When I was younger, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events was one of my absolute favourite book series. As an adult, you can only imagine how excited I was to hear that a Netflix adaptation was coming our way. I couldn’t wait to see Violet making inventions, Klaus reciting quotes from his favourite books, and Sunny biting everything that comes within reach. On the ominous day of Friday 13th January, the series was released, and it was time to re-enter the gloomy world of the Baudelaire orphans once again.
After watching the first four episodes in quick succession, here are the things I already love about the series (no plot spoilers).
1. The Humour and Eccentricity
Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another.
Despite their sinister undertones, the A Series of Unfortunate Events books are speckled with dark humour. The TV adaptation echoes much of the same ridiculousness and sharp wit. Following after the books, this series is so eccentric, I imagine there are very few that are as unusual and inventive.
2. Lemony Snicket
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
One of the best things about the A Series of Unfortunate Events books is the witty commentary from Lemony Snicket (the pen-name of Daniel Handler), who constantly tries to convince readers to turn away and find something more light-hearted to read. To see Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) narrating the story as it unfolds around him is a stroke of genius, and is reminiscent of the original series I loved so much.
3. The Colour Scheme
The word “waning” here means “dim, and making everything look extra-creepy”
The colour scheme for the series is perfect for the subject matter. Scenes are swathed in grey, with the occasional dash of colour coming from Violet’s dress, Sunny’s knitwear, and Klaus’ jumper, giving the series an a dark but quirky look.
4. Neil Patrick Harris
If you were going to give a gold medal to Count Olaf, you would have to lock it up someplace before the awarding ceremony, because Count Olaf was such a greedy and evil man that he would try to steal it beforehand.
Neil Patrick Harris is absolutely fantastic in the role of Count Olaf. His Olaf is lively, but despicable, and most importantly, incredibly eccentric. He adds just the right amount of humour to the dark but amusing series, and I can’t wait to see him in more of Count Olaf’s disguises.
5. The Definitions
“‘Perished’,” Mr. Poe said, “means ‘killed’.”
“We know what the word ‘perished’ means,” Klaus said, crossly.
As a bookworm, one of my favourite things about the A Series of Unfortunate Events books were Lemony Snicket’s witty definitions of some of the words used during the story. I learnt a good portion of my vocabulary through these books, and I’m glad they kept the definitions in the TV adaptation. I particularly love the recurring theme of an adult attempting to define a word to Klaus, who probably has a much broader vocabulary than they do. The definitions are a wonderful touch of nostalgia for those who have read the books.
6. The Mystery
“The world is quiet here.”
This is perhaps my biggest reason for my almost-obsessive love of these books. What do the initials ‘VFD’ really stand for? How did Count Olaf know the Baudelaire’s parents? Why is Montgomery Montgomery’s maze shaped like Count Olaf’s tattoo, and why did the Baudelaire’s parents never mention him? This is much more than a story about the tragic lives of three orphans. The Baudelaire’s are part of a much bigger mystery, one which only becomes more intriguing and complex as the series progresses.
Having watched the first few episodes, I’m already hooked. The stories of the Baudelaire orphans were some of my favourites as a child, and this adaptation seems set to prove that they haven’t become any less entertaining with age. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the series, and be reminded of the mysteries and sinister plots that intrigued me through all thirteen books in the original book series.
Quotes: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (books)