Unlike the film adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, this new take by Netflix boasts of eight full episodes that capture and expand the essence of the novels. With a run time of about forty-five minutes per episode, the story of the Baudelaire children, narrated by Lemony Snicket, becomes dreary and disheartening with few moments of levity.
***WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW***
“I would advise all our viewers to turn away immediately and watch something more pleasant instead,” is how Snicket begins the series. Obviously, most people decide to continue watching, but as each episode progresses, we begin to realize that this is truly a very unhappy story. There were a few moments where I felt frustrated and discouraged, especially when Mr. Poe would show up – God was that man frustrating!
Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf is perhaps the highlight of this new adaptation. Stepping into the shoes that Jim Carrey filled before him, Harris is able to incorporate the right amount of mirth and animosity into the character. He is so ridiculous, that one can’t help but wait expectantly for his next outrageous scheme. The problem of this adaptation, however, comes with the children. Now don’t get me wrong, they were okay, but there wasn’t one specific scene that made me believe they were the only ones who could have played the part. And don’t even get me started on how the CGI department gave up on trying to make most of Sunny’s scenes realistic. At sometimes she even seemed a lost spawn of Chucky.
Overall, Netflix’s take on this series adds a much more detailed account of the source material that any film adaption simply could not. The children don’t have any breakthrough performances, but they served their purpose well enough. Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket are the ones to watch out for.
A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents’ death in a terrible accident. They are placed in the custody of the villainous Count Olaf, who attempts to steal their fortune with the help of his accomplices. As the story progresses, the Baudelaires begin to unravel a background of secrets and conspiracies in connection to both Count Olaf and their parents.