If you are looking for a pleasant article with happy little Elves and singing butterflies, I suggest you read something else. This is full of unfortunate events, surrounding very unfortunate children and their extremely unpleasant lives… only kidding. Actually, quite the opposite, Netflix has announced the exciting news that it has purchased the rights for its newest original series – Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’. In case you were wondering how to feel about this development, there are a number of reasons to be excited! Throw away your hesitations about adaptations and TV revivals, and get ready for another Netflix marathon.
10. The Reputation of Other Netflix Original Projects
The Netflix Originals that we’ve seen coming out over the past few years have had great responses. They have already created a great expectation and reputation that comes along with them. One of the early examples, the fourth season of Arrested Development, echoed the style of its early series but may not have been as successful. However, since then we’ve seen House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Hemlock Grove, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Daredevil, to name just a few. These have demonstrated the stunning cinematography, production value, and casting that Netflix Original Series are developing. These are not low budget series and boast some of the biggest names like Kevin Spacey. The fact that A Series of Unfortunate Events is breaking into the small screen through the Netflix venue only adds to the excitement, as we can expect the expert quality of a Netflix Original.
9. Previous Success of TV Adaptations
If your concern lies with the uncertainty of how the books will translate to the screen, take the example of recent TV adaptations that have experienced astounding degrees of success. One of the most recent Netflix Original Series examples is Daredevil. Even when Marvel comics are adapted into films, there is an anxiety and disapproval by a certain set of fans who do not like the Disney take on the universe. However, Marvel’s production on Netflix allowed it to be darker, different, and the avenue perfectly served for the nature of the comic book genre. HBO’s Hannibal adaptation allowed them to take the story back before the film fans already know. This means we know the end result of the relationship between the two main characters, but we are now exposed to a whole new aspect of the world. And of course, we cannot forget one of the biggest shows on TV – Game of Thrones. This is one of the most successful adaptations from book to TV and a perfect demonstration of how TV offers an entirely new venue for the world. The show and books do not match completely, there are differences galore – and author George R.R. Martin has supposedly also okayed the show to go ahead and create the story before he releases the next books. Hopefully we will see A Series of Unfortunate Events creatively brought to TV in a way that opens new venues and possibilities to the world.
8. The Darkness and Cinematography
As we’ve already seen in the film adaptation of the books, the darkness of the storyline offers beautiful possibilities for cinematography. Whether or not you liked the film, the way it was shot demonstrates just how stylized the world can be. The way the books were written suggests an extremely otherworldly type of setting and this allows for creative cinematography. Will it be another dark, expressionistic style or will they take it in another direction for the series? What we can be sure of is that the plot and style of Lemony Snicket will be able to show through the cinematography and hopefully create some striking and interesting effects.
7. The Rich Book Material
Lemony Snicket has already laid out a rich tapestry of material for whoever writes this thing – a series of thirteen books worth of material. Even Harry Potter was adapted with only seven books. Granted these are shorter but the possibilities for the series seem endless. Will they make a single season out of one book? Will they stick to the plot? Or will they make a complete spinoff and simply use the base story of the Baudelaires verses Olaf and explore the world in its own right? However the story progresses, as fans of the finished series – we are hungry for more!
6. Continuation of the Story/World
If you were a reader of the series, then chances are you at one point felt a void left by the completion of it. The thirteen books spanned seven years (1999-2006) and therefore possibly a big chunk of your developmental years. So one of the most exciting aspects of Netflix’s announcement is that we are about to be given more. The world and characters are coming back. And the most perfect thing about this timing is that if you loved these books as a kid, you are probably around the age where Netflix is your everything and you’ve more than once posted a status about it being your everything. Bonus point: your newest chance to adapt a condescending attitude to fans who’ve never read the books.
5. Plot/Setting Possibilities
We saw in the 2004 film adaptation that the setting seemed to be in a semi-Victorian time period with costumes and buildings to match. The TV series opens up the possibility that adaptations always do — of a different setting/time period entirely. In the Hollywood Reporter’s article announcing the series, they mentioned that Netflix likes the series for its relatable nature. There is no saying then, that they won’t possibly choose to set this in the modern day. Hannibal has taken their characters into the modern period rather than the seventies when it was originally written. If this is the case, it opens up a whole new set of options for the plot as well. Perhaps the Baudelaires will be different ages as well. Perhaps this is before their parent’s death or while they are at university. Whatever the case, the lovable characters and style of Snicket’s writing will hopefully prevail into the new series.
4. Casting Possibilities
In the film we had Meryl Streep and Jim Carrey. In the Netflix series perhaps we’ll have no one. There is every possibility that the characters will be played by relative unknowns. But didn’t that bring people like Benedict Cumberbatch to our attention? Maybe we will find a new favorite actor or actress in this show. Or the other possibility is that when looking at other Netflix Originals, we will get actors that are familiar to us. You may have seen Kimmy Schmidt’s Ellie Kemper in The Office, or Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock; maybe you recognize Orange is the New Black’s Laura Prepon from That 70’s Show; or did you recognize House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey from almost anything? (Did you know his House of Cards’ wife Robin Wright was Buttercup in The Princess Bride? Now you do). Clearly, Netflix Originals don’t repel well-known actors. We may or may not see someone familiar in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Half the fun is guessing who it could be.
3. The Characters Themselves
Whoever is cast, they will have fantastic characters to add to their resume. Lemony Snicket has written such interesting and ridiculously quirky characters that no matter who plays them, we will hopefully be given a cast to absolutely love. Even if they play the villainous Count Olaf. This villain is so well written and absurd, that he comes off as equally terrifying and hilarious. A failed actor, with a self-confidence that makes him feel and act like an Academy Award winner, Count Olaf is a villain that, played correctly, will be entrancing. Jim Carrey’s portrayal focused on the humorous side of the villain. But in the books, the character is also creepy beyond belief. Each character in the book is equally unique and distinct and the variety will make the show a joy to invest yourself in.
2. The Humour
Lemony Snicket’s writing in the novels is hilarious. It is a simple fact. Even the way he handles his persona in the world – refusing to reveal his identity when everyone knows Daniel Handler, who appears at events that Snicket “unfortunately cannot attend” is the real-life author. He writes with such humor that it makes the unfortunate events seem more comedy than tragedy. The humorous material of the books will then hopefully transfer over to the series and further add to the lovable characters that we know. As far as the film version is concerned, it did this well – with Jim Carrey illustrating just how much of a comedy this story can be.
1. The Executive Producer is…
Lastly, the reason we are most excited about this new series is the news of who their Executive Producer will be. As unveiled by the Hollywood Reporter in its announcement of the series, the Executive Producer will be the actual Daniel Handler himself. And if we are right in our assumptions – this means the series is under the influence of Lemony Snicket himself.
“House of Cards.” IMDB.com.
“Orange is the New Black.” IMDB.com.
Ng, Philiana. “Netflix Adapting Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Into TV Show.” Hollywood Reporter, November 5, 2014. Web.