Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Review: A Series of Interesting Choices
As a matter of fact, every episode begins that exact way. Neil Patrick Harris declares it repeatedly in the opening theme to “look away, look away,” very similar to the beginnings of each book. The story of the Baudelaire orphans is one of tragedy and misfortune. Their parents died in a mysterious fire and were sent to live with estranged relatives that are some how a part of a secret organization with a mysterious eye as their banner.
The first season of the series follows the Baudelaire orphans through their first four guardians and is separated into two episodes per book.Each episode is carefully thought out and given just the right amount of time to each detail that the books touch on. You could potentially have your book next to you and skim through it as each episode is happening, sort of semi spotty audio-image book that has good representations for each character. Except for one, we’ll just say he is a Poe example of a character.Speaking of character choices, the cast here does a pretty good job portraying the roles they were given. The narration and representation of Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket is well executed and greatly appreciated, giving a nod to Snicket’s in-book monologue that kept the reader updated to what was happening. Warburton’s dead-pan voice as he separates major beats in the story helped give the story its monotone feel. Alongside Warburton, Neil Patrick Harris does a great job as Count Olaf as he brings his own flare to the character breathing life into this long, shadowy and slightly deranged antagonist. In the first couple of episodes, I feel like I am watching Barney Stinson in a bad wig and prosthetic nose, but as the season continues, his quirky characteristics are intertwined with his dark intentions. Because of this they make his not-so-revealing disguise appear more sinister. The whole time the audience is never talked down upon, especially with the help of Lemony Snicket (Warburton) assisting with a few terms he deems unknown to viewers.
The Baudelaire ChildrenThrough out each episode the audience is treated like mature adults to allow viewers to follow the Baudelaire orphans as they solve each problem that is presented them. What struck me as odd was the helplessness and innocence of the eldest Baudelaire, Violet (Malina Weissmann) with very glimpses of her tying her hair back and getting down to work. She is still a child, however in the books I believed her to be more the reassuring optimist.
Klaus (Louis Hynes), the middle Baudelaire, was more prevalent and useful through each episode. Sunny (Presley Smith), the youngest Baudelaire, is as cute as a button, especially as she interacts with the Incredibly Deadly Viper. But her ability to eat through most things is portrayed and carried out very cartoonish. Watch the second episode, and you will understand the humor behind this little ankle biter.Lastly, Mr. Poe (Aasif Mandvi) … there’s not a lot to say about Poe, except that his character choices befuddled me. He was a little too cheerful while everything was going wrong and that seemed very ill-placed. It could be the way his character was written for this series however he comes off as an optimistically ignorant fool who believes everything will work itself out by itself.
VerdictThis series did not strike me as amazing, or the best series I have ever seen, but it also wasn’t the absolute worst. I have thought about it and upon further insight and discussion my opinion of this series was that it was okay. Not the greatest, but not the worst. It hits on great points from the books that readers may or may not love.
Those of you who have never read the books and decided to read this review, I implore you to give it a few episodes. For those who HAVE read the books and decide to watch the series, enjoy it to yours hearts content. If you binge the whole thing in one day, I look forward to seeing all of the secret symbol tattoo pictures. Message me, tweet me, get in contact with me and lets talk about it.A Series of Unfortunate Events goes live on Netflix Friday, January 13th.
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