Dear reader, it is a morose, dreary and bleak day on which I write to you about the very culmination of one of the most tragic, unfortunate, coincidental, and possibly deus-ex-machina tales in the history of modern times. It is the woeful tale of the Baudelaire orphans, heirs to the Baudelaire fortune of their dead, burned-to-a-crisp parents, orphans who are unknowingly stranded at the center of a mysterious conspiracy involving an strange eye-looking shape, a nefarious relative and his band of ridiculous villainous henchmen (and women), and adults in their life with sensibilities and responsibilities paramount to that of Disney parents and stepparents.
As though it was not enough for their terrible lives to have been chronicled by Lemony Snicket in a bestselling book series, but their experiences have somehow found their ways upon the very screens of Netflix, and still have two more pending seasons to continue the horrible series. I bid you, look away, for no person of sound mind and functioning heart would venture forth to hear about the morbid, twisted, laughable, and possibly critically acclaimed TV series.
Why, I see that you are still here, but I shall present you with one final chance to exit this window or click on some clickbait on the side. No? Fine. Then let us begin, at the very, very bad beginning.
(I’m going to drop the pretense now, and try my best to avoid spoilers. No guarantees though, so read slowly and shield your eyes if need be.)
A Series of Unfortunate Events brings a deliciously dramatized, three-point-five (fifth?) wall breaking (rounds up to four, but isn’t quite four), and a much more prescient and omniscient spin off of the canon--it is quite hilarious at times, and the acting is just put together so well. It’s too bad there’s not a fake musical of some sort inserted within, because that might have made it just perfect. Irregardless, (and here irregardless being the same as regardless, rather than without less regard to mean with regard, but irregardless of the absurdities of the English Language), A Series of Unfortunate Events is a must-see, if not simply for the fact that Neil Patrick Harris stars in it, portraying a comically diabolical and persevering Count Olaf. It is fascinating to have seen such a screen adaptation of the absurdist, sort of Gothic original, and by absurdist, I mean both the literary genre, and how absurd sometimes the story really is.
There is excellent portrayal of all characters, and shoutout especially to the ever coughing, ignorant, and disturbingly saccharine Mr. Poe, who seems to be putting the children in more dangerous situations than rescuing them. To this point I would like to say, I also really like some of the diversity being introduced into this. Whereas in the books (and I believe the movies), Mr. Poe is a stout white man with little round spectacles and a handkerchief to cough into, the Mr. Poe in the TV show is portrayed by African American actor K. Todd Freeman. And he is absolutely brilliant. I cannot explain exactly how he does it, but his comical presence and the excellent delivery of his lines just gets me every time. Oh...Mr. Poe, Mr. Poe, Mr. Poe. Amongst other characters that promote racial diversity include Aunt Josephine portrayed by Alfre Woodard, and Uncle Montgomery Montgomery (No, not a typo…), portrayed by Aasif Mandvi, and both are excellent.
With regards to the plot, I really like how this adaptation is far more omniscient: the conspiracies are brought to the forefront much quicker than in the books, and we the viewers are privy to the actions of other characters involved, and adds connective properties and extra layers to the occurrences that one may certainly dismiss as simply that of a cruel twist of kismet.
I probably could not be more satisfied, which is especially impressive given that A Series of Unfortunate Events were books that accompanied me through much of my childhood/early adolescence. The TV Show A Series of Unfortunate Events is funny, quick-paced, and maintains good fidelity to the original, and is truly worth your time.