Neflix's 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events' Review

Image Credit: Netflix

Friday the 13th. A perfect day for Netflix to release their new series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I think I should start this review by saying Netflix's adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events was highly anticipated, and I had built myself up to hate it. If you've not seen me rattling on and on about it on social media, I am a huge, and I mean HUGE, fan of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I have read all the books numerous times. I know all the back stories of characters. I can quote a fair amount of the books. I even wrote my dissertation on it for university. So it's safe to say I'm obsessed, right?

I've been let down by screen adaptations of the series before. We all know about that 2004 film starring Jim Carrey and Jude Law (Which was the WORST casting for Lemony Snicket - not sure what they were thinking?) that, in my opinion, was an absolute train wreck of a film. I hated it because it completely erased everything that made the books so magical. And by magical I mean absurdly weird. The film wasn't weird like the books, it was hollywood.

Anyway, I'll save that rant for another post, back to the review of the Netflix offering of A Series of Unfortunate Events from myself, the self-confessed biggest fan.

A spoiler free summary of the story: A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of three, unfortunate children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who lose their parents in a tragic house fire. The story is narrated by the mysterious Lemony Snicket, who has pretty much dedicated his life to searching for the Baudelaire's and their whereabouts. The Baudelaire's will inherit a large fortune when Violet turns 18 however the notorious Count Olaf also knows of the fortune, and is trying everything within his power to get his hands on it. The story contains murder, disguises, torture and plenty of criminal activity that the poor Baudelaire's have to keep running and hiding from.

Netflix have done a fantastic job. First of all, the theme tune is unbelievably catchy. I have had Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Count Olaf, singing "Look Away" in my head every single day on repeat since I watched the first episode. I couldn't bring myself to skip the title sequence as each episode had a slightly different variation relating to the plot. It's creepy, playful and slightly unnerving - in other words, it had me at Hello (or Look Away in this case).

Each book has two hours of screen time dedicated to it, which is great as it gives the intricate details that author of the series Daniel Handler included in the books justice (unlike the film). Handler actually wrote the screen play and he did a great job of translating the wit and dark comedy from book to screen. It makes sense as he did create the books but still I was laughing out loud at some of the one liners from Lemony Snicket. I found myself really immersed in the world of the Baudelaire's and I was desperate to watch the next episode.

The TV series also has the same aesthetic as the books which I love. It has a macabre meets steampunk style and the series captures that really well. The sets are beautiful - I think I'd quite like to have a wonder around the lake town in 'The Wide Window' episodes.

I found the casting perfect for this series. Neil Patrick Harris is unrecognisable as Olaf and he portrays the villain perfectly. It's a perfect mix of ridiculous and sisniter, and it works wonderfully on screen. The Baudelaire children, played by Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes and Presley Smith, are almost identical to their novel counterparts in terms of personality. They look similar to the film actors, but their performance is much more dimensional than the film portrayal. Patrick Warburton makes a perfect Lemony Snicket (Again, I could write a whole blog post on this). A special mention to K. Todd Freeman in the role as Mr Poe. Completely different to how I imagined him in the books but he nailed his role and really brought the utterly hopeless Mr Poe to life.

It's a bit soppy to admit but A Series Of Unfortunate Events has had such a huge impact on my life, and my love for reading, that I was really expecting disappointment from this series. I am overjoyed that I found this series so true to the books. There is nothing worse than a film or TV series ruining a favourite book and even though I am a strict "the book is always better than the film" believer, Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events comes very, very close to breaking that. If you want a new series to binge on that is witty, clever, endearing, with no happy endings and is utterly unfortunate, then you need to get watching A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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1 comment

  1. So good to know they've kept to the books! I think I'd have to read the series before watching them so might be a while yet, but they'll sit on my 'to read' list for sure!xx

    Lucy x |


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