I’ve just finished my weekend binge of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, and I have so many thoughts on it, so naturally I had to write a review.

Note: Spoilers are noted before the paragraph in which there are spoilers. The rest of the review is spoiler-free.

I completely loved this show’s first season. I didn’t want to get my hopes up (we all remember the movie version),  but I knew that a television show would be so much of a better format for this misadventure. I loved that they split each book into two episodes, and so far, they’ve followed the books very closely. I reread The Bad Beginning at the end of November, so that was fresh in my mind, but it has been awhile since I’ve read the rest. I will be continuing my reread shortly (it was put on hold as I couldn’t move all thirteen hardcovers with me when I moved).

One of the biggest (and best) parts of how this show keeps true to the books is that Lemony Snicket is a character within this world. With the entire backstory of V.F.D. and the Baudelaire parents, it’s quite necessary to keep Snicket as a narrator to add his own insights to the plot, as the books have done. Since it’s been so long, I have a foggy memory of this backstory, but I do remember enough that I’m not completely baffled (as I can imagine someone would be if they watched the show without this knowledge of the books).

The acting of each person in this show is incredible. I’ve heard that some think the acting was horrible, but when I watched this show, it was a perfect portrayal of these characters (namely Count Olaf, who is literally a bad actor in the book series). The awkwardness of Mr. Poe, the theatre troupe, and other characters is quite spot-on with the books, as this entire tale is meant to be a series of unfortunate and incredibly unlikely events riddled with odd characters and situations. The essence of the books and the incredible strangeness of it all is portrayed excellently in Netflix’s series.

{Spoilers} The biggest change I noted in the show (that confused me momentarily and made me think I was possibly misremembering the books) was how the viewer is tricked into believing that the Baudelaire parents are actually alive. This is, of course, not true in the books, and as we find out in the show that the parents shown are not the Baudelaire parents after all, that confusion is cleared up. Though the Quagmire triplets are in the book series, their parents are never shown alive in the books (they are only mentioned, as the Quagmires appear in the books after their parents have already perished in a fire). This, I believe, was done for the show as not only a glimmer of hope that’s ripped away, but as yet another glimpse into the misery of the series that reminds us that this is not a happy story. Since Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) worked on this show with Netflix, I am content with this change, because it does capture the essence of the books. At first (before the Quagmire reveal), I thought maybe Handler made the change to keep the Baudelaire parents alive to extend the show beyond the ending of the books and possibly give the Baudelaires a happy ending after all, but I found (as others did as well) that not to be true once the parents were revealed as the Quagmire triplets’ parents (who do perish in a fire anyway). The whole thing was quite clever, and definitely piqued a good curiosity for those who have read the books and knew that the parents had actually died. {End spoilers}

I obviously cannot wait for the second season and will be waiting anxiously for it. Watching this season and looking back on the book series and who I am as a person, I see the minute ways that this book series had shaped me as I grew up (such as my admiration of alliteration and word definitions). I have not been disappointed in the slightest, and I’m so glad that Netflix decided to pick up this series and do it justice.

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2 thoughts on “Show Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

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