There's every reason to believe Netflix's "Wednesday" will be a monster hit.
Its 1960s ancestor, "The Addams Family," only lasted two seasons, probably because of stiff competition from the goofier "The Munsters," which debuted around the same time. But both sitcoms became popular in syndication.
The two big-screen versions of the Addams adventures were box-office smashes, thanks largely to Christina Ricci's performance as goth daughter Wednesday. She delivered a master class in deadpan comedy.
Her replacement, Jenna Ortega, may be even better. In the opening scene, she gets revenge on bullies by dropping flesh-eating fish into their swimming pool. The act forces her parents (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán) to send her to Nevermore Academy, a school for marginalized misfits that could bring Harry Potter to tears.
In some ways, the newcomer is the ideal student. She speaks Italian, plays brilliant cello and has actually cracked a hardcover book. Best of all, she despises cellphones, which means she hasn't been warped by TikTok videos.
But our hero is less than thrilled about boarding school. She'd rather be putting dolls' heads in a homemade guillotine.
"You're making me nauseous — and not in a good way," she says as her folks drop her off.
In the original TV series and single-panel cartoons, which started appearing in the New Yorker in 1938, the Addams family just wanted to fit in. Not this modern-day Wednesday. She craves solitude, so much so that she fantasizes about strangling her chipper roommate in her sleep.
"She's not the girl of your dreams," her school rival says to a classmate who appears to have a goth fetish. "She's the stuff of your nightmares."
The first couple of episodes hint that Wednesday will warm up, especially when she gets embroiled in a murder-mystery. Fine. Until then, she's the perfect role model for anyone who has ever preferred to spend Friday night with no one for company except Ben and Jerry.
She's the perfect antidote for those who have watched the "Enola Holmes" movies. Millie Bobby Brown is fantastic as that young detective, but her can-do spirit leaves you with a sugar high. Wednesday is the perfect come-down.
Ortega, who previously appeared in CW's "Jane the Virgin," has expert comic timing and expressive eyes. It's a hoot to watch her scenes with Ricci, who pops up as a dorm mother. She also has great chemistry with Thing, the free-wheeling hand that serves as her Watson, but without a voice to interrupt her funk.
The 20-year-old actor isn't the series' only standout.
Tim Burton, the genius behind "Batman" and "Ed Wood," hasn't made a truly memorable movie since 2001's "Planet of the Apes." He passed on the chance to direct the 1991 film, leaving the door open for Barry Sonnenfeld.
Now he finally gets a chance to put his spin on the franchise. He doesn't disappoint.
Burton, who directed half of the eight episodes, takes full advantage of his first serious TV venture, pumping up the thrills in simple sequences such as a fencing match, while dropping Easter eggs that only astute horror fans will pick up.
The macabre set designs are such a throwback to Burton's early work that you half expect his old friend Beetlejuice to stop by for a malt.
Not everyone will appreciate "Wednesday's" dry, dark wit. Those who miss the more upbeat nature of the 1960s "The Addams Family" can rewatch them on the free streaming services Roku, Pluto and Tubi.
The rest of us will be busy getting nauseous. In a good way.