Netflix is known for creating some of the best series, and now Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events can join that list. Ever since Netflix announced that they were going to create a series based on the famed books by Snicket and that Neil Patrick Harris was going to play Count Olaf, Netflix subscribers have anxiously awaited its release. Well, the wait is over, and the binge can begin.
Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Plot
Three well-to-do siblings (the Baudelaire siblings) lose their parents in a fire, and their evil uncle (a thief, murderer, and kidnapper) tries to gain custody of the children. It’s not often that dark comedies are appropriate for the entire family, but this one is.
The original children’s books by Snicket (real name Daniel Handler) consist of 13 novels. Where the 2004 film adaptation starring Jim Carrey was a mishmash of the first three novels, the first season of the Netflix series covers the first four novels (The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, and The Miserable Mill) in detail. There is a total of eight episodes in the first season (each story getting two parts), so it feels more like four movies rather than individual episodes.
The 2004 movie was intended to be the start of a new franchise, like Harry Potter, but that never came to light. However, Netflix is planning on covering all 13 stories in three seasons. The series has already been renewed for a second season (covering books five through nine), and a presumable third season will cover the remaining novels.
Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Cast
Although some viewers were upset that one movie covered three books, most were very pleased with the laugh-out-loud performance of Jim Carrey portraying Count Olaf. With both Olaf and Carrey being larger-than-life personalities, it was crucial that the big shoes left to be filled were filled properly, and they were. Neil Patrick Harris as the diabolical uncle is spot-on casting.
IndieWire expounds on Harris’ performance in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
“A Series of Unfortunate Events proves as inspirational and endearing as it claims to be forlorn and heartbreaking. Not enough can be said for Neil Patrick Harris’ extensively ranged, yet perfectly measured performance.”
Patrick Warburton (The Tick) portrays Lemony Snicket (who is the narrator of the story). Super-inventor Violet Baudelaire is played by Malina Weissman (Supergirl). Super-reader Klaus Baudelaire is portrayed by Louis Hynes. And super-biter Sunny Baudelaire is portrayed by an adorable baby. Netflix subscribers can also look forward to a handful of cameos and some surprise casting along the way (that won’t be named here since this is a spoiler-free review).
Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Delivery
The series has already garnered a score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and the site Critics Consensus describes Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix.
“Enjoyably dark, A Series of Unfortunate Events matches the source material’s narrative as well as its tone, leaving viewers with a wonderfully weird, dry, gothic comedy.”
Some diehard fans of the novels were disappointed with the 2004 film because they felt it was rushed, and that it didn’t stay as close to the original stories as it should. Well, those haters will most likely be lovers of the newest adaptation. Daniel Handler is an executive producer of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and that is very apparent throughout the story.
The cast works really well together, and Kenneth Todd Freeman (The Dark Knight) as Arthur Poe gives a standout performance. His chemistry with Neil Patrick Harris’ variety of characters is nothing short of hilarious.
Where some felt that Sunny was a bit too Michelle Tanner-esque in the film, her character is used sparingly and properly in the Netflix series. Because the film felt so rushed, it also felt like Violet and Klaus were inventing or reading something every five minutes. But there is no overkill in this Netflix series; the characters are revealed and built properly.
Whether you are a longtime fan of the books or a newcomer, audiences of all varieties and ages should find Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events to be endearing and inspiring (albeit of an unfortunate nature).
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[Featured Image by Netflix]