The Wildcat Tribune

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is spine-chillingly good

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(Photo Courtesy of Netflix)

(Photo Courtesy of Netflix)

(Photo Courtesy of Netflix)

Pranav Chillipagari, Staff Writer

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Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” aired on Netflix as a 8-episode television adaptation of the original novels. This grim story, sadly, does not have a happy ending, nor many happy moments, but a well-rounded cast and twisting plot line makeS the tragic series worth watching.

 

With amazing characters played by famed actors Patrick Warburton and Neil Patrick Harris, and talented performances from emerging young actors Louis Hynes (Klaus) and Malina Weissman (Violet), viewers are met with ominous and engaging episodes from start to finish.

 

The plot follows the Baudelaire siblings: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, whose parents die in a mysterious fire. During the beginning of the series, viewers are introduced to the unique personality traits of each Baudelaire sibling. They are sent to live with a ‘distant uncle’, Count Olaf, who wants to obtain the entire Baudelaire fortune for himself. Count Olaf tries to make their life a living hell, making the Baudelaire siblings do intense chores, a forced marriage, and threatening the death of the youngest sibling, Sunny. Once Olaf is exposed for his cruel behavior, the Baudelaires are sent from family member to family member, while being constantly pursued by the nefarious villain. The show is full of suspense, mystery, and a game-changing plot twist that was not part of the original books. Each episode was approximately half of a book, so the eight episodes only covered four total novels in the series, leaving plenty of opportunity for multiple new seasons to be aired.

 

[the production company] attempted to bring the tragic story to the big screen was released in 2004, with a film adaptation of the series, starring Jim Carrey. The rather disappointing movie, however, bit off more than it could chew and fell short of many fans’ expectations. The let down left many skeptical of a second attempt, but the quality of the new shows have left many viewers satisfied.

 

While the TV series makes an impressive effort to stay true to the idiosyncrasies of the original plot, there were some stark contrasts from the books. For example, the show specifically fleshed out side-characters like the banker, Mr. Poe. While he was a only minor character in the books, the series describes his character in depth, as a good-hearted man who makes all of the wrong choices for the Baudelaire children. In this way, it highlights a different perspective of juvenility by showing the adults as selfish, naive, and unable to always make the right decisions. This follows the theme that children are wiser than adults, as they have not yet been corrupted by society, which is prominent in many other world famous book series as well.

 

In addition, the show somehow portrayed Count Olaf as even more vile than he was in the books, a feat very difficult to accomplish. However, the television show faced a major problem: toward the ending the show became overly confusing, and would stump even those who have read the books. The plot twists that come near the end of the book really required some thinking and analyzing of the beginning, but you do end up realizing all the hints that were set up at the beginning of the show, and fall into place with everything else. Another issue is that the show ends on cliffhanger, but this is often the case with Netflix, who also released shows like House of Cards, Stranger Things, and even Fuller House.

 

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

 

In the opening scene of each episode, Lemony Snicket warns that viewers are better off watching something else, but a well-spun song only draws them deeper into the shadowy mysteries that lie ahead. While there are certainly prominent issues with the series, viewers will have to decide whether to take his advice or not for themselves.

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“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is spine-chillingly good