Not A Dire Review for Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events


Being a working-law student (and a single mother) does not give me much time to keep up with all the new movies and TV shows that the entertainment industry keeps producing year after year.

However, that did not exactly stop me from watching shows that I AM REALLY INTERESTED IN. To which I mean, Netflix’s recent adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s book series, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is one of the exceptions to that general rule.

I said “one of the exceptions” because I also keep up with “Game of Thrones” and “Narcos.” Yup. I will talk about that in a different post, but that is, if I actually get the time to do so.

Anyway, as for “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” I actually really loved the movie version of this when it was first released in 2004. It was basically the reason why I discovered and continued to be a fan of Emily Browning until this day (she played Violet Baudelaire there).

I also read the whole series in ebook format, though that was a long time ago, and I have already forgotten some parts of that thirteen-part story. I do remember that the story of the Baudelaires reached silly locations such as a submarine and a far-off island.

If you have been following some of the reviews of the 2004 movie adaptation, many book readers were not happy about it – mostly because it did not stay true to the source material.

Well, boo-hoo! As a book reader myself, I did not really mind such alterations. It always happens whenever a material is adapted for a different platform, there would be changes to accommodate a different audience, and time is an element. You can never expect an accurate book adaptation in a movie that runs for less than 2 hours.

And that’s the very reason why Netflix probably adapted “A Series of Unfortunate Events” into a series. As a series, the aim is to stay true to the book as much as possible – which it DID pretty successfully.

However, part of the new cast and CGI effects pale in comparison with the 2004 adaptation. Below are other unfortunate disappointments from the show:

1.) Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf is ah-okay, but it can’t really go against Jim Carrey’s portrayal.

At first I find NPH’s Count Olaf a bit awkward, but after a few episodes, he seems to get better at it (or maybe this is a case wherein the actor grows on you). I personally enjoyed it when Olaf dressed up and pretended to be Shirley, the optometrist’s assistant in the Lucky Smells Lumber Mill.

The scene where Olaf and the Baudelaires met for the first time however was not so good. It was one of my favorite scenes from the 2004 movie, and the Netflix adaptation of that scene was at best.. Meh.

2.) I find the new Aunt Josephine really horrible.

Although I grew to like NPH in his role as Count Olaf, the new Aunt Josephine played by Alfre Woodard did not sit quite well with me. If you are familiar with the Aunt Josephine character in the books, Woodard’s version does not really pan out too well. I find it hard to explain, but Woodard did not really get the right mix of timidity and paranoia-freak that Aunt Josephine really is. Meryl Streep on the other hand was perfect as Aunt Josephine in the 2004 film.

3.) Sunny’s CGI Effects are at some point, really laughable.

Fans of the show would know how Sunny has four sharp teeth that can practically cut through anything, and this is of course shown in the series too, but sorry to say, the CGI effects looked silly and very computer-ish to me.

4.) Some of the dialogues sound a bit too pretentious.

We all know that the Baudelaires are very smart children (no matter how unfortunate their lives are), but some of the lines in the series feel a bit forced – it almost sounds too pretentious. It is not all bad though, there are key moments that their conversations are still enjoyable.

5.) The hurricane scene at the Wide Window (Aunt Josephine’s house) was… Meh.

Aside from the “Count Olaf meets Baudelaires” scene from the 2004 movie, another memorable scene for me was the moment when the Baudelaires withstood a hurricane in Lake Lachrymose. That scene was intense and showed yet again the ingenuity of Violet, but in the Netflix adaptation, it was.. Meh.

That does not mean that I found the Netflix adaptation bad, it was actually okay and I enjoyed it very much. It’s just some of the scenes and characters in my opinion, should have been improved. But nevertheless, I’m still looking forward for season 2!


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