Netflix Originals Reviews: A Series of Unfortunate Events

 

By Gabriela Williams

Following its massive success with Stranger Things, Netflix is adding to its collection of originals with a new TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events with a set of eight, hour long episodes ready to watch now.

The plot of each episode stays closely to the original plot of the books, unlike the film adaptation released in 2004. The episodes are all split into two parts and are titled The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill. In splitting the episodes into these equal parts Netflix has made it very easy to addictively binge watch the whole series in one go. This is perfect for a weekend Netflix binge. The theme tune of the TV series was originally scored by James Newton Howard, famous for the score of The Hunger Games and many others. It does get a bit repetitive and you may well want to skip it before you start singing along.

Neil Patrick Harris plays the villainous Count Olaf, who plots to gain the Baudelaire fortune throughout each episode.  In the process, he disguises himself, sometimes humorously as a scientific assistant, a Captain and a secretary. I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and certainly preferred him to Jim Carrey. If I have a favourite character in the series, it’s Count Olaf.

In the final episodes, Dr Orwell is introduced and is closely linked to George Orwell’s novel 1984 and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed the allusions to these books and was haunted by the timing of the references to 1984 and the similarities in modern society. The other episodes have quirky references to literature as well as many unanswered questions about strands of the plot. This in turn gets quite frustrating as you passionately watch every episode, with the hope of finding answers. Much like the hope for the Baudelaire’s future, you soon realise that this is not a fairy tale with a happy ending or any of the answers you may want.

I thought that this series was absolutely worth a watch, especially as you can tell that the writers and the directors have tried to appeal to the fans of the original book series. I thought that the series length was just about perfect and that the plots of each episode weren’t too complicated to follow. There’s no gaps in the TV series, so those who haven’t read the books will still be able to follow as well.

Overall, this series on Netflix has the potential to be as popular as Stranger Things but might appeal to the fans of the original books more than anyone else. This was a very entertaining series and I would highly recommend that you invest in the characters, but keep in mind the inevitable sad and gloomy ending. Its overly negative storyline might be too disheartening for some and its miserable theme may open a window into a pessimistic outlook on life, like it did when I watched it.

Image: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Claudia Gabriela Marques Vieira is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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