BY DARIAN SABLON
When I was a little kid, one of my absolute favorite book series was Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which tells the story of the three Baudelaire children, orphaned after a fire destroyed their house and killed their parents in the process. It was different; it wasn’t the everyday, run-of-the-mill story where the “good guys” win and everyone lives happily ever after. What was special about the series was that not everything was okay, that life wasn’t a happy trip but a grim one, no one was the “good” or “bad,” everyone was a little bit of both. It was unique and after the 2004 film based on the books completely tanked, when Netflix announced that they would be doing a series, it made childhood fans around the world squeal in delight. Maybe now was the time when the books would be faithfully adapted for viewing pleasure. Yet after all the wait and hype, the final product was just okay.
The first season, consisting of eight episodes covering the first four books, was not without its merits. The overall plot, look of the characters, and cinematography were strangely reminiscent of a Wes Anderson style movie, such as Moonrise Kingdom, all of which have a very distinct look to them that is almost fantastical and attention grabbing. In fact, the world Netflix created is exactly what I would have personally imagined the world of the Lemony Snicket’s account of the Baudelaire children, the main protagonists of the books and show. The acting, specifically on the part of Patrick Warburton and Neil Patrick Harris, who play Lemony Snicket and Count Olaf, the main villain, respectively, was spot-on and a real spectacle to behold. Harris, in particular, captured the aspects of Count Olaf that make him such an interesting antagonist: his lack of remorse for the lives of the children and those around him and persistence.
However, even good things like these were not enough to distract some glaring issues that the series had. One of the biggest problems I had was the acting on the part of the others aside from Harris and Warburton. In particular, the kids who played the two older Baudelaire children, Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes, were pretty annoying to listen to for at least the first part of the series, which is a main problem when contracting children actors. It was probably until near the end where it seemed that they found their footing and felt comfortable in their roles as the main protagonists. Most of the adults who surrounded the children were also mediocre at best and just completely unwatchable at moments. Another problem I had was the CGI, which seemed to be slapped together for the majority of times it was used, which made some scenes really awkward to look at.
Overall, the show was okay and although it was unfortunate that the first season did not meet expectations, it is still a must see for anyone into grim dramas or was once a fan of the books.
I would give A Series of Unfortunate Events a 3/5 and a definite watch even though it did have problems.