‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ is anything but an unfortunate series
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Whimsy, humor, satire, and dramatic plot twists all culminate into eight amazing episodes in “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the new Netflix original series that’s anything but unfortunate.
The show tells the story of the Baudelaire children and their adventures to find an appropriate guardian after being orphaned by a devastating fire. The show is based on the 13 book series written by Lemony Snicket, a pseudonym for Daniel Handler.
I won’t deny it – I was prepared to be disappointed by this series. A movie based on the series was made a few years ago, and despite my original enthusiasm for it, I was discouraged by the sad and pathetic attempt to recreate the stellar series. As a result, I prepared myself for disappointment once again.
However, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” not only exceeded my expectations, but it also perfectly encapsulated the essence of the series.
The script relies heavily on the books’ original dialogue, and the aspects of the book which make it so enthralling, for example, the continual interruptions from the narrator to explain certain words in his own terms. These were included in such a way that was clear and didn’t distract from the plot line. The hilarious allusions and references in the book were updated to connect with the modern audience and were done in a subtle way that not only made sense, but added to the hilarity and absurdity the books command.
While you’ll enjoy the series if you’ve had a chance to read the books, the show will still amuse and entertain even if you haven’t. The combination of remarkable actors, a humorous and creative plot, and wonderful cinematography makes the show well-crafted and fascinating.
Part of the success of the show is the phenomenal performance of every member of the cast, from well-known actors, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Patrick Warburton, to the relatively unknown child stars, Louis Hynes and Melissa Weissman.
The star of show is Neil Patrick Harris, who plays the villain, Count Olaf. Harris also sings the ever-evolving theme song which explains the events of the show yet to come. Not only does he embody Count Olaf, but his ability to perform a series of different voices and characters while still acting as Count Olaf is amazing. The combination of his on-point facial expressions, strange and quirky voices, revolving door of costume changes, and perfect dialogue all make him, by far, the best character in the show.
In addition, it is necessary to understand the plot. Filled with twists of dramatic irony, the plot relies heavily on misunderstandings and mysteries that you have to keep watching in the faint hope that the next episode will answer the thousands of questions already bubbling in your mind. This aspect of the series makes it impossible to take a break from the show, and once you start it, you truly can’t stop.
The show is laced with literary and cultural allusions that add more depth to the story without adding to the themes. My personal favorite is a reference to the housing market crash of 2007, which is sprinkled throughout with snarky one-liners and puns. The show also includes subtle jokes created with absurd costumes and slapstick comedy, all which satirically poke fun at traditional protagonist-antagonist developments and characteristics in novels.
Beyond the acting, the cinematography of the show is amazing. The shots are phenomenal, and every scene feels like you’re actually there. At least for me, a lot of times TV shows feel like you’re watching a TV show. But when you watch “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the vivid scenes and incredible camera work make you feel like you’re sucked into the world of the Baudelaires, and everything else slips away.
Overall, the show is amazing. I loved it so much that once I finished watching it the first time, I immediately started re-watching the series. Is it perfect? It’s pretty darn close, and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone who has a Netflix account.
Whether you’re looking for a new show to watch or you’re currently in the middle of some other show, go watch one of the best series to hit the small screen – “ A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Grace Mottley is the Assignment Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.