Television Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

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After their parents are killed in a terrible fire, the Baudelaire orphans – Violet, Klaus and Sunny – are sent to live with a new guardian.

But their guardian is not who he seems and the children uncover a dastardly plot by Count Olaf to steal their fortune.

Unveiling him for the villain he is doesn’t save them. The children move from one guardian to another, while misfortune and Count Olaf follow them wherever they go.

Will the children ever find happiness again? Or, more importantly, will they ever find out the truth about their parents and what really caused the fire?

Programme: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Series 1

Company: Netflix

Date: 2017

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Having adored the books as a child, I was keen to see this adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The 2004 film didn’t work for me and I hoped this would.

My feelings are mixed!

Patrick Warbuton was an amazing Lemony Snicket – his delivery of the overview was done with the most perfect tone of voice – dry to the point of sarcasm.

The same with Neil Patrick Harris. I  enjoyed his performance of Count Olaf – even if it was just laughing at the different accents he was putting on.

All of the actors were good, truth be told. This must have been hilarious to film considering the absurdity of the plot and some of the lines being delivered in a completely serious manner.

But despite the good acting, I couldn’t get into this. It took a few episodes before it started to grow on me. Despite it following the tone of the books, it was difficult to connect to the characters and without that connection, it’s hard to establish any strong feelings about the show.

I did, however, start to be involved from episode 3, and I eventually found myself enjoying it. Maybe I just got used to the tone of the series, although I’m still convinced I connected with the characters in the book a lot quicker.

There were things that bugged me though. An entire sub-plot (I’m not being more specific than that because, you know, spoilers!) was completely pointless. It didn’t lead to anything and as such, really annoyed me when that was revealed.

There was also the fact that the last five minutes of the series involved everyone bursting into song. Admittedly, a rather sad song about everything going wrong, but still. It did not fit with the rest of the series and felt completely random. When you’re literally sitting there thinking `what on earth?`, it doesn’t give you much continuity in the show as a whole.

Overall, I was disappointed. I thought the acting was good and the tone was right when comparing to the books. But I didn’t get drawn in, I didn’t feel anything for the characters and some of the choices made left me wondering what on earth I was watching.

Still, if you are (were) a die-hard fan of the books, it’s worth a shot to see what you think.

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