In which our brave hero watches a children’s TV show that tries its hardest to be as upsetting and unpleasant as possible…
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is possibly the only non-robot/space/wizard book I have read the full series off and I must say it is a fascinating read. The kids don’t give a shit because they think anything I like is automatically uncool, man.
Anyway, they made a movie a while back based on the first three books starring Jim Carrey off of The Cable Guy and Emily Browning off of Sucker Punch which is a good movie and I will fight you. It was a lovely looking, but ultimately messy movie that really lacked the time to get all the important elements of the story told, and failed to start a franchise that could have finished the story.
Well, now Netflix have done just that and got a series made, starring Doogie Hauser MD along with a cast filled with who’s that from that show. I imagine one of the major sponsors for the show is the IMDB as they’ll be getting endless clicks from this.
Each episode in the eight episode series covers half a book from the thirteen book saga, so if you can do maths that tells you that… carry the two… soh-cah-toa… fourier series… there are four books covered by this first season. It was released today (Friday 13th Jan, I would imagine this is intentional) and so far we’ve managed to watch our way through the first four episodes, covering the books The Bad Beginning and The Reptile Room.
The plot follows the adventures and tribulations of the Baudelaire children who are told their parents have been killed in a fire and find themselves in the custody of the Eeeevil Count Olaf, a terrible actor who endlessly tries to get his hands on the kids’ considerable inheritance through incredibly complicated schemes. It’s all very upsetting and sad if you think about it, but the series manages to distract from the sadness and death and melancholy by being incredibly fun, surprisingly clever and held together by Patrick Warburton’s wonderfully dry narration as Lemony Snicket.
The plots of the books are followed almost to the letter, with the addition of a couple of small elements to keep the story flowing a bit easier, and introducing the secret organisation elements from later in the book series much earlier on. There’s also the addition of short action espionage scenes starring Will Arnett and that lass from The Avengers films as ‘father’ and ‘mother’, giving an air of hope that is lacking in the book.
The Baudelaire Children are well cast and perfectly good at acting. Sunny, the baby Baudelaire is occasionally performed by a fairly decent bit of CGI, which is only noticeably Rogue One-ish in a couple of moments, notably when the baby has creepy cartoon hands when it shuffles a deck of cards. I imagine this was necessary though, as babies are notoriously difficult to teach any sort of card trick beyond ‘chew the corner of this thing’.
Age appropriate depends on how much your kids wanna pay attention. Meg (7) started off interested, but after endless questions she decided to do colouring in. Jess (12) enjoyed it, and Darcey (1) just wanted a yoghurt. Gem (age redacted) enjoyed it so much she is continuing to watch it while I am upstairs settling the kids, so I (37 and 4 days) will have to catch up later when she is asleep probably.
So, yeah, I’m not gonna spoil the plot because you can go and watch it on Netflix now, or wait a day and torrent it if you are a pirate. Needless to say though, I highly recommend having a look, right now. Or tomorrow. You’re probably busy tonight. I’m not busy tonight. I’m having a bath and then I will probably fall asleep watching people have interesting conversations about boring things on YouTube. That’s how my Fridays usually go.