I’m sorry to inform you that A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix is a highly addictive and incredibly lamentable story of the Baudelaires.
The series premiered on Netflix on Jan. 13, releasing all eight episodes to binge watch if you so dare. Netflix took on the adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s children’s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events which were published in 1999. The series includes 13 books following Snicket’s stories of the misadventures the Baudelaire orphans endure and their escapes from Count Olaf’s schemes to get their fortune.
The Netflix adaptation takes the first four books of the series, A Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, and The Miserable Mill, splitting each book into two 50 minute episodes, which gives the deserved time and dedication to each book. This is unlike the adaptation that was done in 2004 by Paramount Studios and Nickelodeon, which jammed the first three books of the series into a very condensed one hour and 48 minutes.
The show stars the aspiring actor Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), as the new guardian of the Baudelaires after their massive inheritance. Sunny Baudelaire (played by Presley Smith, voiced by Tara Strong) who likes to bite things with her four teeth, Violet Baudelaire (Malina Weissman) the inventor, who always ties her hair in a ribbon when her inventor gears start, and Klaus Baudelaire (Louis Hynes), the reader. Although they are young and have vast differences in qualities, they are all incredibly intelligent.
They start off in the first episode spending their day at the beach and Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman) meets the children shortly after to warn them that their parents have passed away in a fire, which begins their “series of unfortunate events”.
The series continues and follows the children in their encounters with adults that seemingly want to understand and help them, but fail to do so, ultimately leaving them to save themselves from Olaf’s miserable disguises.
This adaptation, unlike the movie in 2004, stayed true to the books. The details in the settings alone are apt and keep the true tone of the books. The beach is cold and gray, Olaf’s house is as dark and disgusting as the villain he is, and even the characters give off the same tone of misfortune. The most vital part, just as in the books, is that Snicket (Patrick Warburton) narrates the Baudelaire’s story, popping in and out as a fly on the wall. The difference in this adaptation is that Snicket is actually on screen, or blatantly showing his face instead of being in the shadows, adding an omnipotent characteristic to Warburton’s character.
Daniel Handler, commonly known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket, had a lot to do in order for the series to maintain the true essence the books had. In the 2004 adaptation, Handler and Barry Sonnenfeld started off in the production and writing of the movie. However, due to some financial setbacks, they were scraped off the script leaving Handler and his script completely out of the movie, which really deviated from the books.
Lemony Snicket and Count Olaf will continue to remind and urge you to change shows while watching this new series when you stream it on Netflix, but for those with a strong stomach, don’t take their advice.