A Series of Unfortunate Events has been in the limelight in recent days due to its premier on Netflix. Oddly enough, the episode number is 8 instead of 13… which, we fans of the book series found a tad disappointing. If you know nothing about Lemony Snicket or A Series of Unfortunate Events this is the blog post for you!
My siblings and I read the books religiously from a pretty young age. Not sure when I started reading the books, but the books were a large part of my childhood. I would not, necessarily, recommend the Netflix show for anyone who is new to anything Lemony Snicket. It is as dark as the books, but more complicated and infinitely more complex. It is very good – my parents fully appreciated it, but I do not know how much they remembered from when my siblings and I read the books aloud to them.
If you are just here to see how the show compares to the books and/or the Jim Carrey film, I will inform you that the show follows the book series very well (with two 40-minute episodes per book), but is not comparable to the Jim Carrey movie. Jim Carrey’s film is more of a comedy than a true disciple of the book series – a gem in its own right. I began watching the new show comparing it to the movie instead of the books – please do not make the same error I made. The show is very similar to Pushing Daisies in the speed of the humor and the Doctor Suess-ian landscapes and dialogue.
It is a very gothic, steampunk, satirical work, but entertaining and educational in its own way.
Concerning Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket is the biographer who has spent many years crying himself to sleep researching the unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire orphans. He pines after his long-lost love, Beatrice, throughout every work he has ever penned.
Count Olaf! I thought I had seen the last of you after all that unpleasantness with Mr. Snicket!!!
~Larry, the Anxious Waiter
The series is written by Mr. Snicket, a character in and of himself. He is dark, dry, and melochromatic in his humor which allows for much… amusement and laughter from, essentially, page one.
“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.”
~the opening lines of The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Lemony is one of the most formidable members of the V.F.D. (a secret organization that the Baudelaire orphans’ late parents were members of) and is writing the series while being surrounded by enemies that believe him to be dead. He is one of the main protagonists, despite having stolen a sugar bowl which caused a rift between the members of the V.F.D.
He is a vital character throughout the series and, so, I am very happy that he plays such a large role in the new show. He behaves as a historian and documentarian, often explaining big words and phrases so as to assist younger viewers with their vocabulary.
Lemony Snicket is played by Patrick Warburton, best known for voicing Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove.” His voice is drastically different from the portrayal of Lemony in Jim Carrey’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which was softer and more melancholy than the deep, dry, and sarcastic tone I expected from his writing style.
Concerning Count Olaf
Count Olaf is the main villain throughout the entire series and, if it makes you feel any better, karma comes and takes a good-sized chunk out of his middle section. He is evil in every sense of the word (nearly marrying 14-year-old Violet Baudelaire, stabbing Uncle Monty to death, and shoving Aunt Josephine into a lake full of man-eating leeches) as he has vowed to do everything in his power to get ahold of both the Baudelaire and Quagmire fortunes – mostly the Baudelaire since he has a particular hatred for them. He, like Snicket and the Baudelaires, was once a member of the V.F.D. and excellent friends with Josephine Anwhistle, the Baudelaire parents, Montgomery Montgomery, and Lemony Snicket.
Olaf is as terrible of an actor as he is a person. My theory is that he was, once, as nice and as wealthy as the Baudelaires or Dr. Montgomery, but squandered it after he become such an evil human being. What it was that triggered such a change in character is a mystery to myself, but some more avid fans might have an answer to that query.
Count Olaf has been played by Jim Carrey and, now, Neil Patrick Harris. As far as villainy, Jim Carrey’s portrayal is more vile. However, Neil Patrick Harris’ portrayal is much more accurate to the books.
Concerning the Baudelaire Orphans: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are the main characters in this miserable tale. Violet is an awesome inventor, Klaus is an avid reader with the mind of a steel trap, and Sunny is an infant who has two very sharp teeth which allow her to bite anything.
They are quite flat characters, but develop as the series progresses. They are dry, as well. Which makes them very difficult to watch on screen. They have very strong moral codes and have a very good relationship with their siblings.
The children are shoved from guardian to guardian to boarding school. After the death of their aunt, the other potential guardians refuse to care for the children – out of fear of Count Olaf and his dastardly plans.
As far as the show goes, the children are not very entertaining to watch. Compared to the Jim Carrey film where they are very expressive and entertaining – however, that is not book accurate.
Any more information here would only invite spoilers.
Here are some quotes: