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The Scroll

The Student News Site of Fargo North High School

The Scroll

The Scroll

Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events: Netflix’s Hidden Gem

Series of Unfortunate Events

If there’s one word to describe Netflix in recent years, it’s definitely ‘controversial.’ Whether it be the increased subscription prices, password sharing being removed, or Netflix abandoning (sometimes outright canceling) some of their shows that didn’t reach the insane popularity levels of “Wednesday” and “Stranger Things,” many users have found it difficult to truly enjoy Netflix as of recently. However, amidst all these problems exists a relatively hidden show on Netflix that’s flown under the radar for quite some time.
“Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events” is a three-season show based on the young adult book series of the same name, and first premiered on Netflix in 2017 with mixed reviews. I, however, was absolutely thrilled watching it. I grew up reading the books, so getting the chance to watch a new, modern spin on the series was amazing. I ended up loving the series (and I still do), and after rewatching the series recently, I can say it’s definitely one of the best book-to-screen adaptations.
Book-to-screen adaptations can be mixed bags. They’re often not comparable to the books or inaccurate to the source material, which leaves the audience, especially fans of the original books, disappointed. The Netflix adaptation of “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events”, however, is the complete opposite; it’s complete fan service through and through. It covers all of the 13 books and spares no details, giving fans of the series an accurate representation of the plot and characters, which isn’t an easy task.
In short, the plot of “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events” is the number one thing that intrigued me as a kid. It’s complex, especially for a ‘kids’ book series, yet Netflix adapted it perfectly. The series follows the story of the three Baudelaire orphans after their mansion, as well as their parents, were destroyed in a mysterious fire. They’re then given over to the care of Count Olaf, a supposed relative of the orphans and a hilariously bad actor with a giant ego, who continuously tries to steal the orphans’ fortune that was left behind by their parents. Due to the Baudelaires’ extreme intelligence and creativity, however, they manage to escape Count Olaf. Thus, in each subsequent book, the orphans travel to a new home, and Count Olaf always follows them, rinse and repeat. It may sound repetitive, but the books and Netflix series are certainly not boring, creating an overarching mystery that follows the Baudelaires everywhere and a plot that is much deeper than it first appears. Trust me, I can’t explain it all, and I won’t, because I don’t want to spoil it. Go read the books, or watch the series on Netflix. It’s so good that I’d actually recommend either; you don’t have to be familiar with the books to watch.
On the topic of characters, the cast is a prime example of how the Netflix series delivers in terms of accuracy. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show as the main antagonist Count Olaf. He delivers the perfect mix of intimidation and silliness, and he can be both a hilarious, borderline cartoonish villain, yet also a threatening one. One key aspect of the original books is that Count Olaf always managed to follow the Baudelaire orphans, yet he would wear a different disguise each time he appeared. Neil’s performance as Olaf, and all of his subsequent disguises, are so over-the-top, but it fits perfectly with his ‘bad-actor’ visage. In fact, that’s an accurate description of the entire series. It can be over-the-top and ridiculous at times, but weirdly, that works for this series. The gloomy, old-timey atmosphere contrasted with the goofiness of Olaf and his henchmen creates a dark, yet humorous tone.
The tone is also another great thing about the series. Despite the plot dealing with some pretty dark topics, the series plays with this and includes a lot of dark humor. This is made better by the in-universe narrator of the story, Lemony Snickett, who’s played by Patrick Warburton. Warburton is a very gloomy narrator as he tells us the tale of the Baudelaire orphans, yet he also has a dry sense of humor that makes me laugh, even if it’s not inherently supposed to be funny. Other storylines in the series also add to this idea of dark humor. For example, the orphans are brilliant, inventive children but are surrounded by oblivious adults who can’t seem to reach the same level.
Overall, “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events” isn’t a new series by any means, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy watching it. Including a talented cast of characters, a deep plot filled with mystery and subverted expectations, and themes that are much darker than your traditional kids’ series, I’d highly recommend you give the series a try if you’re bored and don’t know what to watch next. 5/5 spartan heads.

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About the Contributor
Caleb Roth
Caleb Roth, Writer
Hi, my name is Caleb Roth and I'm currently a senior. This is my first year in Journalism, and I don't have much experience. But I'm really looking forward to learning and writing as much as I can for our newspaper. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano/drums, playing video games, and hanging out with my golden retriever, Forest.
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