Lemony Snicket’s beloved series returns darker and funnier than ever
By Lucia Rossi
When times get tough, people usually comfort themselves with the thought that someone else always has it worse. When you think of the Baudelaire children, you know they have it the worst.
“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” was released on Netflix on January 13th, with over 3.75 million viewers watching in its first weekend of release.
The series received highly rated reviews on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes with a 93% approval rating.
The series’ success was largely due to Neil Patrick Harris’ role, the expansion of backstories and its similarities to the book rather than its movie counterpart.
Whether you’re a child at heart, a parent or just loved the books, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is for everyone.
If you’re not familiar, the extremely smart and rich Baudelaire children became orphans when their parents died in a mysterious fire that destroyed their home.
While trying to piece together their parent’s past and the secret society they were apart of, the children go from home to home trying to elude Count Olaf, an actor who disguises himself and tries to take the Baudelaire fortune.
The episodes on Netflix gave the series justice, giving room for the plot to expand more than it could have as a movie. The second and third season will follow suit.
This series was much darker than the film with Olaf’s character being more malevolent and menacing in his murders and schemes. The setting itself is depressing, with dark grey tones, whenever the children are involved.
Lemony Snicket as the narrator, played by Patrick Warburton, is always there to remind you how unfortunate Violet, Klaus and Sunny’s lives are while he’s writing something, working to solve the Baudelaire mystery or trying to avoid being caught.
Mr. Arthur Poe, the man who places the Baudelaire children in “suitable” guardian care, has a bigger role and background story in the series.
As the story goes on, more adult characters are introduced, each one being more oblivious than the next. This becomes frustrating for the children who are suffering and aren’t being heard.
Even with all of the unfortunate events, you can’t help but laugh at the dark comedy that ensues thanks to Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and the witty one-liners made by baby Sunny Baudelaire, voiced by Tara Strong.
Harris’ versatility made him perfect for this role. Count Olaf may be a disguise-wearing peasant but he is a better actor than the rest of his troupe. He proudly takes the disguise of a female secretary which made the series all the more hilarious, especially in those hopeless times for the Baudelaire’s. Harris was definitely on par with Jim Carrey’s previous portrayal.
It was especially cool how Harris sang a humorous theme song for the show with lyrics that changed to apply to each book, not episode.
The same can be said for the children’s performance in the series. They are younger than the previous child actors from the film but just as intelligent and talented. You can’t help but have a bleeding heart for them and all of their misfortune in this unforgiving cycle of finding a home and losing it.
The series’ ending was cruel, teasing you with hope.
The truth is, all the hope lies with the children and their will to survive.