Netflix releases A Series of Unfortunate Events
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – On Jan. 13, the first season of the Netflix original series A Series of Unfortunate Events was released. The show is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman and Patrick Warburton.
The show is an adaptation of the children’s books written by Lemony Snicket, the pen name of author Daniel Handler. Many young adults may recall reading these books in their childhood, as Handler published the first installment in 1999. There are 13 books total in the series, with the last novel concluding the story in 2006.
The first season of the Netflix series covers the first four of Handler’s books (The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill) in a total of eight episodes. Two episodes are devoted to each book, efficiently capturing Handler’s unique form of storytelling. To ensure that the series does not deviate from the original work, Handler signed up to assist with its production by serving as an executive producer on the project.
In the thrilling and imaginative series, the three main characters are informed that their parents have been killed in a mysterious fire. The young and highly intelligent Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are then sent to live with Count Olaf, who is presumably their closest living relative. However, immediately after meeting the count, the children realize that he is after their great fortune. Throughout the books, the children run away from the count as he pursues them with his gang of silly yet fiendish followers. At the same time, the children attempt to learn more about their parents and discover the many secrets that follow them.
The show’s cast and production team are exceptional in recreating the books and translating the magic of Handler’s words to a screen. The show has a gloomy mood and features a lot of dark comedy. Characters make several references to literature and cultural ideas. There is also a large value placed on intelligence in the show, since many of the adult characters are portrayed as foolish and immature, while the Baudelaire children are reasonable and possess great minds.
One of the strongest aspects of the show is the mystery surrounding the Baudelaire family. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny attempt to piece together the puzzle of the secret society to which their parents belong, and there are hints in each episode for people unfamiliar with the series trying to figure it out. Not only is the plot of the show engaging, but the recurring theme of secrecy and constant questioning of the characters is sure to entertain audiences and keep them streaming more.
Neil Patrick Harris, who has made a name for himself in theatre, film and television throughout his career, plays Count Olaf. Harris is known for his comedic skill and over-the-top acting ability, which comes through his hilarious portrayal of the villain. Count Olaf runs an acting troupe full of his minions who go to absurd lengths to fulfill their masters wishes. Many of the schemes that Count Olaf plans require extensive costumes. Harris also shows off some of his musical talent by performing a musical number about his character in the very first episode, inserting some joy into the dismal tone of the show.
The show has been renewed for a second season, which will include ten more episodes covering the next five novels. The production team is planning on a third season to finish off the series.