How Netflix’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” Lived up to the Books

How Netflix’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” Lived up to the Books


Book nerds collectively rejoiced when Netflix announced that it would be reviving Lemony Snicket’s classic novels “A Series of Unfortunate Events” as an eight-episode Netflix original series. Some avid readers, such as myself, were skeptical about how this adaptation would turn out since book to film adaptations have a notorious reputation of butchering the original.

Despite that possibility, I decided to brace myself and start watching the series for myself. Here is the verdict from a lifelong Snicket fan:

Definitely not feeling Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf.
Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf
Image via comingsoon.net

I know the film adaptation was responsible for making Count Olaf a bit of a comedic character, but at least Jim Carrey’s Count Olaf was still somewhat sinister. Harris’ is just a joke and I can’t take him seriously as a villain WHO IS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO KILL THREE ORPHANS. Like that’s literally the whole plot, can he at least be somewhat scary?

 

But I was all about the casting of the Baudelaire orphans.
The three Baudelaire orphans huddle together
Image via ew.com

The orphans are supposed to be likable, intelligent, mature and sarcastic to boot. The young actors who were cast as the orphans, Malina Weissman as Violet, Louis Hynes as Klaus and Presley Smith as Sunny did a fantastic job of capturing each character’s personalities.

 

Joan Cusack WOULD play Justice Strauss.
Joan Cusack in full costume as Justice Strauss
Image via avclub.com

Joan Cusack has a tendency to play uptight, high-strung characters and Justice Strauss is no different. Cusack did a great job of playing the hopelessly oblivious Justice who fails to save the Baudelaire orphans. If only she played Aunt Josephine in episode 5. *sigh*

 

Excuse me, but the Baudelaire parents MIGHT be alive? Since when?!
A mystery couple who might be the Baudelaire parents
Image via moviepilot.com

I can’t handle major curveballs, especially when it comes in a book to film adaptation, simply because it’s not canon. And you know what kind of curveballs are the worst? The ones where dead characters are seemingly written back to life. The Baudelaire parents are dead, don’t make me pick a fight with you, Netflix.

 

The sets are beautiful recreations of Brett Helquist’s original illustrations.
Uncle Monty stands outside his whimsical, colorful home
Image via romper.com

There is something so charming and almost Dr. Seuss-esque of the show’s sets. They are so quirky and whimsical, but that just adds to the appeal. I mean, look at Uncle Monty’s home. Wes Anderson wishes he made this set.

 

Lemony Snicket constantly breaks the fourth wall to address the viewers.
Lemony Snicket narrates the Baudelaire's story
Image via vox.xom

Just like the books! Snicket always interrupts the plot to interject with something along the lines of “you should stop reading this” or “it’s about to get much worse,” something the Netflix series got so, so right.

 

The series got straight to VFD since episode 1.
A mysterious eye insignia and papers hint at VFD's meaning
Image via moviepilot.com

A central subplot to the series is the Baudelaires uncovering the truth behind VFD, a super, secret organization that may hold all the answers about their parent’s death, why Count Olaf is after their fortune and all the misfortune they come across in the 13-book series. Thankfully the series brought it up in episode 1, throwing viewers headfirst into the Baudelaire’s confusing world with Easter eggs in every episode.

 

The Verdict:

Even though Count Olaf irritated me to no end, the show itself did a great job of staying true to the books. I still caught the same feels that I did from reading the books and it was overall a much more developed and entertaining adaptation than the film. Here’s to hoping that season two gets deeper and darker!

 

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