The New Addams Family (Fox, 1998-1999)
You might remember a while ago when I looked back The Munsters Today, an amusingly ramshackle remake of the spooky sitcom that clogged up too many weekend afternoon schedules on ITV in the early-90s. Well of course there was another popular sitcom with a rather similar idea that also launched on American TV in the same week in 1964.
The Addams Family was created by Charles Addams and they first appeared in magazines before transferring to TV, with the show ending after 64 episodes in 1966. But there was another wave of interest in the early-90s when there were two successful films, along with a short-lived cartoon (that was also shown on CBBC) and plenty of computer games. So it was felt that the sitcom should be given another go too.
The New Addams Family launched in 1998, and it was a Canadian production, shown on Fox in America. The show aimed to win a new generation of fans 35 years on from the original, but changing the famous opening theme music wouldn’t help them. The Addams lived in a big mansion, and featured husband-and-wife Gomez (Glenn Taranto) and Morticia (Ellie Harvie).
Now if you’re a regular you’ll know that I have become rather fond of 80s pop stars who seem to have Morticia as their style icon which is one of the reasons I took an interest in this one. Also featuring are the children Pugsley and Wednesday, along with Uncle Fester, Grandmama, the servant Lurch, Thing the hand, and Cousin Itt, they were a rather unusual lot.
Now it was clear that Gomez and “Tish” were rather fond of each other, and he always liked to kiss her arm, usually while the others were doing some rather creepy things that frightened the neighbours. These included using their supernatural powers accompanied by some fancy special effects. Also, in one reference to the original version, John Astin (who played Gomez in the 60s) made some occasional appearances as Grandpapa.
Some of the original episodes were recycled for this version, which stretched to 65 episodes (one more than the original) that were shown in America in less than a year. In this country there were some episodes shown on ITV in a Saturday afternoon slot, just like The Munsters Today was about a decade earlier. I don’t think there was ever a VHS or DVD release though.
It was always going to come off second-best to the original version though, and some thought that it was inferior by comparison, but at least they give it a go at bringing the show up to date. And another two decades on from this, there was yet another wave of interest when the family returned once again for another film, which this time was computer-animated.