Netflix Show Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Maggie Coleman, Staff Writer

Unlike the misleading title to this new Netflix show, A Series of Unfortunate Events is masterfully cast and thoughtfully written so that the show accurately reflects the original book series. Read on for a honest review of all aspects of the film, but stop now if you’d like to avoid spoilers.

One of the most unique aspects to the show is the random and sporadic episode lengths. Spanning anywhere from 1 hour to 45 minutes, they seem to not directly correlate with the plot of the episode. Some episodes are just longer than others, which I feel ties in nicely to the underlying whimsical mood of the show.

Speaking of the mood of the show, other than being whimsical, and somehow also overall depressing feel of the black and white set can be a little distracting in the beginning. I understand the chosen colors influence the bleak situation the Baudelaire twins were placed in, but definitely steals the spotlight in some scenes. More often than not, however, the chosen set colors reflect or predict the outcome of that episode, which telling by the title, isn’t good.

My favorite character by far has to be Mr. Poe. He adds so much dramatic irony to the plot that it becomes almost laughable when he really can’t figure out Count Olaf’s many disguises. Other than his naivete, Mr. Poe is portrayed as an irresponsible caretaker that believes he is doing the right thing. For instance, every time one of the Baudelaire’s caretaker dies or is unable to watch over the siblings, Mr. Poe is tasked with handing them off to their next appropriate guardian, who is almost always Count Olaf in disguise. Without Mr. Poe, much of the shows comedic relief would be lost, making it far less fun to watch. You can also count on Mr. Poe to be in some sort of predicament, adding a cute and entertaining side story. My favorite scene of Mr. Poe was when he lost the Baudelaire siblings, causing quite a stir and landing himself in all sorts of trouble.

Normally, watching Count Olaf try to inherit the Baudelaire’s fortune would be enough entertainment by itself, but when the audience finds out their parents are actually alive, it creates more suspense and mystery unforseen to the main characters, the Baudelaires. If you haven’t read the books, it will keep you on your seat throughout the entire series.

The last important component to the series is the narrator, Lemony Snicket. His  monotone voice is absolutely perfect for the part and oddly enough, through his retelling of the Baudelaire’s story and his own unfortunate events, adds much of the context needed to understand the show without reading the book. Without Lemony Snicket, the series wouldn’t flow as nicely.

Although the plot of the story is quite sad, all of the actors did an excellent job of livening up what could become very dull and one-dimensional characters. Considering the negative reputation most shows or movies that are based on books have, the whole cast of A Series Of Unfortunate Events really hit it out of the park.