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Addams Family: How (and where) to watch the movies and the TV shows so you don't get (too) kooky

Want to get started on watching The Addams Family? Here's how to do it!

The Addams Family from Wednesday
Image credit: Netflix

They’re creepy and they’re kooky….but aren’t we all?

The Addams Family are not like the Waltons or the Bradys. Unlike other classic sitcom families, the Addams embrace their weirdness. They look and behave like characters from a classic horror film, but the Addams are far from dysfunctional. Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Lurch, Wednesday, Pugsley, Thing, and Grandmama Addams might actually be one of the most well-adjusted families you’ll ever see on television. They know who they are, and they’re proud of it.

In 1938 cartoonist Charles Addams created the macabre family for a series of New Yorker comic strips. The strips became the basis for a hit 1964 sitcom, and the rest is history. Today the legacy of the family continues, with the Netflix series Wednesday becoming one of the streamer’s biggest hits.

If the success of Wednesday has inspired you to get better acquainted with the Addams, we’ve got you covered. This guide will break down everything you need to know about watching The Addams Family in release and chronological order.

How to watch The Addams Family in release order

The original Addams Family cast
Image credit: ABC

Are you ready to meet the Addams? If you want to watch every piece of Addams Family media in release order, here is how to do it! You might notice that multiple projects are simply titled ‘The Addams Family.’ To help distinguish them, pay attention to how we label each piece of media. The release years are particularly important.

How to watch The Addams Family in chronological order

Wednesday and Cousin Fester walking through the woods
Image credit: Netflix

There have been numerous Addams Family projects, but not all of them take place in the same chronology. The franchise has been rebooted a few times over the years, which could make things confusing. Not to worry, just use this list as a road map. Of course, it’s also important to remember that The Addams Family isn’t like Star Trek or the Marvel Universe where continuity is strictly observed. In other words, you won’t find many differences when you travel between different Addams Family continuities. With that in mind, here is a quick rundown on their various chronologies…

The OG Addams

This is where The Addams Family came to television for the first time. The original 1964 sitcom adapted the popular New Yorker cartoon, expanding on the characterizations of the wacky family. The sitcom ran for two seasons before being cancelled in 1966. In 1977 NBC aired Halloween with the New Addams Family, a reunion special that featured most of the original cast.

  • The Addams Family (64-episode live-action sitcom, 1964-1966)
  • Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977 television special)
The 70s Cartoon

In 1972 The Addams Family made their animation debut when they were featured on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Their appearance was successful enough for Hanna-Barbera to launch a new cartoon starring the eccentric family. The Addams Family took some deviations from the original sitcom, with the family traveling the country in a motorized version of their mansion. The series is notable for featuring a young Jodie Foster as the voice of Pugsley.

  • The Addams Family (16-episode animated series, 1973)
The Musical Variety Universe
  • The Addams Family Fun-House (live-action musical variety special, 1973)

One thing you have to realize about the 70s is that everyone had a musical variety show. The Brady Bunch had one, Sonny and Cher had one, and so did the Jacksons. It was all the rage. In 1973 ABC tried to give The Addams Family the musical variety treatment, and it didn’t take. The Addams Family Fun-House didn’t feature any of the original cast, but it did feature lots of singing and dancing…or so we’re told. The special is not available to view anywhere, and it’s currently considered lost media. The Addams probably prefer it that way.

The Live-Action Paramount Films

In 1991 Paramount Pictures brought the Addams Family to the big screen. The film combined the zany energy of the 1964 sitcom with the irreverent nature of the original New Yorker cartoons. The movie reenergized the family’s pop culture footprint, introducing them to a new generation of fans. The film is also notable for introducing fans to Christina Ricci. A sequel followed in 1993, providing more creepy and kooky adventures for the family.

  • The Addams Family (1991 live-action film)
  • Addams Family Values (1993 live-action film)
The 90s Cartoon

The success of the 1991 feature film inspired ABC to commission a Saturday morning cartoon. Once again, Hanna-Barbera handled the animation, modernizing the Addams for a 90s audience. Although the series took many of its cues from the recent live-action movie, it was clearly set in its own continuity. The cartoon was also notable for casting John Astin as Gomez, reprising the role he made famous in the original 1964 sitcom.

  • The Addams Family (21-episode animated series, 1992-1993)
The New Addams Family

In 1998 Saban Entertainment released The Addams Family Reunion, a direct-to-video film. Although some of the imagery evoked the Paramount movies, The Addams Family Reunion was a complete continuity reboot. The movie dropped most of the adult themes from the Paramount films and gave the Addams a more child-friendly tone. In other words, it was a live-action cartoon. The film served as a backdoor pilot for Saban’s 1998 sitcom, The New Addams Family. The series recycled many of the scripts from the original 1964 sitcom. Aside from Nicole Fugere, who played Wednesday, none of the cast from Reunion reprised their role for the sitcom.

