A Series of Unfortunate Events

On March 30th, Netflix released Season Two of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Whilst it has been a full year since I watched the first season, this continuation had me binge-watching the miserable tale of the Baudelaire orphans seamlessly as if no time had passed at all.

In a nutshell, the story follows the lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire following the tragic death of their parents in a fire that burnt down their family home. The orphans move from place to place, as each caregiver ends up either dead or as part of Count Olaf’s plan to steal the Baudelaire fortune. This adaptation takes me back to my primary school days, snuggling into a beanbag with my eyes glued to the rough deckle-edged pages, holding the words of the beloved Lemony Snicket (the pen name of author, Daniel Handler).

A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Baudelaire children (centre) looking dapper in the uniform of Prufrock Preparatory School.

The second season spans ten episodes, focusing on books five through nine, with each book receiving two parts. Whilst the style and characters match sequentially, as each episode is approximately 45 minutes (90 minutes put together in pairs), this series is almost as if we are getting five new films rather than a television series. This is also important as it pays homage to how each book explores each new and preposterous locale the Baudelaires find themselves in. All the while the orphans try to uncover the truth behind their parent’s deaths, making it impossible to ‘look away’ despite the catchy warning at the beginning of each episode.

Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events continues the story of the Baudelaires as they find themselves at the Prufrock Preparatory School, a place with the motto: “Memento Mori” which translates to the cherry phrase “Remember You Will Die”. The boarding school is littered with characters that are rigidly unlikeable, with a few that you might fall in love with including the Quagmire Twins and the school librarian Olivia Caliban, all of whom attempt to help the Baudelaires escape the clutches of Count Olaf in the darkening episodes.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Neil Patrick Harris is irrecognisable as Count Olaf in this clearly superior disguise.

The actors and their costuming impeccably match the cartoon villainy of the characters described in the book series. Whilst Neil Patrick Harris’ version of Count Olaf doesn’t quite compare to Jim Carrey’s creepy version in the 2004 film adaptation, in some ways it exceeds it, as it instead turns the focus to the dark humour and ridiculousness of Count Olaf’s disguises and shines the light on an issue the Baudelaires face which is reflected in our society: the way adults refuse to listen to children and instead turn a blind eye on the facts that are glaringly obvious.

Overall, Season Two has seamlessly continued the legacy of the books; characters you want to hug, and others you love to hate. It’s fun and self-aware. If you too have grown up with this beloved book series, the Netflix adaptation is not to be missed.

Show
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – Season 2
Network
Netflix
Release Date
30 March 2018
Binge Time
½ hrs