Anjelica Huston as Morticia, Raúl Juliá as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester, Jimmy Workman as Pugsley, and Christina Ricci as Wednesday. With Ortega picking up the eponymous mantle this time around, Ricci appears in Wednesday as a new character.
If you already finished your binge and need a break from obsessing over who the stalker could be or what will happen now that the Hyde is breaking out of his chains, here are 10 shows to watch next, ranked by Metascore.
Best for: Fans of Joss Whedon and those who are looking for a more upbeat heroine
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Based on the 1992 film of the same name, the series follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a high school girl who is the latest in a long line of women known as vampire slayers. In an attempt to escape her dark past and be a normal teen, Buffy moves to Sunnydale, Calif. with her mother, only to fall in love with a mysterious young man named Angel (David Boreanaz). However, Buffy's new life begins to get complicated when Angel reveals that he's a vampire, confirming to her that her destiny may be harder to run from than she thought. The series was nominated for 14 Emmys during its run, but it only one one (for Outstanding Makeup for a Series in 1998).
"This supernatural series has fast, raucous music, attractive heroes and heroines, and nifty morphing effects for the vampires." — Michael Farkash, The Hollywood Reporter
Best for: Fans of period pieces and stories that use supernatural themes to comment on real societal issues
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Based on the novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country follows veteran Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti (Jurnee Smollett), and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a journey across 1950s America in search of his missing father. Well, it starts as a journey across America but it evolves into something that spans space and time. In addition to Jim Crow America and racist white people they encounter, there are supernatural creatures too. The characters struggle to survive and overcome whatever evil comes their way, while facing intense generation trauma throughout the process. The show was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, taking home two (including one for Michael K. Williams' performance as Atticus' father). It was originally intended to be an ongoing series, but despite the critical acclaim and awards love, HBO canceled the show after the first season. So, while the characters and themes may more mature than what the average fan of Wednesday is expecting, it is certainly one of the quicker binges on this list, and arguably, one of the most important ones.
"Misha Green's spellbinding Lovecraft Country defies genre stereotypes with fantastic Black talent both in front of and behind the camera." — Candice Frederick, TV Guide
Best for: Fans of Ricci, women's soccer, and mob mentality
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Following two timelines, this thriller chronicles the tales of a New Jersey high school soccer team that is traveling to Seattle for a tournament when their plane crashes in deep wilderness, leaving the surviving members to fend for themselves for 19 months following the crash. While half the show takes place in that timeline, watching teenage girls (and the couple of young men traveling with them) fend for themselves, make bad decisions, and get involved in something spiritual, if not downright supernatural, the series also follows four core survivors' lives 25 years later, in present day, as they are stalked by...someone. We're still not quite sure who or why just yet. The first season ended on a major cliffhanger, just like Wednesday did. The show, which was nominated for seven Emmys already, stars Ricci as the adult version of one of the core survivors, Misty Quigley, who has quite the dark side herself.
"Don't be fooled by its teen show trappings: Yellowjackets is a pitch black parable of human desperation that will creep its way under your skin given the chance." — Caroline Framke, Variety
Best for: Fans of Penn Badgley and inner monologues
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Based on the Caroline Kepnes novels, this psychological thriller follows Joe Goldberg (Badgley), a bookstore manager and serial killer who falls in love and develops an obsession with various women. The first season follows him following his victim Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who he stalks using social media even after he infiltrates her life IRL. In the second season, Joe moves from New York to Los Angeles to start a new life and he falls in love with chef Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). This time, though he may have met his match with her, and thus begins a two-season arc where he has to come to terms with the fact that sometimes getting what he says he wants isn't enough. Needless to say, at the end of that arc, he is once again off to a new place to start the cycle all over again. Season 2 also features Wednesday Addams herself, Ortega, as Joe's neighbor Ellie. Though You deals with more mature concepts than Wednesday does — including fidelity and privacy — the series maintains a dry comedic tone throughout, balancing darker themes in a way that is not unlike the titular Addams daughter's way of life.
"In some respects, You just feels like one of the CW shows that [Greg] Berlanti produces — just really sharply executed, with a densely serialized edge." — Brian Lowry, RogerEbert.com
Best for: Fans of Archie Comics and Kiernan Shipka
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Based on the comic series of the same name by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also created this series, this supernatural horror drama follows Sabrina Spellman (Shipka), a half-witch and half-mortal who must accept her nature in order to defend her family and the daylight world itself. Set in the fictional town of Greendale, Sabrina must navigate being both a teenage girl and the daughter of her family's legacy, the Church of Night. Like Wednesday, this series is a female coming-of-age story set with a darker, more mischievous backdrop.
