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Not so ‘Unfortunate’ hit

Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf in “A Series Of Unfortunate Events.” (Joe Lederer/Netflix)

A beloved children’s book series and captivating film is now an episodic phenomenon that is taking Netflix streaming by storm.

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an eight-episode season that focuses on the first four books of Lemony Snicket’s 13-part-series. Much of the entire first season was written by author Daniel Handler, known by his pen name as Lemony Snicket, and stars Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf.

Snicket is known for his dark and twisted themes, and the shows creators stayed true to this trademark. Although they did chose to add in more humor than the 2004 film version, this series remains classically Snicket.

The series follows the tragic adventures of the Baudelaire children. As the story begins, the narrator (Patrick Warburton) cautions the audience that the events of the series will not be particularly happy. As the story moves forward, Violet (Malina Weismann), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny (Presley Smith) are informed by the local banker, Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman), that the children’s parents have died in a fire.

The Baudelaire children are sent to live with their closest relative, Count Olaf (Harris), a failed actor who desires the children’s fortune. The fortune is locked away until Violet comes of age however, and Count Olaf is forced to scheme to find a way to take it. These schemes ultimately lead to the Baudelaire children experiencing a series of unfortunate events.

The three leading children, Weismann, Haynes, and Smith do a fantastic job of carrying the series. Their young age in no way distracts from their matured acting abilities that stand out strongly next to Harris.

Speaking of Harris, his performance as Count Olaf brings a surprising dynamic to the show. Harris maintains a traditional creepy, dark and twisted persona while adding in a comical edge to his character. Many moments occur where Harris can quickly take the audience from feelings of disturbance to outbursts of laughter.

One of the most captivating aspects of the show is the narrator (Warburton). He draws the audience in making the dark, twisted humor amusing and enticing.

The show is not set in any particular time frame, so the script, set, and wardrobe are very mixed with icons from different times. Modern day nuggets are scattered throughout the season in order to make it relatable to today’s modern era.

The random twists, overall stupidity, and naivety of the adults can sometimes be underwhelming and annoying to the audience. Certain lines and attempts at dark, lighthearted moments come across cheesy. Still, somehow it fits, and the audience is drawn back in to the unfortunate events of the Baudelaire children.

The series has created a four quadrant performance geared with no particular demographic, and has been renewed for a second season with a goal of 10 episodes. For anyone who enjoys dark humor and a creative performances, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is your go-to Netflix show.

 

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