The Addams Family is a beloved media franchise that follows the gruesome and goofy members of the family and is based on the popular cartoon by Charles Addams. First published in The New Yorker in 1938, the eccentric aristocrats have appeared in publication over the course of 50 years, leading to future television and film adaptations that remain fan favorites. The bizarre gang made their small-screen debut in the 1964 live-action television series The Addams Family, introducing the masses to iconic characters like the eccentric and amorous Gomez and Morticia, and their sullen children Wednesday and Pugsley.
The cartoon has been reviewed and remade countless times over the years, with some versions faring much better than others. Surprisingly, no TV version of The AddamsFamily lasted more than two seasons, and yet it has been entrenched in the cultural lexicon for a long time. Back in the 1990s, Barry Sonnenfeld thrilled cartoon fans with his brilliant reimagining of the characters with the hit The Addams Family and Addams Family Values, with Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christina Ricci. The king of goth himself, Tim Burton, co-created the highly hyped series Wednesday, which is set to premiere on Netflix on November 23rd. In honor of its impending debut, let’s take a look at each adaptation of The Addams Family.
9/9 The Addams Family 2 (2021)
Follow the iconic macabre family as they embark on a thrilling road trip across the country, The Addams Family 2 is the goofy sequel to the 2019 animated hit that features a stunning top-notch voice cast including Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Bette Midler. In this take on the beloved franchise, the goofy characters go up against Cyrus Strange, Bill Hader’s hilarious mad scientist and schemer, who claims to be Wednesday’s real biological father and chases the family on their vacation. The sequel was a box office success but was not well received by critics, with many feeling that the film did not do justice to the essence of the characters or their delightfully peculiar humor.
8/9 Addams Family Reunion (1998)
Horror icon Tim Curry is undeniably the biggest part of 1998’s scary comedy Addams Family Reunion, in which the This The star portrays Gomez alongside Daryl Hannah’s Morticia, with the film chronicling the family’s efforts to hold a family reunion to find a cure for Gomez’s grandparents who are slowly becoming “normal.”
Instead of adopting the romantic, lothario approach of the late, great Raul Julia, Curry decided to fully embrace the weirdness of Gomez and made his character deliciously weird. Although compared unfavorably to ’90s film adaptations, Curry’s performance in Addams Family Reunion received critical acclaim and was considered the remake’s bright spot.
7/9 The Addams Family (1992-1993)
On the heels of the huge success of the 1991 live-action remake, the producers decided to give the family back the animated treatment and make the 1992 series The Addams Family. Focusing on the clan as they go about their daily lives in their gothic ancestral home in Happydale Heights, the program sought to tone down their true macabre tendencies and nature in order to appeal to a young audience. Fans of the franchise quickly noticed that Gomez’s affinity for cigars was gone, as were the affectionate and frantic banter between him and Morticia. The show aired in cartoon form on Saturday mornings and ran for two seasons before being canceled.
6/9 The New Addams Family (1998-1999)
In 1998, the Fox Family Channel brought audiences a new rendition of the gruesome gang with the sitcom The New Addams Family, centered on the close-knit Addams as they go about their days nurturing their supernatural powers and morbid hobbies and interests. Although it only lasted a year, its 65 episodes were regularly syndicated, and for most Millennials and Gen Z individuals, this is probably the most well-known version of The Addams Family.
Glenn Taranto and Ellie Harvie step into the chilling shoes of Gomez and Morticia, while original series star John Astin (who once played the patriarch) appeared as new character Grandpa Addams. The show attempted to modernize the story by infusing contemporary jokes and references into the dialogue, and some of its episodes were direct remakes of episodes from the original program.
5/9 The Addams Family (1973)
Hanna Barbera Productions (The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo) decided to bring back the 60s series with 73s The Addams Family, enlisting original stars Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester) and Ted Cassidy (Lurch) to voice their former counterparts. The adaptation starred future Oscar winner Jodie Foster as Pugsley and follows the family on a cross-country excursion across America in their creepy Gothic-style camper, inadvertently causing mischief and chaos along the way.
The spooky characters made their first animated appearances in a scooby-doo crossover episode before a full series was commissioned and were drawn in the style of the original Charles Addams comics. The wacky program only lasted one season.
4/9 The Addams Family (2019)
Directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan have teamed up to create the 2019 animated supernatural dark comedy The Addams Family, in which the spooky characters face off against a devious reality TV host who wants to rid the city of the clan in order to achieve her coveted planned community.
Alongside Charlize Theron (Morticia) and Oscar Isaac (Gomez), Chloë Grace Moretz will perform on Wednesday and stranger things Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley, and the film also depicts the arrival of the family’s hair cousin, Itt (voiced by Snoop Dogg, believe it or not). The adaptation was a blockbuster hit and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Animated Feature, and its success led to its 2021 follow-up. The Addams Family 2.
3/9 The Addams Family (1964-1966)
The legendary black comedy sitcom that helped launch the enduring media franchise, 1964 The Addams Family was the first episode based on the popular cartoons, and it introduced audiences around the world to the creepy and goofy clan. Series creator David Levy set out to capture the magic and essence of the cartoon, expressing in an interview that he wanted to make them a real family: “These are not grotesque, hideous manifestations. At the same time, we protect the images. [Charles] The “children” of Addams, as he calls them. We live up to the spirit of his cartoons. He is more than just a designer. He is a social commentator and a great mind.”
The influential series featured the iconic theme song that fans know and love, with famed composer Vic Mizzy crafting the instantly recognizable melody that used finger snaps and harpsichord. The sitcom ran for two seasons and 64 episodes, establishing a lucrative film and TV franchise despite its surprisingly short time on the small screen.
2/9 Addams Family Values (1993)
Wonderfully embracing the dark and macabre nature of the original series, Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1993 dark comedy Addams Family Values is the highly anticipated sequel to the 1991 picture which focuses on the eccentric family as sullen teens Wednesday and Pugsley are sent to summer camp and Uncle Fester is chased by a gorgeous serial killer bent on stealing his legacy.
Joan Cusack portrays the dangerous vixen, joining the stunning cast led by Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christina Ricci in the star-studded adaptation; the film marks the last film released by Julia during her lifetime, who died in 1994. The version was a modest box office success and won critical acclaim for its story, humor and outstanding performance.
1/9 The Addams Family (1991)
Undeniably one of the greatest Halloween staples and film adaptations of all time, Barry Sonnenfeld’s acclaimed 1991 dark comedy supernatural The Addams Family perfectly captures the bizarre charm of the legendary gang while infusing the characters with goofy wit and endearing eccentricities. Christina Ricci delivers a stunning performance as Wednesday Addams, appearing alongside Latin lothario Raul Julia as Gomez and Anjelica Huston as raven-haired matriarch Morticia. In the blockbuster, the morbid family seemingly reunites with Gomez’s brother, Fester (a perfect Christopher Lloyd), unaware that the man wishes to steal the Addams fortune.
The Addams Family was a huge hit with audiences and did well with critics, with The Washington Post writing in its rave review, “More than just a sequel to the television series, the film is a compendium of the macabre drawings of the father of Charles Addams family, a resurrection of the cartoonist’s designs For friends of the family, it would seem a viewing is in order mortis.” Huston went on to earn a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal and the remake earned a nod. Oscar eye for costume design The overwhelming popularity of black comedy led to the success of the follow-up Addams Family Values in 1993.