  • Addams Family Reunion (1998 live-action direct-to-video film)
  • The New Addams Family (65-episode live-action sitcom, 1998-1999)
MGM Animated Movies

In 2019 MGM Studios (in association with United Artists) produced an animated Addams Family film. The movie captured the energy of contemporary children’s films, while staying true to the spirit of the original Addams television series. A sequel followed in 2021.

  • The Addams Family (2019 animated film)
  • The Addams Family 2 (2021 animated film)
The Wednesday-verse

Wednesday is the latest piece of media in the Addams franchise. The Netflix series focuses on Wednesday Addams, following her adventures at Nevermore Academy. Horror producer extraordinaire Tim Burton is one of the creative voices behind the series, which has proved to be a big hit for Netflix. An untitled Uncle Fester spin-off is currently in the works.

  • Wednesday (ongoing live-action comedy-horror series)
  • Untitled Uncle Fester spin-off (TBA)

Where else have the Addams Family appeared?

The Addams Family meet Scooby Doo
Image credit: Hanna-Barbera

The Addams Family get around, so don’t be surprised if you find them outside of their usual television shows or movies. In 1972 The Addams Family made a guest appearance on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies titled ‘Wednesday is Missing.’ The episode was the first time the spooky family had been on television (aside from reruns) since the cancellation of their show in 1966. Most of the original cast reprised their roles for the episode, making it a bona fide Addams reunion. The popularity of this episode caused Hanna-Barbera to greenlight the 1973 Addams Family animated series.

In 1994 the cast of Paramount’s Addams Family films reprised their roles for a series of Japanese commercials for Honda Odyssey. These commercials can be found on YouTube, and they are just as weird as you are imagining. But isn’t that on brand for the Addams?

In 2007 the Addams were transformed into M&M’s for an odd marketing company. M&M’s aired a series of commercials advertising their dark chocolate line. The commercials featured the M&M versions of the Addams, complete with the familiar theme song.

Do I need to watch The Addams Family to understand Wednesday?

A young girl with dark pigtails snapping her fingers, while a disembodied hand sits on her shoulder - also snapping its fingers.
Image credit: Netflix

Wednesday has been a runaway hit for Netflix, quickly becoming one of their most streamed shows. So it’s probably a good time to start watching it. The question is, do you need to watch decades of Addams Family lore before starting Wednesday? You will be pleased to know that the answer is no. Fans of The Addams Family will enjoy fun references to past iterations of the franchise, but you don’t need to understand them to enjoy the show. Wednesday takes the franchise in a new direction, focusing the stories on Wednesday’s adventures at Nevermore Academy. It doesn’t rely heavily on Addams Family lore, and you can come into the show with a blank slate.

Is Wednesday getting a spin-off?

Still image of Wednesday with Thing perched on her shoulder
Image credit: Netflix

Wednesday has been a big hit for Netflix, so it’s only natural that they would want more. According to Bloomberg, that’s just what they’re planning. A spin-off starring Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester is currently in the works. There is currently no official announcement from Netflix, and no firm release date, so plans may change. However, Armisen’s Fester was a fun addition during his brief appearance in Wednesday season 1, so we would certainly welcome more of him.

Is The Addams Family connected to The Munsters?

The Munsters
Image credit: Universal Television

Spooky families ruled the airwaves in 1964. Premiering 6 days after The Addams Family, The Munsters was a sitcom about a family of monsters. Their appearances were based off of classic Universal monsters like Frankenstein. According to co-creator Allan Burns, the idea had been ripped off of The Addams Family strips from The New Yorker. Due to the similarities in theme, both shows were constantly compared to one another. The cast of The Addams Family despised these comparisons, and went out of their way to make sure none of their guest stars had ever appeared on The Munsters.

Although the shows seem similar, there are some significant differences. The Addams were an eccentric family that looked human, while The Munsters were a family of monsters who acted ‘normal.’ Although they were often confused for one another, the two shows are unrelated and have never crossed over.

When can I watch The Addams Family

The Addams Family (2021)
Image credit: MGM

How many creepy and kooky streaming services do you need to enjoy The Addams Family? As of this writing, Netflix is the streaming home for the 1991 Addams Family film, and the smash hit series Wednesday. Incidentally, the 1991 film can also be found on Paramount+, alongside its 1993 sequel Addams Family Values, and the 2019 animated film. Halloween with the New Addams Family (retitled: The Addams Family Halloween Special) can be found on Tubi. The original 1964 sitcom can be streamed for free on PlutoTV. Please note, some of these projects might wind up on different streaming services as licenses expire and new agreements are made.

They really are a scream! Sit back and enjoy The Addams Family!

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.

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