Posted in TV Shows

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1 Review (Netflix Original)

WARNING: Major show spoilers from this point onward, you have been warned!

It has been a long anticipated TV Show since the initial announcement that Netflix would be producing a TV show based on the children’s novel series with the same name.

Ever since I first watched the original film based on the same books, I was hooked on the story line and the plot just left me wanting more. I couldn’t help but feel that the film was completely short lived considering the fact that the film only portrayed the first three books when there are in fact thirteen books in the series.

Naturally, I of course was excited when I found out about this new TV series based on the books and its like my childhood wish of wanting more of the series came true.

From initially looking at the episode titles, I couldn’t help but wonder that two episodes for each book did seem like they were trying to condense the series a little. From the initial first few minutes I noticed the ever so catchy new theme song invented specifically for this series.

I actually really loved the theme song as I believed it to be catchy and fresh which showed that the producers were dedicated to creating something as original as possible right from the start rather than copying the already released film.

The biggest problem that I have when it comes to TV show adaptations of an already released film is adapting to a new cast. More often than not, I struggle to adapt to a new cast and more often than not I end up hating that cast and comparing them to the previous cast which I end up loving better.

For me, this series started off all the same. Throughout the first episode, I was mentally comparing it to the film and what I liked better about each character. At first I didn’t like the way that Klaus was portrayed and I thought that Violet looked too young for her age. I actually thought that Sunny was cast perfectly.

As I got into episode two and three, the new cast began to grow on me. I had adapted to Klaus and Violet but I was still not keen on the casting of Mr Poe, not because of the change of race from the film but because he just didn’t seem right for the character.

From the start of the series I have loved the new involvement of Lemony Snicket and how he is now more directly involved in the story line seeing as he is the narrator. I completely love the casting of him and feel that Patrick is perfect for the role. I also love the casting of Count Olaf and feel that they have got him just right.

I also love how we actually get to see Gustav on screen in this series seeing as in the original film we didn’t which always left me wondering more about the character of Gustav. I like how the series is exploring the unexplained character’s although I don’t quite know what the significance of the role of Jacquelyn is meant to be. She does seem slightly out of place but I like how the series portrays some sort of figure looking over the children and am excited to see how her role will play out or if its just a short term role.

I was slightly disappointed about the way in which episode two ended in the sense that they ended the bad beginning with Violet simply revealing that the marriage was void because she signed with her left hand when she is actually right handed. For such an inventor and avid reader, I felt this ending for the bad beginning was a bit of a cop out and out of character for the children’s personality traits. I know the point is that they are trying to be different from the film version, but I feel that it would of had a better effect if the way out of the marriage was more creative like it is in the film.

Upon being first introduced to Uncle Monty, I yet again don’t initially like the casting. Not necessarily the actor in question but more the way in which he is being portrayed. Uncle Monty, is a scientist who is very smart and intelligent. I find that here he is being portrayed as more dumb and laid back. I don’t know if this is because I am used to the original film casting or not.

In this series, I feel that the race of Uncle Monty was more representative of how I viewed the character originally. I feel that this imagination of Uncle Monty is more accurate in terms of how I thought he should be portrayed despite him being portrayed as dumb and more laid back. I also feel his house is the perfect representation of how I thought it should look.

As episode three goes on, yet again I begin to warm to the casting of Uncle Monty and realize that he is no longer being portrayed as dumb but feel that this should have been more accurately represented from the moment we met his character on screen.

I like how in this series they have taken an original spin on the Peru story line. From watching the film, I always thought that the fact that they were going to Peru was out of place as if it had just been thrown into the plot for no reason. In the film version, Uncle Monty announced they were going to Peru as soon as the Baudelaire children arrived which made it seem suspect and suspicious. It made me wonder why they were going to Peru and why it was just randomly thrown into the story line.

In this series, I much prefer how there is a build up to this and instead there is a reason present as to why they are going to Peru: because they are in danger from Count Olaf. I love the fact that Gustav and Jacquelyn are looking out for the children and making sure they are safe.

