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A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Not so Unfortunate Netflix Series

Emily Mack

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Lemony Snicket’s children’s books, “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” has been created into a Netflix series starring Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf. The series follows the three Baudelaire orphans, 14-year old Violet, an avid inventor (Malina Wiessman); 12-year-old Klaus, a bookworm (Louis Hynes); and their baby sister Sunny, who is great at biting stuff (Presley Smith).


The first season follows the first four books of the series, and each episode is 45 minutes long. To follow along with the story as an omnipresent narrator is Lemony Snicket himself, played by Patrick Warburton, who frequently breaks the fourth-wall with a deadpan tonality to his voice that balances out the mood.


After their parents die in a fire, the Baudelaire children are placed with the mean-spirited Count Olaf as their guardian. Most of the children’s time is spent trying to dissolve tasks given to them by Count Olaf by using their respected skills.


“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is not about happy endings. The misfortunes that the Baudelaire children face involve leeches, hurricanes, snake bites and chores. Director Barry Sonnenfeld (“The Addams Family”) is quick to include these gruesome details.


A notable part of this series is the subtle jokes and references, the production design and the costume design. Some amusing cultural references include Sonic Youth, Haruki Murakami and Uber. The series also includes smartphones and the Internet to slightly modernize the story from its original state.


The production design includes bright, vibrant colors juxtaposed to blacks and greys, making them truly stand out. The same goes for the costume design, which is heavily influenced by steampunk, yet the Baudelaires are always dressed nice and tidy, despite their situation with Count Olaf. Although the show’s theme song tells viewers to “look away, look away,” its catchy, ominous tune tempts the viewer to do just the opposite.


Unlike the 2004 movie starring Jim Carrey, the series stays true to the books, while also including several musical numbers, creating a somewhat whimsical feel and making it well worth binge-watching.


The universe is filled with odd places that the Baudelaires explore: a country road that reeks of horseradish, a lake that experiences hurricanes, and a ton of weird reptiles. The show does have a weird sense of humor and lot of mystery that will encapsulate children’s attention, as well as adults, and, like to “Stranger Things,” is one of Netflix’s better adaptations.

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The student news site of the University of New Orleans
A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Not so Unfortunate Netflix Series