These impressions contain spoilers for the first episode of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ season one.
For something different I’m going to go a little Count Olaf here and be interviewed by my alter ego @mriceguy about my thoughts after watching the first episode of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. He can be a little thick…
Wait, didn’t that make this already?
As a film yes. But the Jim Carrey lead movie didn’t get a sequel or finish the story. It wasn’t great mind you, but it was a spot of fun.
Aren’t there like 46 books in the series?
How many books does this season cover?
The first four.
So, what did you think? It was utter trash, right?
Sheesh, give me some time to process! It wasn’t my cup of tea if that’s what you’re asking.
Lemony Snicket is the dude’s real name?
Yes, and my real name is Limey Dungbeetle.
Okay, Limey, so who plays him?
Patrick Warburton plays a very dower Lemony Snicket. Unlike the film that had Jude Law as a voiceover, this series has Snicket take up physical real estate, as a sort of ghost if you will. He hovers in the background of scenes dealing in exposition and asides.
What’s it look like?
Like a Wes Anderson wannabe, taking up centre frame with characters facing the camera dead on. It feels forced and inelegant. There’s a heavy use of picture book backdrops. Lots of green screen, nothing looks real. Cat in the Hat springs to mind (I don’t know why that’s the example I lead with).
It’s very much trying to be stylised and pretty. It’s got the children in colourful clothes against dreary grey backgrounds. But something was off, and I found myself examining every frame rather than being taken in by it all.
Did they use the same actress for Violet?
That’s physically impossible.
Is that really Neil Patrick Harris’ nose?
No, of course not.
Who wore it better? Jim Carrey or NPH?
Didn’t Carrey have his real nose? From what I’ve seen so far I would have to go with Jim Carrey. He just does exaggerated characters well, what can I say? Although NPH is the next best thing, it’s hard to go down a step if you know what I mean. And as for the look itself, it’s uncannily very similar. The hair, the balding, everything. Okay, maybe not the nose.
He’s gonna dress up too ay?
In terms of the story Count Olaf will dress up as various characters in order to trick the Baudelaire children. From my Netflix queue I can already see he’s going to dress up in drag. Looking forward to that (not).
You do realise you’re watching a kids show right?
I know this is made for young teens so perhaps I’ve outgrown it? As much as A Series of Unfortunate Events sets itself up as a tragic story you wouldn’t want to read/watch, it’s still limited by how dark it can go, and lands in this weird middle ground between family friendly and more adult.
The dialogue could be better. There’s this whole comedy bit about synonyms – it gets a bit grating. The characters themselves are too good natured. I know it’s this whole thing about them being good children getting shafted, but they’re boring! I would like to see more of their flaws.
Their parents are actually alive?
Spoilers! But yes, I’m as surprised as you are. They weren’t in the original film, and I don’t recall them being in the books. Mind you, I can’t remember how many I actually read. Kinda pleased they lead with this upfront. They could just have easily put it in the mid season/season finale.
Will Arnett as the dad? It could be fun, but then again Flaked was a thing too.
Will you watch any more?
Reluctantly, maybe. It would be interesting to see the events that take place after the movie adaptation. But I might need a drink or two first.
You missed a trick there. You should’ve gone with ‘Unfortunately, yes’.
Where to watch: Netflix