A Fortunate Series for Netflix
Baudelaire’s Binge-Worthy Tale
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As Lemony Snicket once said, “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, then you would be better off somewhere else.”
To say I have been anticipating the release of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” would be a complete understatement. When the teaser graced my eyes, I felt a rush of hope that this series will right the wrongs of the Jim Carrey version that lacked any heart. I am pleased to announce that not only did this glue my heart back together; it had me glued to the screen.
The first episode opens with a wonderful theme song performed by Neil Patrick Harris, notably titled “Look Away”, which you should pay attention to in later episodes as it holds connections to the events of each episode. As the song ends, the viewer meets Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton), the narrator, and begins an opening monologue introducing the dark tale of the Baudelaire orphans.
Right off the bat, he explains this story has very few happy moments and teasingly advises the viewer to look away and gives a pause for you to do so. After this, expecting you stay, he introduces the Baudelaire children. Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Haynes) and Sunny (Presley Smith and voiced by Tara Strong).
I must compliment these actors as not only are these roles one of their first, but they all seem to cohesively work together on screen. I must also commend the editor for probably having to sift through a lot of footage of Presley Smith to find plausible shots where she seems to speak. Though it might have been easier since the baby is as cute as she is.
Immediately we are greeted with each children’s skills when Violet finishes a rock skipping machine as Klaus reads to her about the angle of prevailing currents, and Sunny provides a smoothly chewed skipping rock. Everything in these moments seem to set up a fun loving tale, but if you’re aware of the darkness in this series, you know the approaching Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman) is about to unfold the saddening tale of the Baudelaire’s parents.
After seeing the remains of the Baudelaire’s mansion and meeting the less than accommodating Poe family, Mr. Poe brings them to their closest relative, in this case closest means proximity. Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) is a terrible actor and and even worse guardian to the Baudelaires, as all he is after is the fortune.
Harris does an overall great performance as Olaf, but neither him nor Carrey’s Olaf struck the fear in me as they do the children. It’s a difficult character to pull off as you are acting like a bad actor while balancing the goofiness a creepiness of him. In general both Carrey and Harris stick with goofy since it’s their strong suit
The episode continues by showing you the horrors of living with Count Olaf, teasing you with the possibility of a happy ending, and leaving you with enough cliff hangers to not only watch the next episode, but finish the entire series in one sitting like I have.
Overall, this version enthralls you visually with the contrasting bright colors from the dark themes, but also connects to the child within us with the overarching theme that adults should listen to children and not disregard their voice merely because of their age.
Another season still seems to be a possibility, as Barry Sonnefeld, an executive producer at Netflix, has said, “We’re planning to do more, we haven’t been greenlit to do more but we already have scripts being written for the second season,” as well as having multiple actors set to return.
All in all, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is for all the book lovers, inventors and biters who just want to feel wanted.