One thought that stays present throughout the Season is that Violet looks too young to be fourteen years of age here. The actress does portray her effectively, but her age doesn’t look believable when you look at her.

I love the fact that the series has introduced some new characters such as Jacquelyn and the guy that works at the Anxious Clown when Count Olaf first approaches to help develop the story out in areas that otherwise seemed incomplete. I don’t like when Sunny suggests “Uber?” when the siblings are trying to work out which restaurant Captain Sham is going to because the story line would have been set before Uber existed so it seems out of place.

Another thing is, when Aunt Josephine is supposed to have jumped out the window, it doesn’t actually look very convincing seeing as the shape that is left in the window looks more like the shape Count Olaf would make if he was to jump out a window. In the film, it was portrayed in a way which made it look like she had actually killed herself until we later found out that instead she had tricked Olaf and left a secret message for the siblings. It also doesn’t make very much sense that Olaf in disguise as Captain Sham would have Aunt Josephine jump out a window when the Baudelaire children were still in the house.

MAJOR PLOT TWIST:

Up until episode seven we were questioning who the mysterious couple were that kept cropping up throughout the series, the couple who were flying a plane above lake lachrymose right at the moment the Baudelaire children were sinking. That wasn’t just me that was wondering that right? Well up until this point I was 100% convinced that it was the Baudelaire children’s parents and that they weren’t really dead and had covered it up.

I really wanted to believe that it was their parents coming to rescue them and reveal that they were in fact alive. Then episode seven ended. BOOM!

I wasn’t expecting that. The way in which the couple turned out to be a completely different group of kids parents, a group of kids we had not previously even heard of yet alone been introduced to. I really like the way in which this part of the story line was portrayed. With everything I know about A Series of Unfortunate Events by now, I should have known not to believe this couple was their parents. I should have known not to be fooled, but I was fooled.

This part of the story line was portrayed in a very clever and effective way that gave away no clues until the bombshell was revealed. I generally think this was a very smart and clever addition to the series in order to make it stand out from the 2004 film of the same name. This idea added a new element of hope and excitement to the viewers only to swipe the rug out from underneath our feet once the truth was revealed. The use of clever camera actions and words made me believe right until the last minute that it was the children’s parents and that they hadn’t actually died. But of course, I should know by now, this series doesn’t have a happy ending, we can take that from the name.

Another thing that I love about this new series based on the books by Daniel Handler that kind of ties in with my love of the theme song is the fact that each book’s equivalent two episodes has a unique opener. Instead of simply using the same theme song and same opener throughout the series, they adapt it so that each book’s equivalent has an addition which focuses on that specific books equivalent.

Another thing is for sure, Count Olaf is getting better at these disguises, the woman Shirley is the best one he’s came up with yet, but not good enough to fool the Baudelaire’s or the viewers.

I feel that the producers found a great place to finish season one on. They gave a snippet of what happens after Aunt Josephine’s guardianship which wasn’t explored in the film but not too much to give away the story, just enough to keep the viewer wanting more.

The season ends leaving us with many questions on our mind. Who is  Jacquelyn? What is her significance? How does she know the Baudelaire’s parents and Gustav? Who are the mysterious couple with the three children? How do they know the Baudelaire’s parents. How are all these people connected? What is the story behind their organisation? The list of questions goes on…

Overall the first series of A Series of Unfortunate Events has began to satisfy that craving for more that I have had since first watching the film. I always hated how the film seemed to be lacking something because it was cut so short. The show is filmed in a way that leaves me still wanting more and with loads of questions I would like the answer to. The show also adds a refreshing spin on the tale of the Baudelaire children although I do feel that at certain points they try too hard to be different. I am definitely excited to see what else is to come in season 2 and I am sure that it will continue to be exciting! Overall I generally think this is one show that is worth the watch!

This has generally been one of the most exciting shows I have watched in a long time but there are areas where I feel it could have been improved.

4-5stars

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