Having to spend a good amount of time indoors during bitter Vermont winters, new Netflix series are always of interest to us. Once Christmas is passed and we’ve finished watching all the movies we receive for Awards Season, we usually dive right into a new show. We chose the new Netflix series “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” based on the book series of the same name which also had a film version in 2004 starring Jim Carrey.
The Netflix series stars Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”, “Dr. Horrible”) as the villainous Count Olaf who dupes the incredibly gullible banker Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman, “The Dark Knight”, “Grosse Pointe Blank”) into giving him custody of the Baudelaire children after their home burns in a mysterious fire and their parents are killed. Olaf is after their fortune which he cannot touch until the eldest child, Violet (Malina Weissman, “Supergirl”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) comes of age. In the meantime, she and her brother Klaus and baby sister Sunny (Louis Hynes and Presley Smith), have no choice but to move in with Count Olaf and are subject to his nefarious whims.
The season consists of eight two-part episodes which adapt the first four books of the series. The Baudelaire children quickly learn of Olaf’s plot to steal their fortune the firs chance he can and that he more than likely had something to do with their parents’ deaths. Violet uses her knack for creating inventions to get them out of sticky situations and Klaus uses his love of books and reading to discover as much information as he can about their parents’ secret lives and how Olaf and his odd theater troupe fit into their lives. Sunny loves to chew things and often gets them out of binds by biting or gnawing through obstacles to freedom.
Each pair of episodes feature a new guest star, usually as their new guardian after something awful happens to the previous adult. Joan Cusack, Aasif Mandvi, Alfre Woodard, Catherine O’Hara, Rhys Darby, and Don Johnson join the cast through out the season, each character more ridiculous than the last. Also Patrick Warburton (Puddy from “Seinfeld”, “The Tick”) also assays the roles of Lemony Snicket, the narrator of the series in a very deadpan, matter-of-fact manner.
Running jokes through the series include no one knowing who Count Olaf is when he’s in disguise, constantly explaining things to the children they already know, and the fact that every person has a library in their home. It’s delightful. Though probably a little dark for younger kids, it carries a TV-PG rating, which is fitting. Fans of literature and clever writing will devour this series as we did, as will fans of the books and film which predated it. There are a few really great songs throughout the series as well and you just can’t beat NPH singing…
It has been picked up for a second season, which will focus on the fifth through ninth books, and a third is expected to finish out the series. I can’t wait for more! Very easy to binge and a ton of fun to watch. I highly recommend it!
Rating: 5 out of 5 Snack Packs
Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and filmmaker living in Vermont. He loves playing bad guys too, and you can see him play one in the upcoming film “Northland” due out later this year from Lone Tree Films. http://www.lincolnlhayes.com