When I heard Netflix was releasing an adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS I admit I was a little wary. But wouldn’t you be? After the disastrous mess that was the film adaptation I couldn’t help but feel worried. Especially as I saw that the aesthetic of the show was going to be very similar. Still, it’s ASOUE so I wasn’t going to pass it up.
What I found when I watched the show was delightfully surprising. Yes, the look of the show is the same, but they use it to every advantage. Everything that went wrong in the film was fixed. The show, unlike the film, was played out in the correct order, the casting was perfect, and the acting (in most cases) was superb.
The two biggest stand outs of this Netflix Original were Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and Patrick Warburton as the narrator/Lemony Snicket. Warburton’s dry delivery of lines, his deadpan expressions, the utter seriousness with which he delivers his lines makes every moment that much more funny. I was pleased that this adaptation leaves in all of the random asides I loved so much about the book, and most of them are left word for word or similar enough that it sound just like the book.
Neil Patrick Harris succeeds in every way that Jim Carey failed. He knows when to reign in the stupid, but also when to let the over dramatic character of Olaf have free reign. Olaf feels like less of a cartoon, though he remains as utterly ridiculous of a character as he always was. Somehow Harris manages to both be ridiculous and terrifying all at the same time, making his Olaf seem more dangerous than Carey could ever dream of being.
I will admit that the child actors do leave a little bit to be desired in their acting. They’re not bad, but they don’t stand out. Harris totally steals the show from them. Luckily they still do a much better job than their film counterparts. I hope that with the second season they come into their own a bit more.
The one weird thing about this show is the odd addition of the parents twist (which I will not give away). For the entire first season you’re sitting there wondering how this could work, why they went about it this way, only to have everything subverted. I like this twist once it comes to fruition but it seems a little out of place in the moment.
ASOUE was renewed for not just one season, but for two, meaning that we will be getting the full series in this form. I love how they give each book 2 episodes, devoting the time needed for each mystery. I hope they continue doing it this way.
I give this show…
I’m so excited for next season, and so impressed with these show adaptions in the last year. I hope we get a few more as well put together as this one.
What did you thing of ASOUE? Share your thoughts in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,