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10 Great Shows Like Wednesday Fans Should Be Watching

Fans of "The Addams Family" are finally getting a new series with Tim Burton's "Wednesday," premiering on Netflix on November 23rd. For any child of the '90s, the popular "Addams Family" films starring Anjelica Huston and Christina Ricci are an undeniable spooky season classic. There have even been a few previous "Addams Family" TV series — the live-action 1964 series, the live-action late '90s series, and two separate animated series from the '70s and 1992, respectively. However, none of these shows lasted beyond two seasons. Will "Wednesday" have some staying power for modern audiences? We'll see.

It looks like "Wednesday" has some serious star power, with Jenna Ortega as the titular character, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia, and Luis Guzmán as Gomez. Of course, any modern "Addams Family" adaptation would be lacking without the great Christina Ricci — the definitive Wednesday of her generation. Thankfully, fans can see Ricci in "Wednesday" as the mysterious character Marilyn Thornhill. And in one of the most surprising casting choices of the year, the hilarious Fred Armisen — who shaved his head for the role, in case you were wondering — will be playing Uncle Fester. Originally, Thora Birch was also involved in the project, though she abruptly left during filming last year.

The show is staying true to its joyfully macabre gothic roots, with Tim Burton directing the first four episodes. From what we know of the plot, Wednesday has run out of educational options and is sent to Nevermore, a supernatural school where she needs to stop a murdering monster, figure out her powers, and of course, deal with the other high school students. Here are 10 spooky mysteries, supernatural high-school dramas, and horrifying coming-of-age shows to watch before "Wednesday" arrives.

A dark and thrilling teenage witch

Archie Comics' famous teenage witch has spawned a host of adaptations, from animated series to a live-action TV movie and two live-action TV series. While Melissa Joan Hart might feel like the original Sabrina for many kids of the '80s, the 2018 Netflix version is a lot spookier and includes some fantastically retro visuals.

Kiernan Shipka is Sabrina, a relentlessly curious and loyal troublemaker who's not afraid to stand up for her friends and lives with her two aunts in the town of Greendale. Sabrina, half-mortal and half-witch, begins her dark education on her 16th birthday, tangling with ordinary bullies at her normal high school and magical bullies at the Academy of The Unseen Arts. Naturally, there are dead bodies, zombies, the queen of hell, demons, and pagan gods for her to vanquish.

Despite its devilishly fun storyline, "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" also manages to deal with contemporary issues by tackling gender identity, feminism, and mental health. There's also a generous helping of ancient mythology, irreverent biblical details, and of course, a love triangle.

According to Shipka, the best part of the series is all the fantastic female characters portrayed. "The show is just jam-packed with powerful, badass women who are exercising their power and being awesome and cool while also having depth and flaws," she told Elle. For lovers of horror and dark fantasy, "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" is a must-watch.

High school monsters are everywhere

Alright, there are two shows based on Archie Comics on this list. Then again, a lot of enduring television and film franchises are based on comics. Even "The Addams Family" was originally a comic strip, for Pete's sake. 

Premiering in 2017 on The CW, "Riverdale" includes several different characters from the Archie Comics universe. Since streaming on Netflix, the series has been one of the most popular worldwide, proving that everyone loves a good murder mystery as long there's a monster or two involved.

"Riverdale" follows a group of high school students up through early adulthood. In the first season, a high school student is found murdered, revealing that the town of Riverdale isn't as innocent as it seems. This subversively spooky series has demons, witches, monsters, and the ever-present specter of young love for its main characters to deal with.

For some of the actors, even filming the show could be scary sometimes. According to Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead, he was once buried alive for filming. "The apparatus they built was the size of a human coffin. It was cramped, and I had to be in it for quite a while. I'm not a claustrophobic person, but it started to creep in. I had to scoot my way out of the coffin for a little bit to get some fresh air and relax," he told Interview Magazine.

During Season 6, Kiernan Shipka crossed over as Sabrina from "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," allowing for a few final plot points of her story to be wrapped up. Sadly, "Riverdale" is slated to wrap up with the upcoming Season 7.

Sister witches

Not to be confused with the 1987 film "The Witches of Eastwick," "Witches of East End" is a delightful series of witchy sisterhood. Based on the 2011 novel of the same name, 2013's "Witches of East End" stars two sisters, bartender Freya (Jenna Dewan) and librarian Ingrid (Rachel Boston), as they come into their witchy powers. These two sisters are cursed to die young (usually before they turn 30) and destined to be reborn again and again.

