Do you feel it? That distant crackling noise? It’s the sound of Netflix bosses uncorking champagne. It was announced on Tuesday that Wednesday, the streamer’s series based on the Addams family character, had become a real success. According to data released by Netflix, it has surpassed Stranger thingsrecord as the platform’s most watched title in a single week. These results stated that the show had been streamed for a combined total of 341.2 million hours after just seven days. One week later, Wednesday broke its own record and has now accumulated streams of over 400 million hours. Brilliant news for those involved in the show, but not so great for the future of the small screen.
Wednesday it is a fully functional television. It has an upbeat soundtrack (Danny Elfman), indelible costumes (Colleen Atwood) and an excellent cast (John Papsidera and Sophie Holland) – without its glamorous leading lady Jenna Ortega, Wednesday it risked being as dull as a dreary Monday. But even with Ortega, he can’t escape certain traps, namely the fact that he’s essentially Gen-Z’s Addams Family by way of Riverdale. For a show about a beloved kooky sharpshooter, who’s been the source of Halloween costumes everywhere since 1992, Wednesday it lacks punch, and since its release, more than three people have described it to me as decent “background” television.
Suddenly those 400 million hours start to make sense.
However, Wednesday’s mediocre quality is not what concerns me. I’m more concerned about its success and the consequences these numbers will have in the future. Wednesday’s popularity – the level of which is unprecedented – could have a negative effect on the approval process for new shows. In other words, original ideas could be moved to the bottom of the pile.
Shortly after those champagne bottles are corked, enjoy them; are well earned – there will be a meeting of minds on how best to emulate Wednesdaythe ratings of . The obvious conclusion will be to mine existing film franchises for characters with their own series potential. No idea will be bad, with anything thrown against the wall: inigioa prequel that traces the first days in the life of The princess brideFencing master Inigio Montoya could be considered. Farbissina, a series exploring the rise of Dr Evil’s Austin Powers henchwoman, from Fraulein to Frau, will launch. Perhaps ShrekLord Farquaad’s will be considered for the spinoff treatment, with eight episodes exploring how the little villain came to despise fairy tale characters. (I don’t know why, but I’m thinking of Tom Hollander for the role.)
Tim Burton is credited with a large chunk of Wednesday‘s, which is somewhat unfair considering he only directed four episodes. The masterminds behind the series are Smallville the duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. But it certainly seems like Burton has found a new home after cutting ties with Disney in October. His back catalog will no doubt be looked into. Self Lydiaa series that joins Winona Ryders’ Lydia Deetz in the aftermath of Cockroach juice (I’d see look) gets thrown out for being too much Wednesday-lite, a series based on Edward scissor hands Not. Writers from all over the world will frantically find an answer to the long-standing question: “How exactly does it go to the toilet?” Or perhaps Burton will team up with proven Netflix maestro Ryan Murphy for a Feud-style Ed Wood spin-off based on the life of Dracula actor Bela Lugosi. David Harbor should certainly expect a call.
Because of Wednesday, any character of anything with even a hint of fandom will be thrust into the spotlight, with viewership potential unscrupulously undermined by pundits. This idea is even more disappointing considering the state of cinema right now. With virtually every tentpole release reserved for a sequel, prequel, or spinoff, originality is increasingly being nullified in favor of existing IP. Fortunately, television can provide a home for the untested and more sinister ideas, with writers able to use episode counts in imaginative ways to introduce new worlds, characters, and situations.
But Netflix, which is prone to swinging its ax on ambitious projects when not enough people are watching, clearly operates on an “if it ain’t broke” method. This means WednesdayThe blockbuster status will be an unintentional nail in the coffin for originality. While it seems like a labor of love for those involved, the success of Wednesday it’s one that TV fans, not to mention writers working with refreshing ideas, could screw up for years.