As many fans of children’s literature will know, Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” was released as a Netflix Original Series on Jan. 13—a Friday, fittingly.
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” follows the story of the three Baudelaire children after their parents are killed in a fire that destroys their home. They are passed from relative to relative in search of a place they can call home while simultaneously trying to escape the clutches of the dubious Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris.
I read the series voraciously in grade school and was overjoyed when the film, which encapsulated the first three novels, was released in 2004. Despite the film not absolutely thrilling me, I was disappointed when no more films were announced, and I patiently waited 13 years. It was worth it.
Harris as Count Olaf is frightening yet extremely enjoyable (and that’s coming from someone who liked Jim Carrey’s performance in the film). And the children, Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny (Presley Smith), are perfect for the roles. This run of the series seems to be a lot more racially diverse in casting as well, which is fantastic.
With Daniel Handler (the author and journalist who wrote the series) penning the script, Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is gold. Unlike the film and very much like the novels, the story’s narrator Lemony Snicket is heavily involved in the story. Snicket is an on-screen character played by Patrick Warburton who frequently interjects with stone-faced quips and unusual notes, much like the books. Warburton noted in an interview with Inverse Entertainment that he had
an important role to play—despite his character having no on-screen interaction with another.
“It’s a smart series, it doesn’t patronize or talk down to kids. It does the exact opposite, in showing that young people are much more aware and cognizant of the world around them as adults give them credit for,” said Warburton. “All the adults in the series—including the well-meaning ones—create nothing but problems because they just don’t get it. It’s important not to be spoon-feeding anything in this series, including the narrative. The writing is funny and smart and doesn’t need to be a wink or a nod, or ‘isn’t this cute, what I just said?’ It needs to be pretty straightforward. My task is simply to not ruin things.”
Season one covers the first four books—“The Bad Beginning,” “The Reptile Room,” “The Wide Window,” and “The Miserable Mill”—in eight episodes. At one hour a piece, it is well worth the time to watch this series. It is far better, darker, and accurate to the books than the film. There’s already been rumors of Handler writing a second season—but nothing has been confirmed nor denied.
Fun Fact: The section on this site under “Thoughts” called “A Series of Awkward Events” was inspired by the book series, because my life isn’t unfortunate (at least not by these standards), but it certainly is awkward.