Title: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2016)
Based on: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family, Comedy and Suspense
Available on: Netflix
Staring: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes
Release Date: 13th January 2017
Reviewed by: Lois
“After the loss of their parents in a mysterious fire, the three Baudelaire children face trials and tribulations attempting to uncover dark family secrets.”
This TV series consists of 8 episodes each with a runtime of 50 minutes. The first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events covers the first 4 books in series.
These 4 books are:
- The Bad Beginning
- The Reptile Room
- The Wide Window
- The Miserable Mill
Each book is covered over the span of 2 episodes.
As soon as I heard that there was going to be a TV series for A Series of Unfortunate Events I knew I had to watch it. I read all the books in the series when I was younger and loved them all. Then the 2004 film adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events was released staring Jim Carey and again I loved that. The only problem I had with the film adaptation was the fact that it was forced to rush through the books, and indeed it didn’t cover all of them, due to the time constraints associated with being a feature film. So, when I found out that each book would get 2 hours of screen time I was incredibly happy as I feel this does justice to the wealth of content Snicket produced.
Before I started watching this show I had seen a lot of things from other people saying they either loved or hated the show. This made me quite wary of watching this show in the beginning, as I had great expectations of it, in case it let me down.
I am pleased to say this was not the case at all. I loved this adaptation so much! I started watching the series on the night of Friday the 13th and had finished it by 10pm the day after. I couldn’t stop watching it. All the episodes ending on a cliff-hanger dragged me into watching the next episode straight after.
I cannot do a review of this show without saying something about the aesthetic. There is so much detail put into every scene and setting in terms of design. I take great interest set design because I enjoy designing things. I am currently studying Media Production at university and specialise in computer graphics and graphic design. So I found the sets of A Series of Unfortunate Events to be extremely pleasing.
This show uses a lot of the wording directly from the books. This is something that the film adaptation didn’t do too much of. It has the dark humour that the books have which is something I love to see in TV at the minute. A lot of TV shows are too light-hearted for me and sometimes I just want to watch something that is thought provoking, dark but also hilarious at the same time. This is exactly what A Series of Unfortunate Events is.
The acting in this series in mostly faultless. Neil Patrick Harris portrayal of Count Olaf is better than Jim Carrey’s portrayal in my opinion. Jim Carrey plays Count Olaf as more humorous than sinister. Whereas Neil Patrick Harris plays Count Olaf as a dark and sinister man who occasionally cracks a joke. Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes portrayal of Violet and Klaus Baudelaire is one of my favourite things about this series. The two characters share quotes from authors and famous historical figures which is something I enjoyed and they both have a great love from books, which is something I can strongly relate to. Presley Smith who is the on-screen Sunny Baudelaire (voiced by Tara Strong) makes this series for me. The programme very often cuts to shots of Sunny and the many expressions that she pulls. I also enjoyed the fact that this series made more of Count Olaf’s henchmen than the film adaptation did.
Another great aspect about this Netflix Original is the fact that they used Patrick Warburton to break the 4th wall as the narrator, Lemony Snicket. I am a huge fan of programmes where they break the 4th wall in some way or another and I loved that suddenly during a scene the show would pause and Patrick Warburton would walk in and narrate what was and what would be happening. I felt as though it added another dimension to the show.
Overall, I would highly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys dark humour and for a younger audience, especially those who read the books as well, but this is not to say that adults won’t love it too. This book series finally has the adaptation that it deserves. I cannot wait to see what is in store in season 2 (which I hope there will be). Yes, this show at times is absurd but it is also extremely brilliant and is well worth a watch.
This review is a bit of departure from the usual book reviews we normally do on this blog; however as someone with a keen interest in the Media interests and TV shows, I think reviews of books like these could become more of a regular feature, if there is an interest in them. Please feel free to comment below if you would like to see more reviews of this genre. Thanks!
Be sure to check it out Book Depository using my link here: Loisreadsbooks
Until next time,