"Each time Sabrina swerves into such uneven territory, it finds its way back to its strengths as a visually rich, darkly comical, and immensely fun to watch piece of wish fulfillment" — Angelica Jade Bastien, Vulture
Best for: Fans of literature and British television
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This horror drama weaves some of literature's most terrifying characters into an adult drama, including Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), among other prominent characters. The series begins in Victorian England in 1891 with the abduction of a woman and her daughter who are later found mutilated. After being hired by Sir Macolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) forms a group to infiltrate a vampire nest in an attempt to find a recently missing woman, enlisting help from other specialists along the way. Like Wednesday, this series is rooted in a larger character history and in its exploration of beloved villains taps into the ways in which women can fit into a horror scape. Though aimed at a slightly older demographic than Wednesday is, Penny Dreadful dives into monster mythic history in a way that Wednesday fans will likely appreciate. It may even teach them a thing or two about iconic public domain characters they may not have come across on bookshelves yet.
"There's style, B-movie charm, and a few great performances to be found in the bloody heart of Penny Dreadful." — Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
Best for: Fans of teenage drama that takes a more supernatural turn as time goes on
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Also adapted from Archie Comics by Aguirre-Sacasa, this young adult drama follows the teenage inhabitants of the titular town, meeting them after one of their own is found dead. The show is much darker than the classic comics, borrowing more themes and its tone from the "After Dark" line of books. Although its characters are in high school at the start of the series, the problems they deal with are very adult, very quickly (such as gangs, prison, and cults) — later even crossing into the supernatural. The series is occasionally narrated by Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), and it also stars K.J. Apa as the infamous Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, and Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge. Filled with drama, scandals, and horrific twists, this series is eerie and odd as well as self-aware, not unlike the dark teenage angst of Wednesday.
"An eerie and offbeat take on the high school mythos — both addictive and confusing in equal parts" — Sonia Saraiya, Variety
Best for: Fans of chimpanzees, alternate timelines, and dysfunctional families
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 3 (so far)
This superhero series is set in a world where 43 women around the world give birth at the exact same time despite having shown no signs of pregnancy prior. Seven of the babies are adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), an eccentric billionaire who raises the children, all of whom exhibit unique supernatural abilities, in the titular school. The series begins in the present day when all of the siblings are estranged but are brought back together by news that their adoptive father has died. Of course, what follows is anything but a simple family reunion or tale about grief, as one of the siblings comes with news of an impending apocalypse — that they must band together to stop. But, that is not so simple, either, as they soon learn as they attempt to save the world, they end up changing certain things in the fabric of space and time that have catastrophic ripple effects. Like Wednesday, this show deals with concepts of chosen family and being an outsider that fans of the series are sure to appreciate. So far the series has been nominated for six Emmys.
"Its attempts to capture the visual and narrative virtuosity of the comics are halfhearted...and we're left with a polished but increasingly dull version of the same old story." — Mike Hale, The New York Times
Based on the young adult novel by Christopher Pike, The Midnight Club follows Ilonka (Iman Benson), a Stanford-bound high school senior whose plans are put on hold when she's diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer. When she decides to stay at Brightcliffe, a hospice for teens, Ilonka befriends the other patients Spencer (William Chris Sumpter), Natsuki (Aya Furukawa), Kevin (Igby Rigney), Cheri (Adia), Sandra (Annarah Cymone), Amesh (Sauriyan Sapkota) and Anya (Ruth Codd). One night after hours as Ilonka explores the somewhat foreboding premises, she stumbles upon the other patients in the library telling scary stories. They call themselves — you guessed it — the Midnight Club, but the mystery they get sucked into is so much more than just a story.
"As the show flies by, the nightly scare stories work more effectively than the lumbering haunted house stuff, and of course all of this is housed in a young adult world." — Tom Long, The Detroit News
Best for: Fans of sisters and witches
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This series follows three sisters known as The Charmed Ones, who are said to be the most powerful good witches, especially when their powers are combined. They are played by Holly Marie Combs, Shannen Doherty, and Alyssa Milano. (Later, Rose McGowan joins the cast as the half-sister who will complete the triangle when Doherty exits the show.) The Power of Three that they possess is integral in protecting those around them from evil supernatural beings, including literal demons. Unlike Wednesday, who revels in the darkness, each sister tries to hide her individual power in order to live a relatively normal life in San Francisco, Calif. (You can imagine that doesn't go so well, though.) However, like Wednesday, the show, Chramed deals with themes of family and magic, and is known for its strong female-led narrative. The series was rebooted in 2018.
"A bit thin in the plot department; the main things it has going for it are the sisters' pulchritude and the presence of Doherty, who is that rare item: a TV star who succeeds on the strength of her vitriol." — Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly