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If you are interested in spoiler-free reviews with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other review.

I urge you now: close this review and look away, for it is only full of sorrows and woes.

For your pleasure—a word which here means “everything but the unfortunate tales of the Baudelaire orphans”—I would recommend you to watch Loney M. Setnick’s  A Series of Fortunate Events trailer instead.

If you’re still here, well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you…

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (ASOUE) follows the story of three siblings—Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire—investigating their parents’ mysterious deaths. Throughout three seasons, we follow the orphans as they are pursued by the villain, Count Olaf, who will do anything it takes to get the Baudelaire’s fortune. The series is based on the best-selling children’s book series by Lemony Snicket of the same name.

As many book fans may know, sticking to source material is not always something television shows and movies are the best at doing. Fortunately—or unfortunately, however you may view the Baudelaire’s tale—the show did this just swell. While not all ASOUE book fans may be pleased with the leftover loose ends or even the ones that were tied up, the show most certainly followed the original series closely. As with any adaptation, plot, characters or information may be included or removed to accommodate the media form. These changes were minor and did not affect the overall storyline. If anything, it added a “behind-the-scenes” feel, as though the show was diving deeper into the story and sharing secrets the book kept hidden.

Some of the earlier criticism of the show was about the acting abilities of the younger cast. While in the first season their acting may have seemed stiff, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire slowly grew into their roles, giving memorable performances. Part of what makes the ending of the show so impactful is that growth—the fact viewers are able to watch the children grow on screen and follow their story. The viewers are able to navigate a world that seems black and white at first, only to take a tumble into the rabbit hole of reality and realize that not everything is as simple as it seems.

There is much to admire in ASOUE. From its beautiful cinematography to the breaking of the fourth wall to the plot thick of mystery and absurdity. Easter eggs from the books often slip into the dialogue, sprinkled with seemingly innocent humour. There’s also the Very Fascinating Decision to include certain abbreviations, to play intelligently on words of the English language and have Lemony Snicket himself feed the audience constant warnings.

What I think is to be admired most is the show’s ability to leave the audience wishing for both more and less of the Baudelaire’s unfortunate tales.

So, dear reader, if you have an itch to follow along a certain series of unfortunate events, I would strongly advise you not to. After all, who wants to hear a story of sorrows of woes?

But, I suppose, that’s not how the story goes.

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Kathy An

Western '22

Kathy is a third year student at Ivey Business School and studied Data Science in her first two years. When she isn't writing, she can be found reading, drawing stick figures, or hanging out with her friends. If you ever see her around, don't be shy and say hi! She doesn't bite (usually).
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