I am Count Olaf, the renowned actor and your new guardian. You're welcome.—Count Olaf
After a mildly successful film and the end of a thirteen-novel series, fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events are sure to fawn over the latest adaptation of Snicket’s tales on Netflix.
The complete first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events consisting of eight episodes was released on the streaming website on January 13, 2017. The first season adapts the first four books in the series. The series has been renewed for a second season, which will span ten episodes on the next five books, and a third season is expected to adapt the final four.
The first two episodes adapt the first novel, The Bad Beginning. The show begins with Lemony Snicket addressing the viewer, insisting that the show is completely unpleasant despite being meant for “entertainment.” Snicket appears all throughout the episode, providing commentary and backstory.
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire all have exceptional minds and belong to a pretty happy family. Their lives change drastically after they are told that their parents had perished in a fire, which had also destroyed their home. The trio will be handed over to their closest relative, now their legal guardian, Count Olaf, as prescribed by their parents’ will. The misfortune doesn’t end there. The children are maltreated by Count Olaf, who wants to claim the Baudelaire fortune for himself. The count even goes so far as to try and marry Violet.
However, there is a silver lining. Justice Strauss, Count Olaf’s neighbor, constantly helps them by giving them access to her library. Justice Strauss is also hopeful in adopting the Baudelaire children after Count Olaf was declared unfit for the job.
It is also revealed that the children’s parents weren’t dead but imprisoned. In the rubble, Klaus finds an object bearing an insignia, which appears to be tattooed on Uncle Olaf’s ankle. The insignia appears throughout the episodes and seems to belong to a secret society that the Baudelaires’ parents are involved in.
Producer Neil Patrick Harris stars as Count Olaf, alongside Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith as Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, respectively. K. Todd Freeman plays Arthur Poe, the family banker who is in charge of executing the will, and Joan Cusack as Justice Strauss. Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders make appearances as the Baudelaire parents.
The series is classified as a black dramedy series. The humor in the script is often dark and reflective of Gothic/Victorian cinematography. Fans praised the new adaptation for being truthful to its source material.
Episodes 3 and 4 tackle the second book in the series, The Reptile Room.
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