In January, Netflix finally released their much anticipated show A Series of Unfortunate Events starring Neil Patrick Harris as villain, Count Olaf. I’ve talked about books and their small screen counterparts pretty recently, and I feel like this particular series merited special mention.
I first read A Series of Unfortunate Events several years ago, while I was still in my early 20’s. I’m not sure what made me pick up the series, as it was clearly for younger readers, which wasn’t really something I was into reading at the time. Could have been the visual appeal of the (then still incomplete) series on the shelf.
At any rate, despite the somber tone of the series, it is a fun read with plenty of humor and mystery that keeps you interested through the occasionally silly plotlines. Perfect for kids and still highly entertaining for adults. It probably also got me more interested in reading books written for middle grades, which has been a great deal of fun. It is also appealing to the “word nerd” in me, with clever wordplay and interesting vocabulary.
Many of you may remember the first attempt to bring the books to the screen a few years ago, with Jim Carrey in the role of Count Olaf. While it’s not a total train wreck if you pretend that it’s not based on any books, it is not a great adaptation. I think a great deal of that can be traced to the fact that the author was not included in the production.
With the Netflix series, Daniel Handler (the man behind Lemony Snicket) actually wrote the teleplay, and it shows. Of course there were some things there that weren’t in the books, but that’s to be expected and I think it was all very cohesive to the overall story. And visually it looks amazing. It’s like a beautifully illustrated children’s book brought to life, without being cartoony. Check out the trailer here.
I also really loved the casting. It was like the character of Count Olaf was made for Neil Patrick Harris. Sure, Jim Carrey caught the more comic aspects of the Count, but I think he failed to really capture the menace of his darker side. NPH nailed it. Patrick Warburton is also fantastic as Lemony Snicket. But, overall, the whole cast is amazing.
Overall, there are few shows that I have watched recently with the sheer pleasure that I did this one. Did any of you enjoy the show? Or do you like the movie better? If so, why? Let me know in the comments!