Netflix shows more promise with “A Series of Unfortunate Events”


Joe Lederer/Netflix

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Molly Archer and Carter Diggs

Netflix has aired the first season to its new show, “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” which is based on the books by the producer of the show, Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket.

The show follows the lives of the ill-fated Baudelaire children. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, after being informed that their parents have perished in a fire, are sent to live with their closest living relative, the renowned “actor” Count Olaf.

Two episodes are given to each book in order to properly flesh out the plot and give an accurate depiction of each miserable place that the orphans go to live.  This allows the show to give a much more complete story to the viewers than the 2004 movie of the same name.

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” reveals how oblivious and evil the world can sometimes be and how little attention is sometimes paid to the big issues.

The actors and actresses in the show overall give a strong performance. Despite giving off a somewhat woody disposition, Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes well portray the calm, collected, and sometimes quirky qualities that the Baudelaire children possess.  Patrick Warburton provides a strange, Twilight Zone-esque feel to the show as the narrator and K. Todd Freeman brings some nice comic relief.

The true star of the show, however, is Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf.  Harris steals the show as Olaf, portraying both his light hearted goofiness and the darker, more sinister side wonderfully.  He also does a fantastic job at effortlessly switching between the Count and his many disguises on a moment’s notice.  Sure, he might have a leg up on the other actors due to his experience, but it really shows in his performance.

One thing that also stands out is the excellent production value.  The soundtrack is wonderful and draws the viewer into the series.  The color used is fantastic; the bright and vivid neighborhood the Baudelaires arrive in give the dingy surroundings of Olaf’s estate an excellent and stark contrast.  Each locale the family comes to gives its own distinct vibe, enhancing the tone.  The only place the production value really drops is in the occasional use of CGI, which looks really out of place.

The Netflix series does a great job of illustrating the twisted stories by Handler, and sticks to a more serious tone in contrast to the 2004 movie.  The humor still doesn’t suffer, as witty and often dark jokes are given to the audience.  It provides a nice balance, incorporating enough humor in the dialogue to keep the plot more lighthearted while maintaining the excellent tension.

As the Baudelaires’ journey continues throughout each episode, they move closer and closer to finding the truth behind their mysterious family history and Count Olaf. While the orphans always find a way out of the terrible situations they are put in, it is interesting to see how they escape Olaf.

There are already plans for a second season of the show according to Handler. The Baudelaire orphans have plenty more awaiting their fans, and as well as this first season went, the second season will definitely be worth the wait.