A Series of Unfortunate Events: What Netflix Should Get Right

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The time is finally here. Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is debuting on Friday 13th (because of course it is). We have re-read the books and even re-watched the 2004 movie adaptation and have come up with some of the things that Netflix needs to do in order to make the adaptation this franchise deserves.

(Light spoilers from the books… but not really)


Dark comedy

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If there is something that makes A Series Of Unfortunate Events special -and yet difficult to explain to others- is its comedic touch on dark matters such as murder, orphanage, and complete and utter doom. The story that follows the Baudelaire orphans is a dark one, full of tragedy and despair. Despite of this, narrator Lemony Snicket tells its like a childrens’ book. The author accomplishes this effect by constantly reminding the reader to please, go read something else (talk about reverse psychology) or by coming up with ridiculous ways to explain just how unfortunate the Baudelaires are.


Presence of a narrator

Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events
One of the best things about the books was the narration by Lemony Snicket, who happens to be a character in the story. The truth is the books are not only addicting for the story itself, but also for the way in which it is presented:

It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.”

The 2004 movie adaptation did a wonderful job with it by adding Lemony Snicket (Jude Law) as a shadowy figure that never showed his face. In the Netflix series, Snicket is going to be played by Patrick Warburton and will actually be showing his face on screen. We’ll see how that works for them!


Characterization

Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Nothing puts someone off more than a bad characterization and, sadly, this happens way too often in adaptations. Not even Harry Potter is safe from that. Getting Violet, Klaus and even little Sunny’s personalities right is key. Jim Carrey‘s portrayal of Count Olaf was quite criticized for, well, being too Jim Carrey-ish. Even though he can also come off as funny in the books, Count Olaf is mainly a scary character. Neil Patrick Harris‘ role will be crucial in this.


Exploration of VFD

Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events
It’s understandable that the movie couldn’t adapt the whole story on VFD considering they only had time for the first three books. They did talk a bit about the fires and the investigation that their parents, uncle Monty and aunt Josephine were doing, but there was no final explanation and we had an open ending instead. They also added the spyglasses to connect all of them to the fires, which were only in the movie.


Aesthetics

Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Both the country and era for the series are unknown, although it seems like the story takes place during Victorian times. Or at least it takes inspiration from Gothic, neo-Victorian aesthetics. The movie picked up this trend and added some stunning scenery, as well as a Tim Burton-esque feel to it. All of these elements helped create an aura of mystery and wonder about the world the Baudelaire children live in. A Series of Unfortunate Events is supposed to be Netflix’s most expensive show to date, and judging by the trailers, we can trust them with this.


Have you read the books? And so, do you have high expectations for the series?

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About Author

Journalist with a passion for TV shows and anime. When I'm not writing, you will find me bingewatching Netflix, reading fanfic, or programming some geeky app.

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