However, their powerful and protective mother Joanna (Julia Ormond) does everything she can to prevent this since it's awful to watch her children die every few years. She's also tired of giving birth, which is fair enough. Joining her is Joanna's rebellious and free-spirited sister Wendy (Mädchen Amick), who's similarly cursed with nine lives and the ability to turn into a cat. This sweet, witchy fantasy series is campy and fun and has excellent love triangles, fairy mythology, and an evil sorceress.

Focusing on the themes of sisterhood and family, it's a delightful, feminist show with truly amazing set design. Seriously, Joanna's home makes the Halliwell sisters' house from "Charmed" look mundane by comparison. Unfortunately, due to low ratings, "Witches of East End" was canceled in 2014 after only two seasons, leaving audiences with a cliffhanger. Since then, actors and fans have created a campaign for the series renewal, even starting a petition. It might be almost a decade old now, but we're still hoping for another season.

A dark fantasy series exploring America's racist history

HBO's brilliant "Lovecraft Country" premiered in 2020, and while it wasn't the network's most-watched show at first, word of mouth and a buzzy awards season brought this dark fantasy into the limelight. Set in the 1950s, this phenomenal series tackles issues of racism and class within American society but does it all with witches, monsters, and shapeshifters.

Based on Matt Ruff's novel, "Lovecraft Country" follows photographer Leti (Jurnee Smollett) and Korean War veteran Atticus (Jonathan Majors) as they uncover a supernatural mystery in Jim Crow-era America. By blending the horrors of American history with monsters and an evil occult society, "Lovecraft Country" creates a relevance to contemporary times that is beyond impressive and entertaining.

Not only is the storyline great, but the acting is phenomenal as well. According to Smollett, participating in a creative project like "Lovecraft Country" was a creative dream. "It was like an artistic haven for me," she told W Magazine. "Leti is, for sure, one of the greatest characters I've ever had the privilege of playing."

The Emmy-winning series was canceled after only one season, disappointing fans everywhere. Rumors abound about why the popular show won't return for a second season. Even Smollett and showrunner Misha Green have admitted that there was tension between them during filming. According to HBO executives, the show ended due to the expense of filming.

Dysfunctional siblings save the world

"The Umbrella Academy" premiered in 2019 to a record-breaking number of viewers, with 45 million households watching the series in its first month. This Emmy-nominated Netflix series follows a group of superhero siblings who reunite in adulthood after the death of their father. Is there a murder mystery for them to solve? Naturally. Oh, and they have to save the world from impending destruction, though no one is clear on exactly how that happens.

The offbeat and surprisingly emotional series might be a bit of a slow burn, but it has consistently been one of the more popular Netflix shows. With positive reviews for the acting and the gorgeous set design, "The Umbrella Academy" manages to deal with its central themes of identity and family relationships with depth and grace, bringing together a traumatized group of adults to deal with the fallout of their unique childhood.

"The Umbrella Academy" is also notable for the grace and sensitivity of its Season 3 subplot that incorporates Elliot Page's transition. Writer Thomas Page McBee helped weave some of Page's real-life experiences into the superhero and family narrative of "The Umbrella Academy." Since the season's release, Page has praised showrunner Steve Blackman for how the storyline was included, saying, "I think one of the most special things about this is how it's handled," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's not void of emotional moments with the siblings."

Gory horror for any Wednesday Addams fan

Probably the goriest and most violent series on our list today, "Yellowjackets" is a brash thriller that highlights the brutality of which humans are capable. Headlined by a phenomenal cast of A-list actresses, "Yellowjackets" doesn't shy away from the viciousness of teenage girls — this show contains little in the way of sugar and spice, and "everything nice," as the saying goes, is nowhere to be found. Thankfully, the prestige drama doesn't shy away from the portrayal of flawed female characters and difficult women.

This stand-out new horror-thriller series is told through two separate timelines — the first follows a team of high school girls whose plane crashes in the wilderness during the mid-'90s; the second picks up 25 years later with the same girls dealing with their adult lives and the dark deeds of their past. While the first season of "Yellowjackets" might lean more in the direction of "Lord of the Flies" than any supernatural story, it's certainly not short on creepy elements.

Starring Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, and Christina Ricci in a potential career-best performance, "Yellowjackets" gets more than a little dark by deconstructing the rigid structures of society and indulging in a bit of cannibalism.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "Yellowjackets" co-creator Ashley Lyle directly addressed the influence the 1954 novel "The Lord of the Flies" has on her show. The classic story of pre-teen boys turning feral focuses on "how socialization falls away and how society is a facade," she said. "We thought, who is more socialized than women? As girls, you learn early on how to make people like you and what the social hierarchies are. It's a more interesting way of having things fall away. The mask is even thicker."

Wednesday Addams would definitely watch this show.

The original monster killer

No list of teenage girls hunting down monsters in high school could ever be complete without the classic "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in this zeitgeist-defining late '90s supernatural cult sensation created by Joss Whedon. The series launched a franchise of a spinoff series, novels, and comic books.

Buffy is a typical teenage girl until she realizes she's the latest "slayer," a line of women who are given superhuman strength and abilities in their quest to rid the world of demons and vampires. The WB – a fledging network at the time — released its low-budget spooky teen drama in 1997, and it's hard to overstate the series' influence on popular culture. Not only is its main character quippy — famously slinging insults and banter at her adversaries and setting a standard for the speaking habits of dozens of movie superheroes in the process – but "Buffy" incorporates season-long arcs, a relatively new concept for a "monster of the week" show at the time. (Unless that monster-oriented show was marketed towards a different demographic and called "The X-Files.") 

"Buffy" isn't all about slaying monsters. Buffy and her "Scooby" gang of allies and friends deal with the difficulties of high school life, coming of age, and trying to date when your boyfriend is a 200-year-old vampire.

Time traveling witches and vampires

The 2018 show "A Discovery of Witches" asks "Where did supernatural creatures and monsters come from?" Based on Deborah Harkness' supernatural book series, "A Discovery of Witches" is basically "Outlander" meets dark academia meets adult witch school.

Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer), a witch, and Matthew Clairemont (Matthew Goode), a ridiculously old vampire, join forces to protect a mysterious book containing all supernatural species' origins. They also fall in love almost immediately, realizing they're destined to be a magical power couple. While it might lean a little too hard into the "fated mates" love story trope, "A Discovery of Witches" is at its best when it combines science, history, and magic, exploring the genetic origins of the Earth's creatures.

With demons, witches and vampires all forming the central heart of the show, Diana and Matthew travel across time, hiding from evil vampires and witch hunters. Though according to Palmer, the "idea of togetherness" is a central point of the series. "That we are stronger together is one of the main themes of this show," she told Collider.

A teenage love triangle

The early 2000s were utterly crazed by vampires. Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" YA novels dominated at the bookstore, the film versions were box offices smashes, and "True Blood" and "The Vampire Diaries" were both on our TV screens. Starring Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert, the first season of "The Vampire Diaries" centered on the love triangle between Elena and two vampire brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder).

After the death of her parents in a car crash, Elena lives with her aunt in the city of Mystic Falls. Mysterious deaths, monsters, and an overabundance of vampires conspire to kill Elena, forcing the brothers to protect (and lust after) Elena. There's plenty of high school drama in "The Vampire Diaries," with love triangles, murderous ex-friends, and more than a few evil doppelgangers to keep the twists and cliffhangers coming.

And if two angsty vampire brothers aren't enough to engage viewers, there's also not one, but two spinoff series for any superfan to enjoy. "The Originals" follows the first vampire family and their magical shenanigans. "Legacies" finished its four-season run in 2022 and is the perfect show for anyone who loves a dangerous magic school for supernatural teens learning to control their powers.

A gothic horror series

"Penny Dreadful" is British-American dark fantasy horror series that relies on classic characters from Victorian gothic literature. A creepy period drama, "Penny Dreadful" is set in London during the year 1891, where Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and American gunman Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) must battle the undead and mysterious creatures, all while fending off the lustful advances of Lucifer.

Not for the faint of heart, this dark fantasy horror series follows its macabre literary inspirations with a bit more blood and gore than readers might find in Bram Stoker's original "Dracula." While "Penny Dreadful" only ran for three seasons, the violently gothic drama was well-reviewed and nominated for multiple Emmy awards.

Despite the on-screen violence and bloody horror scenes, "Penny Dreadful" is about relationships, particularly in light of the amazing chemistry between Ethan and Vanessa. 

"At its core, 'Penny Dreadful' is about a few central characters that, in a way, become a family. All good drama is about families, really, and this show is no different ... It's really about people and the way they interact, and not necessarily about just the thrills and chills," Hartnett told HuffPost Canada.