Thank you, Netflix, for doing A Series of Unfortunate Events justice
Season 1 of Netflix’s crack at Lemony Snicket’s ASeries of Unfortunate Events was a rousing success in the eyes of both critics and fans.
Season 2 was bound to be just as good, if not better, than its predecessor, and it certainly lived up to that expectation. In fact, it was automatically better than the first run simply because it contained two extra episodes!
The first crack
The 2004 film adaptation of the wonky story of the Baudelaires, from the likes of Nickelodeon and starring Jim Carrey as villain Count Olaf, wasn’t necessarily bad. But things felt a bit rushed, as they tried to pack three full books (The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window) worth of content into less than two hours.
Carrey’s portrayal of Olaf, while certainly decent, leaned heavily on comedy and lacked the maniacal and dark flair that Neil Patrick Harris brings to the current incarnation of the character.
Also, the movie version didn’t exactly add much to the existing story.
However, one must remember that Nickelodeon and Netflix are not pandering to the same crowd.
Carrey’s portrayal of Olaf…lacked the maniacal and dark flair that Neil Patrick Harris brings to the current incarnation of the character.
Sometimes its difficult to believe that Daniel Handler, the man behind the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, intended his depressing and ridiculously self-aware tale to be consumed by children.
Akin to the adult innuendos and concepts that dwell not so far beneath the glossy surface of Disney movies, A Series of Unfortunate Events delivers its truth and commentary in such a way that is subtle enough to mystify younger viewers and bold enough to pack an impressive punch to the thoat for its older audience.
The show that knows it’s a show
…the fourth-wall breaks and ability to comment in real time on both the real world and the tribulations of the Baudelaires delivers a sense of modernity and commonality.
The book series was always highly self-aware, as it frequently referenced other author’s works and made use of a third-person narrator who talks directly to the readers as though they knew they were a device in a book.
The brilliancy of Netflix’s adaptation lies too in its meta-ness. This version of A Series of Unfortunate Events knows that it’s a TV show, even that it’s a Netflix show in particular, and there’s no shortage of references to this fact.
For a show that is set in a retro looking world with anachronistic elements, the fourth-wall breaks and ability to comment in real time on both the real world and the tribulations of the Baudelaires delivers a sense of modernity and commonality.
In a stroke of absolute genius, Neil Patrick Harris, as Olaf, speaks of nine years of having his own show in the city, which is an Easter egg for his real-life role as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother.
Kind of the epitome of meta, if you ask me.
For a show that addresses or implies morbid subjects such as death, murder, child abuse, and torture, it’s actually quite hilarious (I think we can thank fantastic writers and the involvement of the author for that one).
More so, we as viewers, young or old, know exactly what we’re getting into the minute we tune in. The theme song quite literally says,
“This show will wreck your evening, you whole life, and your day”
And yet, here we all are, eating up very second of every episode, and awaiting the newest season with baited breath. It’s a fact that if someone tells you not to do something, chances are you’re going to want to do it even more.
News just dropped that the third season will in fact be the conclusion for the series, which is sad, yet satisfying since us longtime fans know that means the remaining books will play out consistently and faithfully.
But of course, as with the first two seasons, there’s always room for constructive and entertaining additions and expansion.