Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, or simply A Series of Unfortunate Events, is an American black comedy–drama, web television series from Netflix, developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld,[ based on Lemony Snicket’s children’s novel series of the same name. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith with Lucy Punch, Avi Lake, and Dylan Kingwell joining the cast in the second season.
ASOUE is a beloved book series I read growing up. I did not know about the series till I had seen the movie in 2004. It was an interesting story, in a dark dreary world, where nothing seems to go right. Its a series of unfortunate events after all. But I could only find a few books in nearby libraries and never the whole series. It slipped out of my mind. I was surprised to find out this was being adapted into a tv show. Made me realise how big the book series is. I read a few more parts. I could never get around to finishing the book series so I started the TV show instead. And from what books of the series I have read, this show is about as good as a book to TV adaptation can get. The author is also closely involved in the show making process. This shows as how intricately and well woven the story in the show is, managing not only to get the necessary details right but also maintain the morose quirkiness of the series.
So lets talk about season 3. We get a brief recap of last two seasons and rejoin the Baudelaire kids as they are skirting down a windy mountain, in a caravan freshly detached from Count Olaf’s car. And in true Baudelaire fashion, the kids get out. We meet another familiar, or non familiar face in the mountains, and accompany the kids on a rescue mission to get Sunny back. The show does such a fantastic job of keeping the stakes high, yet also making each adventure comically impossible each time. It does a good job of maintaining the main mystery of the show. Things are revealed just a little bit in each episode, out of sequence and not linearly. As the Baudelaires learn more about their parents and VFD, we also learn more about Count Olaf. How someone who was part of VFD himself turned out to be the way they are.
We also have a reunion of sorts with previous characters. The Penultimate episodes explain and wrap the entire mystery of the show quite well. The story which was about three kids looking for a safe place to call home evolves into them learning about the real world. How things are not black and white and more often than not just different shades of gray. The end does a good job of summarizing and concluding the story with one last adventure with the kids. But the thing about visual mediums like TV and movies is, you can either show everything or not show anything. Its often difficult to maintain mystery in a story unless by way of exposition. A character can tell you they dont know what happened and you would know that its something that you should be questioning. While in the book a lot of things are left to reader interpretations, I feel the TV show more or less just told us what happened or what we should be expecting has or had happened. I felt in a tv show you are bound to explain it one way or another. The book series left things much more ambiguous. More or less suggesting a dark end to all the other characters. A series of unfortunate events if you will. Or maybe its just me thinking this way after first watch. But they still did a fairly satisfying job of wrapping things up. While the series is grim and dark, the ending is more heartfelt and….well…..happy?
As a fan of the book series (partially at least), I thought this TV series was fantastic. While I still like the movie, more due to nostalgia and for introducing me to the book series in the first place, the TV series is definitely done a lot better. The stories are well laid out. The scenes do justice to how things played out in the books. There is enough detail to keep the world rich and engaging but not enough to make the viewers tune out. Season 1 was fantastic, season 2 was just a smidge boring. But season 3 really picked it up again and executed the remaining books perfectly. I read the books a very long time ago, so there are chances they got some things wrong or did some things differently from the books. But with Daniel Handler serving as executive producer himself, I think they did a fair job with the series.
Netflix seems to have a hit or miss record with their original content, but when its good, its really good. This series gets a major recommend from me. Its not childish to credit it as something entirely for kids, even though the protagonist may be children. The Baudelaire are often more mature beyond their years and make for compelling characters, even the toddler Sunny. The cast all did a fantastic jobs. The new comer child actors held their own against seasoned actors throughout the show. I do not think this series could have been done any better. At least not till next 10 years, after which they would probably reboot it again. Thats just how good and in a way timeless this story is.
A Series of Unfortunate Events got a well deserving third season. It was executed wonderfully. It is lacking here and there, but it can be overlooked for the fine cinematography, the dialogue and the wonderful acting. The score is great. It looks great. And they could not have ended this show any better. I still have questions about the story, albeit less than I did after reading the book series. But like I said, this is one of the best book to TV adaptations ever.
Until next time,