Image copyright of Netflix 2017
Well it was a long wait for fans of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events to appear on Netflix, but then, on Friday the 13th of January, the series hit the internet streaming service. It has been on my 2017 to-do list since I first reported it last October, and now it is finally here. Now, having watched all 8 episodes of Season 1, I can give you a decent review, or as I like to call them, my Wright Recommendations.
First off, lets’ discuss the main selling point of Unfortunate Events, namely the role of Count Olaf. For everyone who has seen the 2004 movie, or read the books, you may have high expectations for the role of the histrionic villain. Well, let me tell you that from watching the first episode alone, Neil Patrick Harris absolutely nails the role. I would argue it is his best performance to date, and even – I hasten to admit – may be better than Jim Carrey in the role. The full force of Harris’ acting prowess comes out as everything from his voice, his diction, his stance, his facial movements, and his visage are spot-on with how they should be. One could not ask for a better choice or a better performance from someone. Hands down, he holds the series together.
But that’s not to say the rest of the entourage need a glue to be held into place. From Patrick Warburton’s performance as 4th wall breaking, omnipresent, there-but-not-really-there performance as narrator/author Lemony Snicket, who, once you come to realise is as integral to the story as Count Olaf, you find the fact that he pops up in the most appropriate of places a suitable amount…though I do wonder if anyone will ever know he’s standing a mere few metres away from them.
Then we have the main characters; the Baudelaire Children. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Everyone who watched the 2004 movie will have mixed feelings on these 3 orphans, from how stuck up Violet came across at times, to how complacent Klaus was, the three Baudelaire children were not necessarily great in how their respective actors portrayed them. For those who are sceptical on these reimaginings, I can confirm that Violet is a lot less stuck up than her movie counterpart, Klaus actually talks back and voices himself confidently, and Sunny…well, she’s still a baby who likes to bite things, but at least this time there is a lot of humour and use to be had out of it. Her first demonstration of talent involves being able to cut a sandstone rock at the beach down to a disc-shaped pebble for a spot of family fun.
All in all, I would say this is a great show and a brilliant adaptation of one of the best teen novels of the early 21st Century.
The cast are as spot on as possible, with even secondary characters like Mr Poe being full of character and nuances – again, I would argue he is even better than the movie version already. Look out for key members of Count Olaf’s entourage stealing the show, and Sunny’s facial expressions in episode 5; The Wide Window, Part 1 – a house-pleaser at my nerdy abode.
The locations are brilliantly vibrant and as you would picture them from the books with even the decay of Count Olaf’s mansion having a twisted character all of its own.
I would happily give Netflix’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events a solid 9 out of 10, with the fact that NPH sang the theme song making it that much better – the only reason it hasn’t scored a perfect 10 is that I know it will come to an end. Still, whilst we’re in the here and now, it’s as good as any other series on Netflix. Definitely worth a watch.
Now that I’ve watched the entirety of the 1st season though, I guess I’m going to have to get back to re-watching Dexter.
– James Wright (08/02/17)