Netflix creates new show based on children’s series


Elizabeth Duncan, Feature Editor

Lemony Snicket’s book series entitled A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the a tale of countless sorrow and woe for the characters it portrays. Snicket (also known as Daniel Handler) tells a tale of a trio of orphans, a dastardly actor out to get a fortune, and a secret organization. Netflix recently created an original series from an adaptation of the books, which includes a pleasant mixture of the original plot and some key differences to tell the rather unpleasant fate of the Baudelaire children.

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, played by Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith respectively, lose their parents and all of their belongings in a fire that burned down their home. Learning the news of their parents’ death while on an outing to Briny Beach, the trio must accompany Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman) of Mulctuary Money Management, who will retain the large fortune of the Baudelaires until Violet comes of age, to their new guardian. Within moments, they realize that their new guardian, Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) will not be a kind one. He has a strange theater troupe of henchmen that includes a hook handed man, two white-faced women, a bald man, and a “henchperson of indeterminate gender.”

The count forces the children to work around his run-down home, and plans to acquire their fortune by any means necessary. The children eventually leave his clutches and move on to other guardians, who meet untimely demises at the hands of Olaf and his crew.

The first season follows the course of the first four books of the thirteen book series. The plot stays fairly true to the books, with a few key elements changed, such as the appearance of Lemony Snicket, portrayed by Patrick Warburton. Throughout the course of all eight episodes, he pops up in a costume similar to those in the scenes he shows viewers. Actors using clever nods to Netflix and the tongue-in-cheek repetition of lines between actors add a hint of comedy to the dark tale of the three children. The overall ridiculous parts of the plot, including the gullible actions of the adults as they fall for Count Olaf’s treacherous ways, add to the comedic aspects of the show as well..

Netflix chose the show’s cast well. The actors all display their various quirks of their characters, work well together to bring Snicket’s story to life, and deliver their more comedic lines with a plainness that highlights the ironic and hilarious moments in the Baudelaire tale.

The production uses special effects wisely, and the first two episodes have the most computer-generated elements. Throughout the show, however, Sunny frequently becomes a mixture of effects and live-action, which at times can appear a bit unrealistic. The actual scenes provide atmosphere to the somber tone of the plot and help the viewer become engrossed in the show.

Compared to the 2004 movie of the same name, which features Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, the show far outshines its aforementioned predecessor. As the movie crammed the first three books into an hour and forty minutes, the Netflix series provides a more in-depth look at the book’s plot.

Every episode brings the viewer closer to the Baudelaires as they watch the trio evade the count. Moments of bonding between Violet and Klaus draw one to feel more empathy for the children, as well as the moments of sorrow that befall them at almost every turn. The cast does a wonderful job of bringing the story together in the well-designed scenes of the world their characters live in. The next season has not been confirmed by Netflix yet, but the story will hopefully continue in the wonderful fashion of the first eight episodes, if the show does continue.