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Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

*** This post was originally published on January 22, 2017 at Erynn Loves Books’ original home, gobbleupbooks.wordpress.com without the featured image ***

I AM SO RELIEVED. I was afraid I was going to be writing a sad blog post about how I was disappointed with Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was disliking it so much that after the third episode I couldn’t watch the show for three days.

But the other morning I sat down to watch an episode or two and accidentally binge-watched the rest of the season before I had to go into work. I can now happily say I am a fan of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and that I am one of the many eagerly awaiting the show’s second season.

That being said, I didn’t love everything about the show and the fact that I enjoyed the latter half of the season doesn’t erase my less than enthusiastic response to the first few episodes. In this post I’m just going to quickly talk about what I liked and what I didn’t like about the first season of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you haven’t watched it and are looking for basic show information, you can find it on the IMDb page here.

What I Liked About Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – Season 1

  • Daniel Handler’s involvement as executive producer and as a writer of the teleplays

I feel that the involvement of Daniel Handler, a.k.a Lemony Snicket, the author of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books, helped keep the Netflix series true to the style and feel of the books even as plot points were added, altered or removed.

  • Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, along with his involvement as a producer

To be fair, I just love Neil Patrick Harris. That being said there were a fair number of people who doubted his ability to play Count Olaf. I think Neil Patrick Harris kills it as Count Olaf. He’s weird, he’s gross and when need be he is downright scary. This dark and threatening side which is so apparent in the Count Olaf of the books was lacking in the earlier film adaptation of the series.

  • Malina Weissman as Violet Baudelaire

When I was younger I identified mainly with Klaus Baudelaire, the bookish middle child. On my recent reread of the first four books of the series, which you can read about in my recent blog post, I found myself liking Violet Baudelaire more and more. Although I still identify with Klaus and his nerdy bibliophilia, Violet is made up of qualities I aspire to possess. She is smart and strong, and her ingenuity gets the Baudelaire orphans out of a bind on more than one occasion. Actress Malina Weissman’s portrayal of the eldest Baudelaire in the Netflix series only helped solidify my new love for the character.

  • The whimsical visuals

The whimsical sets and visuals reminded different friends of mine of both Tim Burton and the old television show Pushing Daisies. My husband really disliked the visuals and felt they were a bit “off” but I thought the style was quite perfect for the series once I adjusted. These whimsical sets help set off the dark and dismal nature of the show, much like the role of the whimsical writing of the novels.

  • Mr. Poe, played by K. Todd Freeman

I have to admit that at first I really, really hated this Mr. Poe. He irritated me and he was just so stupid (ugh). His incessant coughing!!! But during my 3-day hiatus from watching the show, my friend and coworker Allison was gushing about how much she loved Freeman’s portrayal.

Netflix’s Mr. Poe is stupid. But to be fair so is the Mr. Poe found in the books. K. Todd Freeman did a wonderful job of bringing the annoying, oblivious Poe to life. Even the coughing was true to character, albeit irritating.

  • The incorporation of  the mystery surrounding the Baudelaire parents and their secret society in the early plot

In the A Series of Unfortunate Events books, these mysteries weren’t brought up until later in the series and so when they were brought up as early as the first episode with the discovery of the piece of the spyglass in the ruins of the Baudelaire mansion, I was initially surprised and unhappy with the choice. I was very unsure about moving these mysteries so far earlier into the series’ plot, particularly about the addition of Jacquelyn – Mr. Poe’s secretary/some sort of secret agent/Baudelaire protector.

But by the end of season one I found myself appreciating and even enjoying this subplot. It added another layer to the series and helped to keep the show moving at a faster pace. I particularly loved Larry the waiter at the Anxious Clown and how much was added to his character in this adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

  • .The addition of the plot involving Mother and Father

Although initially confused by this plot line I was immediately happy with the casting. Cobie Smulders and Will Arnett play Mother and Father, respectively. By the end of the season I was satisfied by this subplot rather than confused. I’m not going to say much more in case you (*gasp*) haven’t watched the whole first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix yet.

  • Little details like the word “CORNER” written on the side of Nurse Lucafont’s van when it pulls up to examine Uncle Monty’s body

It’s just perfect!

What I Didn’t Like About Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – Season 1

  • The fact that the theme song was sung by Neil Patrick Harris, a.k.a. Count Olaf

Like I said above, I’m a big Neil Patrick Harris fan. But to me the song sounds like it’s from the perspective of Lemony Snicket or some other Baudelaire sympathizer, not Count Olaf. I love Neil Patrick Harris but to me having him sing the theme song was an odd choice.

  • The first few episodes

The first few episodes seemed unnecessarily long and dragged out to me. The pacing was a bit slow and my husband fell asleep so many times during the first few episodes I lost count. To be fair, he is a sleepy person. But he’s not that sleepy. Because of this issue I had with the pacing of the episodes, I didn’t really get into the show until the fourth episode.

  • Klaus Baudelaire

Okay I don’t dislike him, but I don’t know that I like him either. And he was always my favorite Baudelaire! Played by Louis Hynes, Klaus Baudelaire seems unremarkable. Maybe it’s just because I really connected with Violet, or because I quite liked the actor that played Klaus in the film adaptation of the series. Regardless, Klaus Baudelaire has lost his hold on me and I find that very sad. Perhaps I’ll like him more in the second season.

Have you watched the whole first season of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on the series? Please let me know in the comments below, or feel free to reach out to me via the Contact page.

Happy Reading!

Erynn

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