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TV Review: Series of Unfortunate Events, Series 1

  • NQ's Emily Wade reviews Netflix's adaptation of Lemony Snicket's classic children books series, A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Starring Neil Patrick-Harris, of Harold & Kumar and How I Met Your Mother Fame, the series has already been watched by millions of people

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a title everyone is familiar with, whether it be the book series or the 2004 film adaption. Released around the same time as the Harry Potter books, they targeted and broke the younger market. However, in 2014 Netflix took the series one step further and shared their plans to commission a TV series developed by Barry Sonnenfeld and Mark Hudis.

The series follows the three Baudelaire siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, after they find out their parents seemingly perished in a fire. After being left with their distant relative, Count Olaf, the siblings realise he is only after their fortune. The Baudelaire’s are sent to numerous homes but it seems Count Olaf is never far away coming up with cunning plans to steal the fortune.

Narration from Patrick Warburton, playing author Lemony Snicket, is a vital part in the series, book and movie alike.

In January 2016 Neil Patrick Harris was announced as Count Olaf, an announcement which sent fans wild. With the help of his stage acting background and the use of prosthetics, his portrayal of Olaf was more than perfect.

Netflix released the first eight episodes worldwide on the Janurary 13 2017, and although Netflix doesn’t publish statistics, the online buzz surrounding the release suggests millions of people watched. The current episodes only cover the first three books, leaving fans anticipating more seasons.

The release couldn’t have been timed more perfectly, with people searching for their New Year Netflix binge series, especially with every episode being more like a small film.

The casting of Malina Weissman as Violet Baudelaire and Louis Hynes as Klaus Baudelaire was spot on, maybe even more so than the film. They are young children themselves which definitely showed through their acting. K. Todd Freeman impersonated the condescending, gullible Mr Poe, the family banker put in charge of finding the orphans a new family, flawlessly.

The standout episode is most definitely "The Reptile Room: Part One". The Baudelaire’s are sent to live with their Uncle Monty, a herpetologist with a vast collection of reptiles in his home. Here we meet the Incredible Deadly Viper, who will come to play a massive part in the next episode.

The only disappointment with the series is the lack of appearances from Sunny Baudelaire (Presley Smith). The infant plays a significant part in the books, however, is often left out of the show’s scenes unless desperately needed to make the story work, though understandably working with such a young child must be difficult.

Although it features aspects other programmes with a younger audience don’t such as murder, the show treats them well and keeps them PG whilst still keeping to the dark side of the series – it is perfect for everyone to watch, with both dark and comedic elements throughout, what’s not to love.