Like so many of my generation, I was (and still) absolutely thrilled to hear Netflix is turning A Series of Unfortunate Events into a live-action series starring Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf (And, of course, there’s Jim Carrey’s role in the film adaption.) Which is an odd statement, seeing as the books are all about pretty crappy things happening to three siblings. I mean, the narrator spends a good chunk of the series reminding you what you’ve gotten into. The first season premiered this weekend on January 13th, so naturally, I figured I’d refresh my memory of all the poor experiences the children have by reading the first book prior to watching. The season on Netflix consists of 8 episodes, covering each of the first four books in two parts.
The first book of the series, The Bad Beginning, starts off with the three Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, visiting the beach on a foggy day. Their reasoning for doing is so they can have the beach all to themselves as apposed to crowded it can get on a nice day. Their family banker, Mr. Poe, appears to inform them their parents have died in a fire. Perished, to be exact. He will make the arrangements to honor their parents wishes and find them a home with a relative living within the city. The Baudelaire orphans spend a few miserable nights with the Poe family until a relative is located. Mr. Poe locates a distantly related family member (one they’ve never heard of) who lives closest to the city, Count Olaf. It is in their new home where the Baudelaire’s already bad luck turns for the worse. They’re neglected, forced to do hard labor, treated as meager servants, and in one case assaulted. All the while, their guardian schemes to acquire the children’s hefty fortune.
Keeping in mind this is a children’s book, I only have two cons, one in the way an adult’s mind works. First, the book is too short! It may have felt longer when I read it in middle school, but I forced myself to read one chapter a day to make it last as long as it did. The second is the actions of the Baudelaire children in trying to stop Count Olaf do make sense in the mind of a child. They most likely made perfect sense to me when I read the series back when they first came out.
I found myself irked by Klaus’ confrontation of Count Olaf when he figured out his nightmarish plan to gain their inheritance. He avoided waking his sister, called Count Olaf out on his own, then told him his plan to report him to the authorities. I mean, he could have woken Violet told him the information he’d figured out and they could have gone to Justice Strauss’ house to turn him in.Taking a moment to think about it, at Klaus’ age, I may have done the same thing. Because kids love to prove they know more than their elders. While that’s true, it sure didn’t help the Baudelaires with their problem.
Of course, if Klaus had woken his sister and alerted the police, it wouldn’t make for a good story. Which, for bad things happening to children, this is a good story. For pros, I’m surprised to find that the worse thing to happen was extremely believable and falls under a positive category for me. The children are ignored by the adults of any wrong doing by their wicked guardian.
The children voiced their complaints to Mr. Poe and he brushed it off as a parenting style. Justice Strauss had concerns over the children preparing a meal for a rather large group of people, but allowed them to find a recipe to prepare than took them to the store to buy the ingredients. Talk about irresponsible. And yet it happens so often it’s heartbreaking. Amazingly, the rest of the book is great. Each child has their own special qualities. Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a reader, and Sunny… well, she bites things. The two older Baudelaires put their skills to good use, cracking and overcoming Count Olaf’s plans. Sadly, as this is a book with no happy endings in sight, Count Olaf does escape. Meaning their dreadful experiences are far from over.
The series itself is great and, seeing as I’ve only watched the first two episodes in line with the first book, I may reread the entire thing for fun. If you haven’t read A Series Unfortunate Events, I have no idea what you’re waiting for. Snicket has written each book with a fast paced storyline and never ending suspense, all the while leaving you rooting for orphaned trio.
Did you remember this dark series or the original film? Do you think one did better than than the other? Don’t worry, a lot of people believe the same thing. If you haven’t seen the film or the series yet, don’t miss out! Each is a unique and comical interpretation of the series and worth your time. And if anything, Neil Patrick Harris and Jim Carrey are always worth a watch. Regardless, my inner child is pleased.
I am in no way sponsored by Netflix